With the healthcare environment continuing to change, sales managers and sales representatives must understand what drives both their customers' and their own company's profitability and strategic decisions. In response to this change, many pharmaceutical companies are asking field employees to run their sales territories as a business. This requires greater appreciation of costs and the effective management of resources. Thus, there is a need to create business plans that are aligned with corporate and therapeutic area goals.
For a sales manager to become more of a business manager and leader, the company needs to design blended learning solutions that continuously focus on improving decision making, understanding customers' business needs, resource allocation, financial analysis, and strategic thinking. All of these capabilities underscore the business planning process. Additionally, sales managers need the skills to coach and support their direct reports on how to create and execute an effective business plan.
Drawing a RoadmapMost people realize that effective business planning is critical to achieving results, but implementing a consistent, disciplined process in pharma field organizations is always a challenge. For many field organizations, there is great deal of variability in business plan existence and quality. For other organizations, business planning is viewed as a "check-the-box" activity that yields little insight into opportunities with targeted initiatives.
Even with these challenges, sales leaders are eager to develop a Business Planning and Resource Allocation Framework to support disciplined planning throughout the field organization. Making business planning a priority: