Raising the bar for ourselves, our industry

December 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

More than ever, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are beginning to pay closer attention to training.

More than ever, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are beginning to pay closer attention to training. In many cases, this is because senior management is becoming convinced that well-trained representatives and managers are critical to helping companies differentiate themselves in the marketplace and are a source of competitive advantage.

Our industry has always liked to compare its sales forces, whether by sales per representative, call productivity or any of the other Scott-Levin rankings. But in a business climate in which ethics have been a frequent talking point, one of the key competitive advantages that a sales force may provide is credibility for the corporation and the industry. And while trainers can't exactly teach people how to be honest and ethical 24/7, they can reinforce the industry line that supports the tenets of ethical conduct and above-board business behaviors.

For this reason, the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers supports the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association's release of its Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and encourages our members to follow these voluntary guidelines. As an industry, we must strive to elevate the roles that our salespeople play in the broader healthcare picture. As trainers, we're uniquely positioned to help these frontline representatives make a difference.

In the same vein, we at SPBT are striving to elevate the role of our own society inside the industry. While SPBT started out as little more than a social club 30-some years ago, it has grown to a 1,000-plus-member organization that spans the globe and offers an impressive portfolio of products and services. As we grow, SPBT is becoming more recognized as the number-one go-to organization for professionals specifically interested in pharmaceutical and biotech training.

Recently, this became clear when members of the media asked some of our leaders to share their insights about learning and development. This summer, Executive Director Brian Fagan and I were interviewed by Pharmaceutical Executive magazine for a feature on pharmaceutical training issues. I was also interviewed for the same magazine for a story on e-learning. And in the September issue of the audio newsletter, Selling Power Live, I was interviewed for a segment on how representatives can sell more effectively in the pharmaceutical industry.

All of these recent activities have been part of our effort to keep the society out in front. We believe the more that we educate our industry on the value of training and trainers, the better we're serving our members. We want to help our members champion the importance of learning and development to other influential groups. We want to help others understand the real impact we trainers can have on a company's business results - as well as each individual's day-to-day practices that help define our industry's commitment to integrity.

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