Laura Montocchio, Corporate Training Consultants, Inc.

Nov 03, 2007
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Laura Montocchio
UNTIL RECENTLY the pharmaceutical industry regularly outperformed the S&P 500. So, historically, one could argue that pharmaceutical companies have been well managed. In the past few years, however, that trend has reversed, with the S&P 500 regularly outperforming the pharmaceutical industry. One has to wonder if the industry as a whole is as nimble and efficient as it needs to be to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by the increasingly rapid rate of change within the marketplace.


Identify and stave off potential threats by focusing on continuous improvement of tactical and strategic selling skills for all salespeople, regardless of their experience level. Salespeople are the eyes and the ears of pharmaceutical companies, and they're some of the best assets companies have in regard to identifying potential threats early. Time and time again, we encounter sales executives who have made the mistake of assuming their sales force "knows how to sell" and needs no further training. They point to the sales representatives' proven track records at previous companies. At risk of sounding cliché, major league baseball players don't stop going to batting practice just because they switch teams. It's sales leadership that must set the expectation and build the culture of continuous improvement. And if the leaders do, they'll be well ahead of the competition who naively rest on their laurels.


Change itself offers endless opportunities. Those companies that are paying attention to emerging trends and that are poised to fill new market niches will excel in this fluid environment.

Training is a profession—a true discipline. In order for a company to excel in this critical area, it's vital to hire professionals (whether internal or external) and empower them to do their jobs. Occasionally, I encounter organizations in which leadership does not have an appreciation of training as the discipline that it is: They don't know what they don't know. In these cases, the executives are their own worst enemies. They tend to veto innovative and/or extensive sales training initiatives because they don't recognize the value. In my experience, the most effective executives are those who are secure enough in their own abilities to surround themselves with professionals who excel in other disciplines and who provide those people with the freedom and budget to do their jobs. Of course, along with training professionals, consultants have a responsibility to teach their customers about the value of their training expertise and initiatives.


As the general trend toward smaller, more-efficient sales forces continues, training those salespeople will become even more vital to a company's success. We leave an era when quantity of sales calls ruled the day. And we're moving into an era where the quality of sales calls will separate the winners from the losers. Consequently, it's vital that executives build a corporate culture in which continuous improvement of tactical and strategic selling and communication skills is paramoun. Partner with consultants who make you feel heard, and who are realistic and flexible to be able to work comfortably with you.


Corporate Training Consultants, Inc. is a pharmaceutical-and-biotech training consulting firm based in Cary, NC. The company specializes in both custom and off-the-shelf sales training programs.

Laura Montocchio is president of Corporate Training Consultants, Inc. She can be reached at

Corporate Training Consultants, Inc.
T: 919-467-0800

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