Are Pharmaceutical Executives Hampering the Ability of their Companies to Change?
For professional representatives to flourish in the evolving new healthcare market executives must create a corporate environment that understands the importance of and is committed to changing the commercial model. An environment where executives and commercial managers are committed to do whatever it takes to help professional representatives be successful in this evolving new healthcare market. With the professional representative focused on the customer (again, not just physicians), corporate and commercial management should be focused on developing the products, label claims, data, information, and programs that help professional representatives meet the needs and expectations of the evolving healthcare market customer.
This organizational transformation will require that commercial management step up their game and the level of their own professionalism. Expertise in traditional marketing and sales tactics is not going to help much in this evolving new healthcare market. There are no slick technology quick fixes or gimmicky tactics that will substitute for meeting product and data needs of the market. It is critical that marketing and sales management understand and accept that tactics that worked in the past and the bad behaviors that drove revenues in the past, are no longer going to be tolerated and will not work in the evolving new healthcare market. It means marketing and sales management must reformulate their strategies and acquire new skills and expertise that are better aligned with the needs and expectations of the evolving new healthcare market. This includes being able to effectively deploy a sophisticated team of professional representatives and arm them with products and support resources that address the evolving healthcare market needs and expectations.
Unfortunately, most executives and the people running commercial teams today are grounded in a traditional mentality about pharmaceutical marketing and sales. This is where I predict most organizational transformations will fall short and stall out. Those who can make the changes and should be championing the changes will feel threatened by a move away from their own expertise, experience base, and comfort zone.
Here is something to think about. Let’s assume the company decides to embrace the organizational changes we have discussed and it is ready to embrace the new professional representative profile. Where do you find marketing and sales management with the new skills, expertise, and mindset needed to formulate and implement the new commercial strategy? For example, will sales managers understand and appreciate the differences between sales reps and professional representatives? Will marketing managers understand that they need to spend more time comprehending the complexities of the evolving decision-maker processes and nuances of customer expectations (not just market research) rather than worrying about the copy and graphics for their next TV commercial?
Again, don’t underestimate the need for executives and commercial management to really understanding the market at the customer level and having the right mindset about how to approach this new commercial model. Some sales representatives and some commercial management may be close to the desired profile and mindset needed for these changes but they also need corporate executives who can create an environment in which these individuals can champion these changes and flourish. Unfortunately, there are probably more who don’t get it, won’t get it, and will probably fight it, if not actively, passively by doing nothing.