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Launch readiness 3 keys to success for sales leaders

Three keys to success for Sales Leaders to prepare their teams to shatter the 6 month launch window.

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Launch readiness 3 keys to success for sales leaders

  2. 2. 2© Sales Performance International, Inc 3 KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR SALES LEADERS By: Brad Ansley, Global Healthcare Practice Leader The importance of product launches, especially in the pharmaceutical market, has been validated many times over. They are the life blood of the pharmaceuticalworld. Newproductlaunchesallowpharmacompaniestoovercome the impact of products losing patent protection and the corresponding loss of market share to competition or generics. In years past, companies focused on launching fewer products with higher revenue potential – the so called “blockbuster” product. Due to multiple market factors, the focus has shifted to more product launches into smaller markets. In fact,theFDAapprovedarecord51drugsin2015-farmorethantheannualaverage of 28 for the previous 8 years. Additionally, just under half of product approvals in 2015 were for products that treat rare or “orphan” diseases. Given the product approval trends over the last two years and the robust R&D pipeline in the industry, it is feasible to expect a similar number of product approvals in 2016. This is great news, right? For millions of patients, the answer is “yes.” But let’s look at it from the company perspective. Consider these sobering statistics: • The average cost to bring a new pharmaceutical product to market is estimated to be $2.6 billion. i • Only 2 in 10 pharmaceutical products return the cost of development. ii • Two-thirdsofdruglaunchesfailedtomeetpre-launchsalesexpectations for the first year on the market. iii • Less than 20% of product launches make significant improvements to the product market share trajectory after the critical 6 month launch window. iv If you picture each one of these statistics as a 50 lb. weight that is stacked on the shoulders of the sales leader, it is easy to see that a product launch is a heavy burden. So, what can the sales leaders responsible for launching a new product do to prepare their team to shatter the 6 month launch window? MARKET CHANGES = MISALIGNMENT Changes in the healthcare business and practice model have created a new definition of customer value and new expectations of sales representatives. Customers now expect representatives to deliver patient-focused, evidence- based solutions that solve critical clinical and/or business issues for the whole organization. Companiesthatsellintohealthcareorganizationsarenowrecognizing that these changes have created a misalignment between customer expectations and the way they sell. While many papers on launch effectiveness focus on broad organizational success factors, beginning with product development, we will focus on 3 key areas that need to be aligned to enable sales teams to successfully launch a new product.
  3. 3. 3© Sales Performance International, Inc These 3 areas are: • Product Messaging • Sales Competencies • Sales Process ALIGNING YOUR MESSAGE For years, the pharmaceutical industry successfully leveraged the share of voice sales model to drive market share. This was especially true during the first year of a product launch. More product messages delivered at launch meant higher market share trajectory in the all-important 6 month launch window. In fact, most of the sales training and marketing collateral focused on product attributes and characteristics. Old habits die hard. While training and marketing try to be more customer centric, much of the launch support material produced today is still developed from the product or company’s perspective, not the customer’s. In turn, representatives struggle with the ability to communicate the value of solutions that their product could deliver to stakeholders. They continue to emphasize efficacy or mechanism of action, rather than how the product will provide value by solving specificclinicalproblemsor helpingthe organization hit key healthcare metrics. This is a subtle but vitally important distinction. Especially now, product-focused messaging frustrates stakeholders becauseitgivesthemonlypartoftheinformationtheyneedtochangetheircurrent practice. While knowing the features of a product is important, it is not enough. In order to feel comfortable with their decision to adopt a new therapy, stakeholders alsodemandthatrepresentativesarticulatehowasolutionwillimpacttheirpatients, practice, or organization, and to what degree. Specifically, they want to know what kind of unique advantage the solution may provide and how much it will be worth to them, before they can make a confident decision. Anything less, and it will impact the degree of launch success. DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE SOLUTION MESSAGES Inthebook,TheSolution-CentricOrganization,KeithEadesandRobertKeardescribe how product marketing teams can help sales representatives articulate value by conducting a customer-focused solution messaging exercise to