Clients of a typical pharmaceutical company often have a choice when it comes to selection of business partners and may look for a distinct type of relationship in return for further patronage. Therefore, the pharmaceutical company must really comprehend the value that the business of that strategic account imparts and must realise that when it designates “key account” status, a certain level of quality control should ensue and measurable results be expected.

Key account management must be dynamic and not something that can be assessed and reviewed at some point in the future. It must be essentially dynamic and while certain elements of such an association will mean different things to different staff members, the overall goal must be the same – to ensure that the client and all its executives are happy and wish to remain.

It is a shame, but clients are often disappointed by what they see as a failure to embrace the importance of key account management and by the organisation’s inability to cross the line. The key account expects a pharmaceutical company to be proactive and not simply to react when any events take place. It’s important for the client to see that the company is acting in its best interests and, most especially in this field, keeping abreast of developments within the industry.

Sometimes, the client will be expecting the pharmaceutical company to be involved in the development of strategies. Many different levels of key account recognition are possible and it is feasible that this could vary across many different client levels, but the pharmaceutical company must be sure that at every tier of its organisation, staff are trained in the particular requirements necessary. The company must intimately know the client and this does not necessarily mean socially. For example, the company may want to send some of its appropriate staff into the field to work directly with the client and should remember that this can also help to provide an element of in-depth knowledge about the client, intelligence which could be used in the future.

The pharmaceutical company should never be afraid to perform a certain amount of work at no charge for truly key clients and this once again points to the need for each client to be treated as its own entity. The moral is that there should be no such thing as a textbook approach to key account management and pharmaceutical consulting firms fully realise this and can help to educate all staff levels in the intricacies of such an approach.

When it comes to the release of information that could be seen as proprietary, pharmaceutical companies may find themselves in a difficult or delicate position. In this kind of business, information can be very powerful and while the client may be looking for added “value” from the company through the passing of information, this element is best handled at the senior vice presidential level, in consultation with the company’s pharma consulting firm.

The pharmaceutical consultants will help ensure that the company is going above and beyond, over-delivering its part of the equation. Remember that a key account must be key in all respects and this goes all the way to the bottom of the balance sheet, to enable a truly “win-win” situation to result.

Alan Gillies is the CEO of L2L Consulting, a cutting-edge pharma consultancy firm which specialises in optimising productivity and performance within international companies by applying tailored organisational strategies.

An Array Of Valuable Tips For Marketing Niche Products

Posted by admin on March 30th, 2010

Surely, the pharmaceutical market is one of the most interesting and diverse industries, always in a state of change and flux, but in more recent times, we can see a distinct trend away from big brand product, wide reach styles of marketing toward a focus on the “niche” medicines; this process also seems to be accelerating. An additional challenge is thus presented for the pharmaceutical company sales staff, most especially in the area of education.

Pharmaceutical companies may now be more concerned with discussing product branding at an early stage of the development cycle, as they are keenly aware of the volatile nature of the market and additional constraints that will emerge as the company tries to penetrate and satisfy these more narrow-minded niche markets. The branding exercise must take into account potential resistance or the need for additional clarification at an early stage of the marketing cycle.

Now more than ever, pharmaceutical markets are crowded. So many choices are presented to a consumer and a wide variety of external forces often come into the purchasing decision, including advice given by the petitioner or front-line professional. Every one of us expects instantaneous information to be available whenever we need it and we’re now getting used to engaging with each other much more often within social networks and online. As a consequence, we are becoming much more educated about every aspect of our existence. As the market becomes more crowded and the consumer becomes more educated, more emphasis must be placed on marketing program efficiency by senior company executives.

Pharmaceutical companies are spending a great deal of their time moulding and shaping the market so that it is ready for the product when it is released. This only helps to emphasise the fact that marketing should be considered interactively during brand creation phases and that educational channels are explored.

If more emphasis is being placed on marketing within niche product areas, then it is true to say that there is more emotional involvement and less tendency to “go with the flow” on the part of the professional or the consumer. This requires a pharmaceutical company to be very clear and distinct in its marketing methods and messages, in order to differentiate itself from its competitors in the eyes of its target markets. This clearly puts pressure on the company’s sales force as these executives must now try and penetrate a sceptical barrier at the professional level and ensure that the message is stronger, yet more targeted than before.

The sales force is of primary importance to the success of the company and senior officials are turning in greater numbers to pharmaceutical consultants and pharmaceutical consulting firms to help them train and focus the force accordingly. In most cases, pharma consulting plays a great role in helping the organisation to identify shifting marketing forces, especially when associated with niche concentration. If the professional is traditionally distant, sharper skills will be required and more cognitive training must be assured to enable the sales executive to break through and be successful. Effective implementation requires an equal amount of experience, ability and training.

Alan Gillies is the CEO of L2L Consulting, a cutting-edge pharma consultancy firm which specialises in optimising productivity and performance within international companies by applying tailored organisational strategies.

More than $25 billion per year is spent on marketing pharmaceutical products, showing the size and importance of the industry and underlining the need for the pharmaceutical company to be highly effective in this arena. It is simply not good enough for the organisation to be on the cutting edge of its game, and ground-breaking when it comes to the delivery and dissemination of new products to the market, unless it is sharply attentive to marketing in this highly competitive marketplace. While the healthcare industry always seems to be a growth industry, there is an increasing amount of more focused competition and the company fails to concentrate on its marketing strengths at its peril.

Due to the sheer size of the healthcare industry and the fact that it touches every individual in one way or the other, much attention is given to drug spending. Indeed, it is estimated that spending on pharmaceuticals can account for up to 15% of the total amount spent within the health industry and with such high numbers at stake, marketing proficiency, or a lack of it, can have big consequences.

The sales force is critical to the success of the pharmaceutical company as it spends much of its time directly interacting with front-line professionals, advisors and practitioners. Positive interaction between the sales executive and the professional is essential for progress. As the executive engages with the professional, a lot of time and effort can be put into trying to achieve a result, but as the practitioner is often turned off to marketing practices and advances, this can be a ‘tough nut to crack.’

Often times, the healthcare professional, being highly educated and focused, wants to rely on scientific papers, advice from colleagues within the industry, or his or her own training and first-hand experience. There is a significant danger that the professional could view the advances of a pharmaceutical company sales executive as single-minded, so the executive therefore needs highly-tuned marketing and communication skills to be able to break through.

As the pharmaceutical industry matures, more emphasis is being placed on these product areas and with advances in medicine, an increasingly higher level of education is important for the sales team. These complex dynamics worry the pharmaceutical company chiefs, especially as they have enough to fill a plate with regard to product development, lobbying activities, regulatory enforcement, adherence and economic constraints. It is at times like these that they should turn to pharmaceutical consulting firms not only to advise them, but to help educate and direct their sales forces.

Invariably, pharmaceutical consultants have first-hand experience of the market and know how to interact and deal with end-users and with professionals. Advice can be imparted about layers of motivation, multiple layers of training and the best way to approach client interaction. In most cases, pharma consulting can help to instil the correct amount of urgency within the sales staff member, while helping to ensure that the team works across different tangents. Not only must the executive understand the best interests of the employer, but he or she must seek the trust and acceptance of the professional at this most critical stage in the product life-cycle. True balance is required to ensure that motivation works through training to reveal the correct way forward.

Alan Gillies is the Director of L2L Consulting, an elite pharmaceutical consultancy firm which specialises in Strategy Development and Implementation Excellence for prestigious multi-national organisations.

Helpful Tips For Determining If An Account Really Is Key

Posted by admin on March 23rd, 2010

If the pharmaceutical company designates one of its clients as a key account, what criteria is it using to determine this? If this decision is based simply on financial data, then it is likely that the company’s entire account management philosophy is flawed. Look at it from the point of view of a designated key account. This client is clearly able to see if the association is based on a dollar value and is not based on strategic importance or the provision of services over and above the standard. It’s not possible to mask the true meaning of the relationship, as designated by the pharmaceutical company, regardless of the levels of interpersonal relationships at the executive levels.

The key client understands why it should be designated as “key,” whether that is purely to do with revenue levels or not or whether, as more likely, it is a product of strategic positioning as well. This client will expect a certain level of attention from the company and will be looking for leadership positioning in the industry, as part and parcel of the agreement to do business in the first place.

