Celeste Mosby and Ed Emde
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Doing Surgery on the Traditional Sales Model; Those Successful Will Focus on Delivering Science and Service Organizations will have to rationalize the use of a service team approach, instead of working in functional silos, because customers are demanding and expecting more. Celeste Mosby VP, Life Science Ed Emde President Wilson Learning What does service really mean to physicians and other healthcare providers? Many physicians have defined it as unexpected value that helps them deliver better care to their patients and impacts the efficiencies of their practice. This value is qualified in different ways and it is up to sales representatives and others within life-sciences organizations to find out the unique intricacies that will define the specific needs of healthcare providers. We all know that physicians are looking for more medically sound clinical information delivered by more medically educated professionals. How will the industry support this paradigm shift and meet these expectations? Let’s be realistic. The conversations that sales representatives will now need to have will be more complicated than writing one prescription for success; it will take a shift in go-to-market strategy. Sales reps will serve as captains of a very integrated service team. The way this service team is rewarded should not just be individual; incentives, rewards, and recognition of the team’s productivity and success, it must also be the focus of sustaining this new service model. An Integrated Sales Team Approach Although sales representatives should remain the primary point of contact for healthcare providers, it should be transparent that the service team supporting them includes many other critical functions, specifically sales operations, marketing, medical, legal, and R&D. These teams can create an innovative environment internally and one that builds credibility in the eyes of customers. This visionary approach to servicing the needs of customers will create new opportunities and ultimately solutions that will be generated and tested by a more inclusive service team. Sales Managers. Sales managers, who traditionally focused on measuring adherence to sales processes and usage of promotional materials, will see a dramatic shift in their role. In today’s environment, they must become strategic partners with sales representatives. They will be instrumental in helping develop customized plans to service key customers and accounts. These plans will address critical issues, such as impact on treatment guidelines, compliance, and better patient outcomes. Sales managers will focus on measuring the impact that sales reps’ efforts have on creating value, customer loyalty, and commitment. Many are waiting to see if this more consumer-centric approach to service will have the expected results, but those who are forward thinking recognize that these shifts will have a drastic impact on sales performance. Marketers. Marketing professionals will be expected to align tactics that support delivery of clinical information, marketing messages, and tools through venues that support the new industry environment. Disease state and product information for all therapeutic classes should be tailored to allow those in sales roles to actually speak specifically to the different emotional and behavioral styles of healthcare providers, while helping them visualize the impact this information will have on the different types of patients they treat. Sales reps, who are skilled at managing a two-way communication platform between their customers and the organization, will be able to get real-time guidance regarding customer challenges and needs that can be immediately addressed by marketing and brand teams. These challenges that healthcare providers are facing are opportunities for the marketing team to help, lean in, and partner with representatives to come up with important solutions. Additionally, marketing groups need to leverage technology and electronically send information that is important to healthcare providers’ regional needs and specific to the patient populations they treat. Not only will this approach support your organization’s focus on creating more touch points with physicians, it highlights a growing focus on going green. R&D. R&D teams will clearly continue to do research that helps physicians understand the efficacy, safety, standards of care, and treatment guidelines of key products. Innovative ideas regarding what clinical information will help physicians treat patients should take into consideration challenges that physicians face in clinical practice, such as alternative combination therapies that could lead to better compliance and patient outcomes. Since clinical evidence seems to be of the highest importance, when the strategic plan is developed to decide on research and future studies for new and existing products, healthcare customers should be at the center of helping to understand the unmet needs. Medical Affairs. Historically, medical affairs has been focused on the value of developing strong relationships with physician thought leaders. This same level of value-based support will help build the trust and credibility needed to ensure that more physicians become influencers and advocates of better care and treatment options. Legal will make sure that everything the service team communicates is on label and meets FDA guidelines so that confidence from the medical community is ensured. Playing in the New Environment Organizations will have to rationalize the use of this service-team approach, instead of working in functional silos, because customers are demanding and expecting more. The competencies, skills, and abilities of the service team will have to be assessed to guarantee that they will be ready to respond today and into the future. Skills that will sustain this service model include consulting, negotiating, influencing, collaborating, and communicating more effectively. Developing these key skills will improve the effectiveness and productivity of the internal team and allow sales reps to communicate more powerful clinical messages that will truly impact prescribing habits. SPONSOR: Wilson Learning, a provider of human performance improvement solutions for the Global 2000, Fortune 500, and emerging organizations worldwide. For more information, visit wilsonlearning.com.