develop a Solution Messaging Card. The card consists of the following components: • Customer Problem – a brief description of the problem, need, or opportunity being experienced by a specific physician/organization • Trend Relevance – key trends and issues in the marketplace that relate to the problem state of the customer, which illustrate its pertinence and importance • Cause of Problem – specific causal factors in the customer’s environment that are creating the problem situation • Problem Impact – specific clinical, operational, and/or financial impact of the problem on the patients or the practice – specifically, the bad things that happen if the problem is not addressed • Required Capabilities – capabilities required to address the specific causes of the problem • Clinical Evidence / Metrics / Proof of Value – clinical, operational, and/ or financial data metrics that can be used to determine if the problem is being successfully addressed • Solution Linkage – how the proposed solution fulfills the capabilities required to address the problem or need
  4. 4. 4© Sales Performance International, Inc • Differentiators – unique aspects of the product that provide an advantage for the patients and/or the practice • Case Studies – related case studies that demonstrate prior success in solving the problem Once developed, the Solution Messaging Card can be placed in the representative’s sales playbook as a reference to insure that their discussions are customer centric and focused on the value their solution can deliver. Additionally, the exercise provides marketing with clear, aligned, differentiated, value-driven messages to use in the creation of sales collateral through launch and beyond. Download a Solution Messaging Card template here. ALIGNING SALES COMPETENCIES TO MEET NEW CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS Many healthcare stakeholders and decision makers restrict sales representative access. In fact, the only time they will see them is when they are launchinganewproduct. Thisgivesevenmoreweighttotheoldsaying“youonlyget onechancetomakeafirstimpression.” Nowthatstakeholdersanddecisionmakers in healthcare have a new definition of value, it changes the mix and proficiency level of sales competencies needed to successfully launch a new product. If sales organizationscontinuetopreparerepresentativesforlaunchwithoutunderstanding whichcompetenciesalignwithcustomerexpectationsanddrivemarketshare,then the sales team will just get better and better at skills that stakeholders care less and less about. Based on our competency and assessment experience, the sales competencies typically in need of alignment are: • Account management • Consultative dialogues • Clinical selling • Healthcare business acumen Note: Companies should objectively seek to understand which competencies drive their specific business outcomes. Then they should assess the proficiency of the sales team against those competencies and formulate learning plans accordingly. ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT The era of the independent physician with great autonomy is giving way to widespread physician employment. A recent statistic shows that up to 60%v of physician group practices are owned by integrated delivery networks (IDN) of some kind. This business model means centralized, multi-stakeholder decision making. This trend prompted a recent article in Pharmaceutical Executive titled, When Care Models Collide, in which the author stated, “In order to successfully segment and engage customers, strategic account management capabilities need to be embedded throughout the organization. This should be accompanied by restructuring sales models to enable selling in a more complex environment.” Given that the majority of calls that a sales representative makes during launch will be on an “account” of some type, they must have the ability to sell collaboratively in a complex environment where they understand the stakeholders and their individual value drivers. Then by leveraging this information, they must create a vision of the solution that their product can provide. Without account management capabilities. representatives may miss critical steps in the sales
  5. 5. 5© Sales Performance International, Inc process that will risk lower than expected launch market share. CLINICAL SELLING Many of today’s regulatory changes are focused on the use of evidence- based medicine (EBM). This rationale is to provide consistent disease treatment resulting in better patient outcomes and decreased cost of care. To embed EBM skills in newly trained physicians, regulators now require medical schools to teach five levels of competency in EBM. Physicians are now taught how to critically appraise clinical data to look for bias, statistical significance, and clinical relevance. This approach is influencing physicians’ expectations of sales representatives. Research shows that EBM holds the strongest customer buying influencevi , and over 90% of physicians want reps to make more use of clinical studies and EBM in their conversations with sales representatives.vii So during that rare opportunity to access an influential key opinion leader (KOL) as