Business Transformation

Does Your Pharma Sales Model Need a Booster Shot?

The pharmaceutical marketplace is evolving in fundamental ways – perhaps at a pace more rapid than any other B2B industry. In our work with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, we’re seeing the transformation first hand.

What’s changing? Business models, decision-makers, reimbursement models, access to information, buyer profiles… the list is long. So long, in fact, that I’d venture to say it’s much simpler to list what’s NOT changing: your mission to help doctors deliver innovative solutions and better service, leading to improved patient outcomes.

You just need to go about it in a different way.

Not surprisingly, the sales model you’ve relied on in the past no longer delivers the results you need. In fact, you aren’t even sure you need sales reps anymore – but trust me, you do. The key is to reinvent the pharma sales rep role in a way that embraces obstacles as opportunities and changes as renewed chances for success.

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Case in Point

A major pharmaceutical company recently reached out to Blueline Simulations for help in revamping its sales model to better meet evolving market conditions and customer expectations.

Building on the company’s market research that clearly showed most customers still value pharmaceutical sales reps but don’t value the industry’s standard sales approach, we used our Voice of the Business (VoB) process to identify what was needed in a new sales model.

Using our VoB process, we culled our client’s research for insights and identified best practices in existing pockets of success. Then, drawing on our decades of sales training experience, we worked with our client to map out a new customer-focused sales model, define the core skills and competencies required to execute the new model and identify key triggers we could use to engage and inspire the sales reps.

Of course, designing a new sales model is only the beginning. The real key to results is driving adoption in the field – getting the sales reps to understand and embrace their new customer-centric roles. The company designated three states to test the new approach and partnered with Blueline to create the rollout strategy.

The training design utilized a custom Blueline Blueprint Learning Visual as the central element in a three-day meeting where sales reps were introduced to the new sales model. We used the Blueprint as a launch point for a broad range of sales manager-led practice and coaching activities – to provide practice and allow time to address questions and concerns.

The six-month test was a success. Based on learnings from the initial pilot, the sales model was further refined and then rolled out across the United States and eventually, with adjustments for local markets, applied across the world.

Pharmaceutical companies are in a position to literally redefine the sales rep role… to replace traditional sales models with models that put service and solutions at the forefront… to create models that ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes. That’s where Blueline comes in.

Contact us today! Together we can explore and implement proven solutions that will give your pharma sales model a shot in the arm and get you back on the fast track to results.

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – at 30 frames per second, a video is worth 108,000,000 words per minute.

At Blueline Simulations we know the power of strong visual images – in fact, our highly successful Learning Blueprints are built on compelling visuals. Several months ago, we discussed how telestrations focus exactly on the ideas being communicated, helping the audience to clearly understand the key messages – in one viewing.

We have developed a straightforward process to create these successful productions with our clients. Here’s how we worked with a client who contacted us to help them communicate changes to a longstanding internal process.

At our initial meeting, we determined that their challenge was to communicate a clear, accessible message about an upcoming change to everyone across the entire organization. The delivery mode had to be repeatable and consistent to all – whether they were directly involved with the change or not. We helped refine the message’s three primary elements: 1) defining the change; 2) conveying the importance of total compliance across all units; 3) the long-term benefits of the change to the entire organization.

Following this meeting, the creative team swung into action, guided by the producer. First, the writer developed the script – a 4 & ½ minute narrative that got the audience’s attention, kept them interested, and clearly focused the primary message points.  The next step was the storyboard, where our artist created the visual metaphors, images, and other visual elements (consistent with brand guidelines) – to help the audience visualize the change and focus on the message and ideas.

After content and legal reviews, the artist moved the easel to the video studio, where, working with the director, all elements were shot – and all “live draw” elements painstakingly drawn as the camera rolled. The narrator then entered the announce booth in the audio studio and recorded – with the inflection of each word carefully delivered to reinforce the visuals and primary message points.

Once all elements had been created, the editor performed magic in the editing suite. By speeding up the hours of footage shot in the studio, incorporating special effects and animation, the now flowing visuals brought the script alive for the audience; this “speeding up” allows a significant message and supporting ideas to be powerfully communicated in a brief video. The final touch was adding just the right music to set the proper tone and feeling.

