Growing Sales in the New Pharma Era. Business Acumen is Critical Success Factor.
The Pharmaceutical Industry has undergone an enormous change. The number of sales reps has declined
significantly over the last four years. Declining sales have not only forced the industry to reduce the number of sales reps calling on physicians but has also created the need to better focus on customer needs. The days of adding sales forces are dead, and companies are struggling to find ways to deliver value to their customers.
Many companies have realized that to understand better and meet customer needs they have had to evolve from a centralized/marketing focus to a customer-centric model. By moving greater decision making into the regions and territories, the ability of sales managers and sales reps to make strategic business decisions becomes even more important. With fewer reps calling on physicians, the allocation of sales calls and marketing resources must be rationalized. Have you created training programs that help your sales managers strategically look at their business?
The survey says…. No.
The 2011 Canadian Pharmaceutical Sales Manager Survey found that 84% of respondents felt that business planning/acumen was an important responsibility of the sales manager and 67% agreed that their organization put a high level of importance on business planning. Only 20% of respondents agreed that their organization was providing ongoing support in developing their sales managers business planning skills. Come on people; your sales managers are struggling! Can they coach their sales reps without assistance? Without training? Without support?
Is a lack of business acumen within the ranks affecting your sales? Sales leaders can’t ignore the issues any longer. If you want to empower your sales managers and reps to make strategic decisions, you need to adapt and align your training and development programs.
It’s time to find solutions. I believe that companies who build solid business planning processes that align marketing and regional sales plans with individual territory plans will have the best chance to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.