Category: Pharmaceutical Conferences

The Pandemic Might Have Changed Pharma Sales Forever – What About You?

 

As a pharma sales motivational speaker with a long-standing interest in healthcare, I followed how the COVID-19 pandemic affected our industry. There were profound changes – and it was much more than “business as usual.” The question is: “What about you? Are you ready to change with the changes?”

We are Innovation Champions

How can we not be proud of our industry? Seriously. According to a report by Deloitte Consulting (March 30, 2021), in 2020 the FDA “approved a near-record 53 novel drugs—up from 48 the prior year. These innovative therapies…offer new treatment options for patients who suffer from a wide range of illnesses including cancer, spinal muscular atrophy, and hereditary angioedema.”

What a great testament to a great industry! As a pharmaceutical sales speaker, I am amazed at the dedication of everyone involved.

However, this is not a time to rest on our laurels, in fact, the pandemic has exposed serious flaws that everyone involved in sales and marketing must be determined to address.

Brian Corvino and Candy Lurken, principal authors of the report appropriately named “The pandemic didn’t hinder drug launches but it has altered sales tactics”, noted that limited market access, inadequate understanding of marketing needs and poor product differentiation as being “the top reasons the drugs don’t live up to initial expectations.”

It’s about Sales and Marketing

Indeed, the new drug launches have not lived up to sales expectations. Companies have “revised or scaled back” and market response has been lackluster. Everyone is in agreement that the industry has struggled to convey the important sales messages as communication tactics have changed.

The Deloitte research has shown that in 2020:

  • Clinicians are seeing fewer patients and writing fewer prescriptions
  • Reps and clinicians have gotten used to virtual meetings
  • Information is being delivered through new channels

We know that, unfortunately, many patients have suffered due to a reduction in insurance benefits, and some practices cut back on admin people. And while we had no choice but to meet virtually, there may be a permanent move to hybrid situations, and while information has largely been conveyed digitally, it must be differentiated. What are you offering that is above and beyond, that exceeds expectation? What support do you offer that is surprising and shows effort and outstanding customer service?

Why it Matters

If you are in any aspect of pharma sales and marketing, then you are also aware of a simple but important truth as expressed by Corvino and Lurken: The pandemic has not reduced the demand for drugs that address unmet needs.

What you do as a pharma sales rep matters, to companies, clinicians and ultimately to patients. The year 2020 may have altered many things, but it did not affect the need for what you are offering and who it will ultimately help.

To succeed in this post-pandemic world will require your mindset, vision and the daily grit to make a difference. The challenges have never been greater, but neither have the rewards. Are you ready to make a difference?

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Keynote Speaker for your next event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

What is The Winning Script for Writing More Scripts in 2021?

 

The landscape of pharma was radically altered by the pandemic…experts say that the industry will soon be taking stock of how it navigated the pandemic and what the sudden shifts in operations and regulations could mean in the long-term.” – Pharma Manufacturing, January 18, 2021

As a pharmaceutical keynote speaker, I know virtually every area of the industry will be undergoing changes this year including regulatory issues, manufacturing, storage and transport challenges, new vaccines, billing issues, a hybrid of teleconference and in-person presentations, and even controversial drug introductions. This is all in addition to major challenges for sales reps and their healthcare clients.

Collaboration and Teamwork Essential

As the industry projections for 2021 suggest, there will be a lot of “taking stock” this year. The landscape of pharma has been radically altered. With all of the changes and turbulence, teamwork will be more essential than ever. In my virtual pharma motivational sales presentations during 2020 and now, hopefully live and in-person, I stress that the winning script for writing more scripts distills down to three important points: Vision, Mindset and Grit. These points not only apply to the individual, but to the team, and the inter-dependence of teams.

Vision – Market research firm LSA Global conducted a study on the power of companies and teams that come together with a shared mission statement and found that they grew revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable while significantly outperforming their unaligned peers. I might add that the study was based on 410 companies. Alignment is another way of saying that teams have a common goal in working together, sharing information, committing to the highest levels of customer service, and essentially driving the sales process. It is a realization that the sum total of efforts, more important now than ever, will yield positive results.

Mindset – Business and sales performance writer Vivienne Dutton offered the top ways to develop a success-oriented mindset. Among the more important points for the creation of a strong team?  Promote problem solving; discuss ongoing challenges; encourage the sales process; endorse a culture of group development over individual genius; and most important, don’t just talk about a mindset, embrace it. Mindset can be very powerful if it is harnessed and put into action. It can also be just a collection of words unless teams truly come together.

Grit – Grit is having resilience and the strength of character to not give up or give in to the obstacles that stand in our way. For everyone involved in pharma sales last year, the concept of grit became ingrained into their thinking. As we go forward in 2021 and we encounter much change, unless teams and entire organizations have the grit to maintain vision and mindset, there will be little or no progress in the year ahead.

Ultimately, it all adds up to determination. Every sales rep of every sales team must have the determination to approach 2021 with vision, mindset and grit. There can’t be shortcuts because the stakes are too high to believe this year will be business as usual. If we are determined, this has the potential to rebound to being the best year ever.

 

 

To book Pharmaceutical Speaker Scott Burrows, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Healthcare Employee Burnout Doesn’t Cure Itself

 

As a healthcare motivational speaker, I know the healthcare industry is going through one of the most difficult periods of low morale in decades. It is not just the pandemic, but a changing landscape that includes ever-changing insurance reimbursement issues, new software and systems, coding challenges, compensation issues, employee turnover and understaffing.

