These are challenging times for senior operations executives who support sales, marketing, and managed markets. The pipeline shortfall, drug-approval delays, and increasing regulatory complexity have squeezed budgets while raising revenue targets. The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) has caused some of the most far-reaching changes in the sales and marketing landscape, as government purchasing power creates both new opportunities and greater restrictions. In addition, traditional modes of selling have saturated the market, and the sales model the industry knows and loves is no longer so effective.
A bellwether for the industry because of their experience—most average 25 years or more—commercial ops execs are inherently pragmatic. Fortunately for pharma, their on-the-ground perspective is invaluable in dealing with today's pressures—rapid changes in managed markets, reduced effectiveness of traditional sales models, and the resulting challenge to marketing to take a more balanced approach.
Size Matters in Outlook
Several findings were of particular interest. First, executives expressed mixed views about the future, with execs at mid-tier firms far more optimistic about, and confident in, their own company than the industry as a whole. But all share a deep concern for the ongoing viability of information sources, as legislative bodies and professional societies increasingly limit access to prescriber data; some are developing their own proprietary data as a result.
Industry reputation is also key. Respondents agreed that the single-most-important issue to focus on over the next three years is "public perception of the industry." The number-two priority is "managed markets' perception of the industry."