Getting Everyone On Board

Mar 03, 2008

Jim Trunick
A product manager's training course can be the most creative, innovative, and custom-designed program ever to come down the pipeline, but it will die on the vine without executive support and the sponsorship of commercial-business-unit group leaders.

So how did Allergan, in a period of two years, manage to get everyone it needed on board to develop and implement the impressive Product Manager's Resource Center (PMRC) (see "Everything A Product Manager Needs To Know But Might Not Know Enough To Ask")? Pharmaceutical Executive recently asked PMRC's codevelopers—Jim Trunick, Allergan's senior director of corporate training and development, and Alexandra Barton, senior manager of human resources—what they did to make it happen and what advice they would give other companies that might like to do something similar.

Q: How did you get the support to make PMRC happen?

Alexandra Barton: We basically went around to each of our VPs in sales and marketing and talked with them about the program. And we built a budget. We outlined the whole program—the advantages, the purpose, the objectives, who would be our primary audience—and then we got their feedback. Then we went to our North American management-team meeting, and along with one of our marketing directors, Jim Trunick and I presented a proposal.

One of the things I think the organization realized is that we spend a lot of time training and developing our sales force, but we don't always give that type of attention to our product managers.

Alexandra Barton
We saw the program as another way for us to get out there, to make sure that people start off with really clear job expectations and that the training that they get—whether they're in a neuroscience division, an eye-care division, or a facial-aesthetics division—is going to be consistent.

Jim Trunick: That part is really important, because we built this with small task forces of Allergan managers and directors for each segment. They would build, edit, approve, and support. In that way, it became company specific.

Barton: In terms of the selling process and how we created the learning modules, we actually took it "on the road." After we got approval from our North American team and our Allergan Medical Management team, which is the aesthetic side of our business, we held sessions with all of our directors of marketing. Jim and I actually did about three to five of these "road shows," where we had everybody come in to make sure that we could maximize people's calendars and gave them sufficient exposure to what Product Manager Resource Center is. We gave them a live demo. We showed them some of the exercises. We passed out our Leader's Guide. We made sure that they had enough time to ask questions so they could really understand what the tools are and what their folks would be using.

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