a result of a new product launch, how much value will a representative provide if s/he can establish the validity, statistical significance, and clinical relevance of the solution using the language of a physician? And, how do you think that compares to a representative that shows up and begins spouting results of a clinical study? The clinical selling skills needed to speak the language of the physician are based on an understanding of the principles of EBM and enable representatives to link key clinical findings to critical clinical solutions supported by your brand. HEALTHCARE BUSINESS ACUMEN With the advent of multi-stakeholder decision making, representatives musthaveanunderstandingoftheclinicalandbusinesssidesofthebuyingequation. In the morning, they may be speaking to a clinical influencer while in the afternoon, they may be speaking to a business administrator that sits on the value analysis
  6. 6. 6© Sales Performance International, Inc committee. Both individuals have different value drivers but have an influence on clinical decisions. Representatives must be able to demonstrate the value of their product to both. That means they need an understanding of integrated delivery network (IDN) business strategies, outcome metrics, and healthcare incentive management. BUYER ALIGNED SALES PROCESS If you were to ask a pharma sales leader if they had a sales process, the answer would undoubtedly be “yes.” If asked to describe the process, they would typically describe the steps of the company’s sales call model. There is no doubt that a call model or framework for a consultative dialog is a key part of a successful sales process. However, healthcare providers are consolidating into sophisticated IDN’s. This means that purchasing decisions are becoming centralized to buying committees with multiple stakeholders. In order to maximize the launch effectiveness of the sales organization, companies must align with the new healthcare business model by shifting to a more typical B2B selling process. A true buyer aligned sales process provides a clear path to winning – the right things to do, at the right time, with the right people, for the right reasons. It is inclusive from territory planning through the integration of the change in treatment protocols in an account. Multiple sources have studied the impact of a well- integrated sales process and prove that sales performance and sales predictability increase as the level of sales process integration increases. An important note here is that the sales process is more than a list of what to do. It also shows representatives how to do it and includes tools to enable each action. Additionally, it should include a set of stakeholder behaviors that must occur throughout the process to validate that both parties are aligned. CONCLUSION Launching products in the healthcare market will continue to be a driving force for revenue growth in the pharmaceutical industry. As competition grows, product approval accelerates and companies launch more products per year into smaller markets, so the pressure for launch success grows. The headwinds in today’s healthcare market leave launch success far from guaranteed. Just like investors that continue to adjust their portfolio to maximize their return, pharma sales organizations must align their capabilities with the market conditions to maximize launch success. That means developing sales messages from the customer’s perspective, understanding what sales competencies are neededtoalignwiththeneedsofthehealthcarebuyer,andimplementingatruebuyer aligned sales process that fits growing complexity in today’s selling environment. i. Introduction | PhRMA Chart Packs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2016, from ii. Introduction | PhRMA Chart Packs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2016, from iii. Ahlawat, H., Chierchia, G., & Van Arkel, P. (2014, March). The Secret of Successful Drug Launches. Mckinsey & Company. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from products/our-insights/the-secret-of-successful-drug-launches iv. Launch Excellence IV: A new launch environment and new challenges for success. (n.d.). IMS. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from v. Making Pharma sales reps key to patient outcomes-Accenture. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2016, from https://www. vi. Earle, K. (2015, December 1). Training the Sales Rep of the Future. Focus Magazine - Winter 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015, from vii. 2014-2015 What Physicians Want! Survey. Publicis Touchpoint. Retrieved December 14, 2014 from http://www.
  7. 7. 7© Sales Performance International, Inc ABOUT THE AUTHOR With over three decades of experience in the life sciences industry as a microbiologist, pharmaceutical sales and marketing leader,andsalestrainingconsultant,BradAnsleyleadsSPI’sglobal healthcare industry practice. He is a principal developer of SPI’s Evidence-Based Solution Selling methodology, and has helped dozens of companies to improve their ability to sell life sciences industry solutions to their customers. OUR CLIENTS
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