And the audience? In one viewing of this compelling, clear presentation they understood and remembered the intended message. That’s communication!

Do you need to communicate new ideas to your organization in a brief, engaging, and meaningful way? Contact us at Blueline Simulations and let us show you how the power of telestrations can be put to work for you.

Facing a business transformation? Blueline is in your future!

blueline-dialChange creates uncertainty – causing fear and confusion and hurting productivity.  A clearly defined message and communication strategy can dispel doubts and facilitate alignment.  Learn how Blueline supported innovation initiatives at a Fortune 50 Healthcare Company using proven planning and communication strategies.

The outcomes are best summarized by the head of the organization who opined: “the successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization – through these efforts we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”

LOOK! WE’RE IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL! (KIND OF)

I was talking with a client recently and we were discussing the powerful impact successful change strategies can have on an organization. We were both sharing our continued surprise at how simple strategies can have such far reaching impact. Even though we have both seen and experienced it many times it is still delightful to watch the impact of successful change collaboration unfold. Our discussions led us to a past client experience. One we are proud of and never tire of sharing… Take a look. It’s a great story. And it’s a story I’d love to help create in your organization as well.

A process for collaborative change: Blueline Simulations’ “Voice of the Customer.”voice-customer

1. Listen first. A series of stakeholder interviews reveals prevailing biases and mental models.

2. Build a straw man. We propose a design that is explicitly informed by the client’s own words.

3. Tell the story. We record a webinar and produce an interim report to introduce the design to key organizational influencers.

4. Test and refine the design. Stakeholder response leads us to produce a new iteration in preparation of the next step.

5. Present the big idea. The final report is a testament to the work of the organization’s stakeholders… and becomes a powerful artifact for change.

Challenger Sale: Selling With Insight

I am very proud to say that I was taught SPIN Selling by the pioneer of that method, Neil Rackham himself. That was nearly 25 years ago, and since then I have dedicated my professional life to uncovering my customers’ unique needs and solving challenges for them; and to teaching others to do the same.

So I was, of course, brought up short by a colleague of mine who told me that the future of sales had changed and that I needed to change with it.  She simply said: “you absolutely, positively, must read The Challenger Sale.”

Secretly, I wondered if the train had left the station without me on it. So I dutifully ordered the audio book and while my wife and oldest son slept on our fall trip to drop him off at Wake Forest University, I immersed myself in a new world of selling.

The basic premise of the book for me was simple: “today’s customer values insights and education every bit as much as they value service and your knowledge of their business and its unique needs.”  Said another way, “you don’t have a great value proposition unless you can bring insights and value that they didn’t know they needed to the first conversation.”

Wow!  Talk about a wake up call!  This was completely transformational to me.  And on the way back home, I pondered Blueline’s value proposition and asked myself the question: Does Blueline bring insights and value to its prospective customers?

The answer is yes and no. We do, but we didn’t used to lead with it.  Our focus has always been on asking questions so that we had a clear understanding of need and then formulating an opinion about the best way to solve for that need.  And that’s still a good model.  But today’s customers demand that you prove yourself by bringing insights to them before they will commit the time to help you to understand their challenges.  That’s as true for my customers as it is for yours.

So we set about to rethink our initial interactions with prospective clients.  Today, we start by making the case for using business simulations and the case for engaging their people.  We share insights about the evolving demographics of their workforce and the often-misrepresented role that engagement plays in changing belief systems, retaining knowledge, and transforming skills.  Further, we make the case for a mix of technologies that maximize the impact of a three-pronged learning strategy that includes reference, immersion and community.  And by doing so, we earn the right to explore the unique requirements of our client, and to put forth a recommendation.

Today, we have set our sights on transforming the way we serve up these insights and others via our web site.  I hope that you will return often and explore the fruits of our labors in the coming months.

Meantime, if you are wrestling with how to meaningfully implement the Challenger Sale, the team at Blueline has been there and done that and would be delighted to share our insights with you.