A relationship between a company and its client must be a two-way street. Remember that there are always options available and as such, therefore, the company must go above and beyond what would ordinarily be expected. Within the very make up of a company, all staff should be infused with this philosophy, but this can be a difficult position to achieve. A pharmaceutical consulting firm can be worth its weight in gold in these situations. Due to the amount of experience that they have built up, pharmaceutical consultants can be really knowledgeable and can even understand a client’s requirements better than the company itself. As such, the consultants can help the training of staff at all levels with regard to the intricacies necessary when dealing with clients.

For example, a client will often be looking for the company to be proactive, to be always looking for ways to improve the relationship and to help the client act on data and information that they already have. This will not necessarily directly result in an increase in revenues, and if the front-line executives are only motivated by bonuses according to revenue figures, then they may not be correctly incentivised to handle the client the right way.

It is often not as “black-and-white” as this and even the most sophisticated incentivisation scheme employed by the pharmaceutical company can fail to break down the invisible barrier to success. A lot of experience is called for in this situation and each key account must be handled carefully and with precision.

Hidden costs are often involved and the pharmaceutical company must understand that it should be very sparing in its designation of “key” account status. Senior management must be able to read between the lines and see the strategic importance of the relationship, over and above pure revenue and cost line items. These days, pharma consulting firms can help reveal these points of reason and can in certain circumstances help the company to understand that a particular client may not in fact represent the company’s best interests.

Alan Gillies is the CEO of L2L Consulting, a cutting-edge pharma consultancy firm which specialises in optimising productivity and performance within international companies by applying tailored organisational strategies.

Useful Points On How To Interact In The Business World

Posted by admin on March 1st, 2010

While it may be difficult to categorise the ideal amount of time required to close any sale due to a proliferation of external circumstances, the main goal of a sales executive is to get the prospect to move on to the next stage in an effective buying process. In this way, a sale would not necessarily be appropriate, but a “yes” or “no” decision should be revealed, rather than a “maybe.” Everyone’s time is very valuable and important in these situations, and the executive should be trained to note the subtle responses, language and tone from the prospect, so that he or she knows whether it’s time to move on to prospects who have better potential, or not. Effective implementation requires the sales executive to pay particular attention to time management and this extends to the time actually spent face-to-face, as well. Many advocate that the time spent with a potential prospect face-to-face is the most valuable of any sales executive’s day, requiring that all “non effective” time spent on administration and other issues be contained, but remember that not all of the prospect’s time can bring a “result.”

In the modern healthcare and pharmaceutical fields, outdated sales tactics are not welcome. So much is at stake here, as the professional healthcare provider needs to cut to the chase and be in possession of all the appropriate facts. As such, the best salespeople realise that they must spend their time building the customer relationship and going the extra distance, rather than trying to work out just how to close the sale according to the prospect’s personality type or other concepts. Getting to know the customer’s specific needs and worries is a good way of approaching the issue, and using brainpower to devise ways to overcome the client’s issues is a much better use of valued resources. It takes a long time to build up the trust and rapport with a client, and it can be easily removed. Other representatives of other organisations may also be vying for the interests of a particular client and there is much to be said for open, honest and frank relationships rather than the implementation of spin tactics.

The ultimate objective of a sales executive is of course to close a sale, but all the background work must be completed carefully involving an investigation of how a company could help a professional, rather than pitching a product. Consider your questions carefully and spend time to ask them and gather the information. It is important to get the professional to be open and frank and by doing so to provide the information necessary to ask the next appropriate question, so that this process allows the company to get closer to the important sale and to improve the ratio of effective implementation.

In our modern marketplace, pharmaceutical consultants know how important an effective implementation ratio is and understand how much the parent company invests in its efforts. Generally, pharmaceutical consulting firms can help to elevate these ratios by taking time to train the sales force in the dedicated and specific techniques required to succeed. As a rule, pharma consulting aims to bring out the best potential and allows the company’s senior people to focus on product development and other essential areas.

Alan Gillies is the Managing Director of L2L Consulting, specialising in enabling pharmaceutical companies to achieve new heights of productivity and performance, throughout all levels of management and revenue generating activities.