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This eBook is a case study of a top 5 pharma company and its NRx launch.
HOW A TOP 5 PHARMA
COMPANY CHANGED THE
NRx LAUNCH CURVE
2© Sales Performance International, Inc
HOW A TOP 5 PHARMA
COMPANY CHANGED THE
NRx LAUNCH CURVE
Consider these facts:
• The cost to bring a new pharmaceutical product to market has
skyrocketed to over $2.5b.
• Only 2 in 10 approved medicines produce revenues that exceed average
• The average time to competition for a first-in-class product is 1.2 years.
• Only a small percentage of products make significant improvements in
market share trajectory beyond the first six months
Armed with this information, a marketing director with over 15 years of
pharmaceutical sales and marketing experience in a top 5 pharmaceutical company
The difficulty of achieving a successful launch was compounded by several factors:
• Changes in the healthcare business and practice model created a
new definition of customer value and new expectations of sales
• Very little pre-launch market development was deployed
• The sales team chosen to launch the product was a mixture of specialty
representatives and primary care representatives with varying levels of
proficiency in key selling skills (i.e. clinical selling, consultative dialog)
• The product had significant clinical outcomes data soon to be published
Customers now expect representatives to deliver patient-focused,
evidence-based solutions that solve critical clinical and/or business issues. The
Marketing Director recognized that there was a misalignment between customer
expectations and the ability of the sales team. “When we had a significant
opportunity to launch a new pharmaceutical product with clinical outcomes, we
knew we had to quickly enhance the clinical selling skills of our sales force, as well as
their ability to have a consultative dialog. “
The Director began working with his sales and training counterparts to
collaborate on their needs. They were looking for a partner that could help them
craft a learning solution that would align the skills of the representatives with the
market needs to maximize their launch effectiveness. Since the healthcare market
was moving toward more traditional B2B business models, they were looking for a
from other B2B industries. He recalled an earlier conversation with SPI and followed
up to discuss his needs. It was clear that a partnership was in order.
The partnership began with a thorough discovery process. SPI’s specialists
sought a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s sales process, buyers
and challenges. This included a skills assessment that gauged the competencies
3© Sales Performance International, Inc
of the representatives to identify their greatest areas for improvement. The
companies collaborated to set a timeline for the project and identify key goals and
share and revenue.
“We really wanted to roll out the training quickly,” said the Director. “SPI was
very accommodating as far as scheduling time with us. They were flexible and able
to do things in a very short period of time.”
The rigorous discovery process helped SPI tailor the learning solution to align with
the brand. Additionally, SPI had personnel trained on the ZINC platform, which
facilitated the uploading of content for review by the medical and legal teams and
decreased the workload of the company’s training team.
Since the training was to be rolled out during regional POA meetings
using field trainers, SPI collaborated with L&D personnel to conduct a “train the
trainer” webinar for the team that would facilitate the workshops. During the same
timeframe, the sales team was preparing for the training by completing eLearning.
This eLearning was part of the knowledge acquisition phase of the training and
gave the representatives the background and vocabulary needed to make the live
workshops (knowledge application phase) more efficient and effective.
Following the eLearning, the regional workshops were conducted
sequentially over a one-week period. In the workshops, representatives learned key
to leverage that information to enter into a consultative dialog.
Instead of relying solely on slide presentations, the instructional design
team at SPI created exercises that walked reps through live application of the
material. These real-word exercises helped the reps develop the skills necessary to
have evidenced-based, consultative conversations with physicians.
As an example, one exercise required representatives to create a
discussion outline by aligning brand messages with the format used by physicians
when formulating a patient-specific, clinical question.
In another exercise, representatives had to demonstrate their ability to
use an evidence-based clinical question format (PICO) to tie key clinical data for the
brand to a patient-specific solution.
Creating this link helps physicians see the impact that prescribing the
product may have on patient outcomes.
Subsequent to the training, the partnership continued as a 6 month follow-
up workshop was created to reinforce the concepts and increase the proficiency of
the consultative dialog. At the time of the writing of this case study, the workshop
was in the process of final tailoring and roll out.
Although the second workshop has not yet been deployed, the Marketing
Director reported a trend break from the early launch data amounting to an
to upper management. Field observations from sales managers confirm how their
representatives have changed their thinking on what they want to focus on during
calls. This has allowed them to get a little extra time with a physician, or to have
4© Sales Performance International, Inc
more impactful discussions.
When asked what he thought of working with SPI, he said, “SPI had the right
process and the right people to help us develop impactful training and messages
that set our sales team up for success. The results have been nothing short of
i. “BIOPHARMACEUTICALS IN PERSPECTIVE:” PhRMA.org, Spring 2015. Accessed 18 Jan 2016 http://
ii. “BIOPHARMACEUTICALS IN PERSPECTIVE:” PhRMA.org, Spring 2015. Accessed 18 Jan 2016 http://
iii. “BIOPHARMACEUTICALS IN PERSPECTIVE:” PhRMA.org, Spring 2015. Accessed 18 Jan 2016 http://
iv. IMS Health, “Launch Excellence IV: a new launch environment.” 2013. Accessed 18 Jan 2016 https://
5© Sales Performance International, Inc
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