Managing the business

September 1, 2002
K. C. Warner
K. C. Warner

K.C. Warner is a market impact specialist who works with pharmaceutical sales training departments to increase market share and management performance. She can be reached at Warner Development at (800) 845-6108 or via e-mail at KCWarner@

Pharmaceutical Representative

How to get the most from your resources to impact district sales

Your sales representatives work hard. Your medical center representatives work hard. Your managed care account representatives work hard. You work hard. So who else do you need to influence to impact business in your district? How can you use these people to impact your business?

We all know that our counterparts in other areas of the company can help grow our business. We readily count on marketing, human resources and finance. Others we may not regularly include are strategy experts, corporate sales training, regional "managers-to-be," creative services and the market research department.

Nontraditional internal resources

Several internal resources that may be considered nontraditional can help impact a sales district.

Market strategy experts. These experts can be an incredible resource for us. Every day they make their living by mapping out strategy for the company. What a wealth of knowledge for you to tap into when creating your plan! We can combine our knowledge of the territory with their expertise to create a well thought-out approach to influence business.

Corporate sales training. Many people think that if you are a good salesperson, you must be a good sales trainer. This is not necessarily true. There is a science behind good training just as there is in any field. When we contact the training department for our local training needs, we should approach them as we would any other specialist and leverage their strengths and expertise.

Regional "managers-to-be." We normally look to the leaders in our district to make presentations, mentor our new hires or plan part of our next district meeting. By looking to leaders in other districts to help us in their areas of expertise, we add new perspectives to our team. This approach adds to their résumés, too.

Creative services. So often, managers try to create their own graphics for meetings or major projects. I have found that most corporate creative services departments have talented people to help you for a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself.

Part of being a great leader means drawing upon your personal strengths to influence or persuade others – this includes corporate resources. Here are a few tips:

•Â Recognize their programs that work.

•Â Make your successes visible.

•Â Present and apply ideas broadly (in terms of how they impact the entire organization).

•Â Select issues that are solvable.

•Â Show how you can help them meet their goals.

External vendors and resources

External resources can also help you manage your district.

Online resources. Going online can provide you with quick and convenient sources of quality information. Here are a few Web sites to get you started:

•Â For professional development, my favorite is the online Harvard Business Review. It provides a forum for management thought and practice authorities to discuss national and international issues.

•Â This site provides a catalog of business management magazines covering thousands of topics and issues.

•Â This site is an archive of thousands of newspapers, magazines and journals covering current industry headlines. You can also access services and buy online.

•Â The Wall Street Journal's online news and information subscription service provides links and resources ranging from books and magazine articles to breaking business reports.

•Â This site offers subscription and free services. The free services include expert commentary and opinions on major news events from leading analysts. The site can keep you up to speed with the latest in your industry, and features lists of business directories and more than 20,000 suppliers.

• This is an easy-to-use resource that takes you to relevant magazines and articles according to the keywords you enter. For example, type in "pharmaceutical industry management" or "respiratory research" and look at the wealth of information that comes from the click of a mouse.

Your personal travel office. When you are not using a corporate travel group for a national meeting, having your own local travel office (with your personal ticket agent) can have many perks. Local travel offices have additional upgrades, can make changes without the extra fees and basically treat you as an exception to the rule at their discretion. When they place a face behind a policy, it is amazing what they are able to do to make your travel easier.

Training vendors. Of course, I am biased, but I think that a training vendor who not only understands your corporate sales model, but also your local business issues, can greatly impact your business. Successful sales managers tell me this every day. When training vendors become partners in your business, it is in their best interest to help your people move market share.

Establish good relationships with vendors. Good things come from a shared understanding of the people involved in your success and how to fit in well with your way of doing business. External vendors can also contribute a fresh perspective and a variety of experiences that make each vendor you decide to do business with a creative and valuable resource.

Next steps

Taking the time to start utilizing these resources may be challenging. Often we think, "Oh, it will just be quicker to do it myself!" If we can devote a little time to setting up the systems and resources to help us, our jobs will be easier in the long run and our effectiveness will improve. Take a moment to decide how you will begin utilizing your internal and external resources.

Good ideas to help you manage and influence your district's business can come from any number of sources. Putting the pieces together to achieve success just takes a little creativity and some advance planning. PRMG

K.C. Warner is a market impact specialist who works with pharmaceutical sales training departments to increase market share and manage performance. She can be reached at Warner Development at (800) 845-6108 or via e-mail at

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