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.

The food and beverage industry has always been one of the most attractive for the would-be entrepreneur. When we consider fundamentals, something that each one of us must purchase to survive, food and drink of course comes in at the top of the list. This may very well be true, but so many interrelated complex issues arise when you look to buy a business, that you should remember that only one in 10 companies such as this will actually survive. Correct valuation upfront and an adequate process of due diligence will help you to survive against these odds and prosper.

One of the key skills that you can possess when you get ready to buy restaurant business assets is the ability to communicate and to decipher information. You will need numerous meetings with the seller and don’t be surprised if the early ones don’t reveal some fundamental facts and figures. Normally, a seller will want to be just a little protective and will want to see how enthusiastic you are or whether you are really serious before any important data may be divulged.

There are some basic facts and figures to absorb before you are able to project your own figures for the future. How many tables are there in the restaurant and what style of food does it focus on? You need to know how many meals are served per day, per week and by month and if the menu is somewhat specialized, are the supplier contracts strong enough and is the supply chain sufficient?

Labor is a major cost in any business and particularly here. Find out how the costs breakdown and whether the strength of the entire business is based on the skills and strong personalities of key figures, notably the master chef. You may not expect to get a lot of the finer details during the early process, as a seller often wants to keep any news of a potential sale away from the employees until the appropriate moment.

Write up a check-list of questions to ask the owner; you should have hundreds and not be afraid to be very specific, nor to insist on detailed answers. As you are preparing your position, though, remember that this type of business will call on very long hours and is typically a seven days per week activity. You will be required to deal with many “fires,” be great at managing people and your time and may not expect to see a specific net profit for quite a while.

Some of the challenges you may well face as a new owner include the ability to consummate new relationships with your suppliers. Some suppliers see a change of ownership as an opportunity to significantly “amend” their contracts, and prices. Don’t be surprised if you have to deal with distraught people who may be concerned because their table is not ready for them, although they booked it but still arrived past their scheduled time. You must be able to motivate your employees and be able to handle all situations immediately, resulting in praise or termination accordingly.

When you’re sure that you are cut out to buy business interests in the restaurant industry, have tabled the right questions and received the comprehensive answers, are happy with your interpretation of the financials and contracts, then you are ready to discuss the value. Experts in this field should be engaged to help you understand what you are dealing with and you should use their findings to help you solidify your thoughts. If you know what the business bottom line is, the salary take of the owner, net profits and owner benefits, then you should adjust this figure according to any capital expenditure you feel is important.

With any restaurant for sale, the three major costs involved – labor, rent and food, should be no more than two thirds of total expenditure and always remember that you will have to have a superb marketing plan so that you can tell everyone about your new creation.

Richard Parker is the author of the How to Buy a Good Business at a Great Price series. As President and founder of Diomo Corporation – The Business Buyer Resource Center, his materials, seminars and consulting have helped thousands of business buyers realize their dream to buy a business.

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.

Everybody has to eat to survive, and over time we have developed this necessity into a process of socializing. As such, a restaurant for sale is one of the most popular businesses to buy, and one which may represent an even more attractive purchase proposition if you have a particular taste for a certain type of food!

Conduct due diligence when looking to buy restaurant business even though your heart, or even your stomach, might tell you that this is the vocation for you. This industry is very competitive and there are many elements you want to consider. Allocate a period of time, experts recommend four weeks, to observe the operation of the business. This should enable you to get a good feel and to smooth out any peaks or troughs before you make your final decision.

You have several key areas to investigate including the premises, the financials, the equipment, lease, the operations and the employees. Do not be afraid to bring in experts, including an accountant experienced in the food business to help you, but as you go through your observation period, use your general business sense and a good portion of common sense to observe how everything works, especially from a client point of view.

For your paper and number crunching chores, expect to review the tax returns, profit and loss statements, cash flow worksheets, inventory records, employee records, equipment agreements, maintenance schedules, all necessary licenses, health inspections certificates and a history and copy of the lease.

When dealing with financials, you must know that the restaurant business has a large quantity of cash sales. Some business owners choose to siphon some of this off and not report it. In the long run this isn’t a good idea, as this money could have been applied toward a marketing budget or buying new business assets, and if siphoning is going on, it can be quite hard to prove income.

When you are inspecting the property, look at it from an overall perspective as well as in detail. Can it be adequately seen from nearby major roads, is signage appropriate, well-maintained and presentable? Are there any other major competitors and are they overbearing? What is your first impression when arriving in the parking lot? Take a look at external dumpsters and trash removal areas to make sure that these are as well-maintained as possible and are unobtrusive.

Moving inside, what is your first impression of the decor. Is the waiting area pleasant and contributory to the overall ambience? Is there adequate signage for bathrooms, emergency exits? Pay close attention to the bathrooms. They should be in perfect working order, comfortable and impeccably clean and well-maintained. In a restaurant, everything, repeat everything should be clean, presentable and in full working order.

Most of the equipment contained in a restaurant and specifically within its kitchen is subject to certification, inspection and permitting. Check to see that this is all up-to-date and timely. While every element of the equipment should be operated according to the letter of the law, you must also ensure that regular maintenance and cleaning schedules are top-notch. For major items and appliances, see whether contractor warranties are available and can be transferred to you.

Very often a lease can be a potential stumbling block when looking at a restaurant for sale. The landlord will want to ensure that the business is being operated as efficiently as possible and may be wary of transferring or issuing a new lease to someone who does not have much experience. Look for terminology within the lease stating that transfers will “not be unreasonably withheld,” and aim to ensure that you get at least as favorable terms during your tenancy. This would be a good time to assess the overall viability of the environment within which the business operates. If in a strip mall of some kind, are the anchor stores in good shape and do the majority of other businesses also appear sound? You do not want to see an anchor store disappear and the overall visitor level to the area decline.

When you analyze the operations of the business, you want to learn how the current owner operates and whether there are any immediate issues or challenges that you will have to take into account. Look closely at any “special arrangements” or unique selling points that involve a particular individual, a style or presentation of food. You want to be sure that these elements are transferable or will be present when you take over.

A restaurant will likely rise and fall on the strength of its employees. While you can expect a high turnover in any kind of restaurant, if you see some loyal staff and a good “team spirit” this can be a definite plus. Check to see how people are hired, the terms and conditions offered to them and exactly how they are paid.

While you should insist on an observation period, before you are involved in formal discussions with the seller why not kill two birds with one stone and visit the restaurant for a few nice dinners or lunches with other companions? You don’t have to show your hand at this stage and can get a really good feeling by observing how the staff come and go, the operation within the kitchen ideally and in general get an opinion of whether everything is orderly and well-structured during the busiest times.

Richard Parker is the President and founder of the prestigious Diomo Corporation – The Business Buyer Resource Center. His celebrated materials, seminars and consulting have encouraged thousands of aspiring business buyers from around the World to pursue their dream to buy a business.