Flying Under the Radar - Pharmaceutical Executive


Flying Under the Radar
Pharma companies are overlooking the importance of training for regional managers and directors. What they don't realize might hurt them in the long run.

PE Sales Management

But the survey reveals that not all companies will continue with this trend. Twenty-five percent of the companies surveyed reported plans to scale down as a result of budget cuts and sales force downsizing. In addition to these changes, there is a trend toward re-allocation of training resources. Some large organizations have shifted from a primary care to a specialty sales focus. These companies already have re-allocated their primary care trainers to other responsibilities, like specialty sales or managed care training.

In small and mid-sized companies, training departments are also growing. This includes small companies, such as Esprit Pharma, which maintains two trainers for their 177-rep specialty sales force. But Esprit has plans to grow.

The Value Proposition

In the coming years, trainers predict that their responsibilities will continue to grow, which brings more opportunities for L&D departments to demonstrate their value. They will work with legal and sales to keep the field current on increasingly complex regulatory issues. And, they will need to do it better than their competition.

The training outfit at Amgen, for example, stays connected to the big picture by asking its customers to spell out their business goals every September. "As we build our strategy for the upcoming year, we ask our customers to tell us their goals and business drivers," Nasser says. "We then link our training strategy directly to the behaviors needed to drive business results." By connecting L&D to business results, training stays relevant to senior leadership.

"Today, heads of training increasingly are being challenged to communicate and demonstrate the value of their function throughout the organization," says Brian Fagan, executive director of SPBT. "The key challenges for learning and development departments are visibility in the organization, better integration with other functions, and a stronger role in the overall business strategy of the company."

Michele Goldberg is a senior consultant with Hay Insight and can be reached at
Laura Ramos is editor of SPBT Focus magazine. She can be reached at


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