May 25, 2010 by
One of the ongoing challenges facing the pharmaceutical company is the attraction, motivation, management and handling of key salespeople. The company itself has a significant reputation in the marketplace and has allocated certain resources to the development of its reputation and the dissemination of its cutting-edge products. Every organisation is, of course, very dynamic and its ongoing success will depend on the correct, but complex interaction of many moving parts, on an ongoing basis. The organisation will have to pay much attention to how its all important clients are handled and this will involve the development of key account management techniques and policies, to ensure successful relationships with implied integrity.
These days, key account management training is so important as the company develops a line of procedural guidelines, disseminated from the highest levels for clarity. However, one of the major challenges facing the company hierarchy is one of communicating to its sales staff through pharmaceutical sales training and in turn ensuring that the level of communication, both outgoing and incoming to and from a client organisation, is perfectly formed.
In truth, a relationship between a supplier and buyer may rise or fall on the strength of communication, which can sometimes be as relatively tenuous as an interpersonal relationship between two people — the key account client contact and the key account manager at the pharmaceutical company end.
When it has been established that an account must retain “key” status, the pharmaceutical company must define the nature of this relationship very clearly and must communicate the appropriate elements of this definition throughout the company through good pharmaceutical sales training. In doing so, these actions and responses are coordinated and consistent. Not all parts of this policy can be automatically rolled out as we have to remember that human foibles can often interject. Never put so much attention on a certain individual at an interface, so that the relationship breaks down if something goes wrong. It is much more preferable to build a variety of different tiers of communication between the company and client organisations, be they informal or formal, thereby negating the effects of catastrophic failure.
The pharmaceutical company would be best served by establishing and implementing regular development, planning and review meetings and exercises, with the clear aim of “over delivering” to satisfy the relationship.
When an important relationship is in the process of development, we should remember that financial considerations are not the only motivators in question and both parties should see the dissemination of confidential information as an important ingredient, going forward. In this respect, it is critical that the pharmaceutical company identifies the all-important receiving role within the client organisation and the individual who fills this role, so that a sharing of information can be facilitated. Without putting too fine a point on it, interpersonal communication and relationships must be very sophisticated, but it is equally important that the focus is not on the particular personality associated with the individual fitting the role. From time to time a “key” individual may leave his or her role and should this happen, ongoing functionality will not be compromised.
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.