Sales challenges in pharmaceuticals

There were a number of recurring themes at the Pharma Commercial & Sales conference focused around an ever-evolving market and the digital transformation.  Presenters and delegates were ultimately asking the questions what is the future of the salesforce and what is the role of the Key Account Manager?

Our observations from the day include:

Industry concerns

  • “We need to collaborate more with our customers, but we don’t know how. How do we find a shared agenda?”
  • “The decision making process is becoming more complex and often decisions are made by committee”
  • “For change to happen it needs to be embraced by the leadership team.”
  • “There are more people involved in the decision making process and there is a shift from HCP (Health Care Providers) to a more senior management level” “There is no longer a focus on HCP”
  • “It is difficult to agree on the right KPIs, this is partly due to regulation.”
  • “There is more focus on price as a buying criteria.”
  • “There is a move from product focus to customer focus.”
  • “Payers don’t trust us and we don’t trust them”

Talent development requirements

  • “The skills that the salesforce need are changing”
  • “We need a more consultative approach.”
  • “It is a challenge to hire good Key Account Managers
  • “Sales is moving on-line, one presenter said 25% is now on-line”
  • “We need better sales managers, they struggle with coaching skills.”

Improving customer relationships

There was an instant voting platform and when delegates were asked how to improve customer relationships, the recommendations were to: listen, understand, be prepared to give and develop trust.  Some things never change, regardless of evolving markets and the need to embrace digital transformation, developing customer relationships is always imperative to success and nothing will replace the face to face.

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