Added to all of this are the daily tests many of us encounter before we even get to work. COVID has forced our kids to learn remotely; we can’t easily travel; vacations are limited; our spouses fear lay-offs; and even the simple joy of going to our favorite restaurants has been affected.

Nowhere to Decompress

When we get to work, be it an office, clinic or hospital, unless we have the opportunity to sort through all of the psychological and physical challenges, burnout becomes a major problem. Ultimately, patient care suffers, with minor to catastrophic outcomes. It is the one result no one wants.

In a September 2020 article by Practice Builders entitled “How to Improve Staff Morale in the Hospital,” the writers raise four important points in regard to improving staff morale: Practice Effective Communication, Respect Employee Opinions, Appreciate Employee Efforts, and Empathize with Staff.

While I would not disagree with any of these strategies for improving morale and inspiring employees, there are important “drivers” to make sure that morale is addressed and not just talked about in the break room.

Are You Determined?

If healthcare organizations want to improve morale, the entire organization must have a focused mindset to do it. This mindset is not just from the top-down, but the bottom-up. While it’s true that effective communication is important for any healthcare team, let’s not forget that individuals make up the team. It is up to everyone to develop a mindset to enable communication.

This leads me to determination. If, as the article suggests, the pathway to improving morale and open communication includes mutual respect, appreciation and empathy, we must be determined to do it.

If a team member is hurting, we should be determined to raise that person up. If a team member is disrespected (and that can cover a wide range of unacceptable behaviors), every other member on staff must be determined to understand the problem and correct it. If someone is going through a rough time, the team must be determined to help that team member.

Having the mindset to improve morale and being determined to communicate, respect, appreciate and empathize are merely intentions unless there is the daily grit to see it through. Without grit, the best of intentions to improve morale and inspire others remain the best of intentions.

There is no worse morale killer than a failure of the healthcare organization to see a program through, and to let it fall by the wayside. If we are all determined to bring about an improvement, to show everyone greater respect and appreciation and to empathize with one another, but we neglect the grit to make sure those things happen on a daily basis, then morale will only worsen.

To truly inspire one another, we must be individually determined to make a difference in our life and in the lives of everyone around us.

 

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Keynote Speaker for in-person and virtual meetings. You can reach Scott through this website or call: (520) 548-1169

Staying at Home Doesn’t Mean Stuck at Home

 

In my work as a motivational pharmaceutical sales speaker, one of the most often asked questions I hear these days is, “With all of this social distancing stuff, I’m stuck at home. How can I do my job?”

The answer is that the challenge isn’t one of distance, but of mindset.

Limiting Contact, Not Determination

We are in an unusual time, between vaccine availability and rising cases. Chances are your company is asking you to stay home. As well, many healthcare providers are not only overworked, they want to limit outside contacts.

The temporary new normal turns pharma sales into a major challenge especially if you are selling a new drug and need to provide samples, demonstrate, educate or provide safety information. If things were not tough enough, we all know that patients are fearful of office visits and have cut back on them. This affects prescriptions.

Pharmaceutical industry writer Jessica Merrill commenting on the impact of social distancing on sales stated (November 13, 2020) that:

“The impact of curbing sales reps and medical liaison interactions could be felt more heavily for drugs that rely on hospital-based physicians…many hospitals are limiting access, restricting the ability of company reps to enter the facilities. Primary care physicians too are fielding increased calls from concerned patients.” The sense of urgency to see patients has lessened as, obviously, are educational dinners, trade shows and the like.

If you are allowing tough times to discourage you, it is time to reset your thinking.

Drugs are still being launched. Education is still critical. Your competition is still out there. Are you determined to sell in tough times? Do you have the daily grit to see it through?

When One Road is Blocked, Find Another

Jessica Merrill talked about “Short-Term Triage, Long-Term Impact,” and she is correct. What you do now will impact on your success in the months and years to come. It is a matter of developing a vision of success.

Now, and certainly for the foreseeable future, most sales reps will have to rely on the virtual and digital space to communicate. According to industry statistics, during “normal times,” about 50 percent of the time healthcare providers are receptive to sales calls. However, in these times only 10 percent will open a sales email. That’s quite a drop. How do you get around it?

The key is creativity. Find more engaging approaches to communicate. Out-hustle the competition through committed customer support. Work at show-casing your products in a fresher way or with a more research-based approach or a more interactive method. The point is to be determined to set your company apart and above.

Keep in mind that virtual communication is largely in its infancy. We are on the verge of change. What is necessary now may become an accepted and permanent change in the years ahead.

The pharmaceutical industry has been looking for ways to lower costs and reach more customers for years. A mixture of innovative digital approaches combined with in-person calls could move the industry needle toward greater efficiency and impact.

Through vision, determination and the daily grit to rise above the obstacles that confront us, you and your sales team may well change the sales model forever. Staying at home doesn’t mean stuck at home, it means seeing possibilities from no matter where you sit.

 

Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Motivational Keynote Speaker is booking appointments for in-person and virtual meetings and events. Contact Scott today through this website today or call: (520) 548-1169

The Most Important Member of Your Sales Team? Hint: It Isn’t You.

 

As a virtual sales team motivational speaker, I know how tough its been in what I call “The Time of COVID.” The good news is that for the most part, business has adapted.

McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm, has found that during these times, 96 percent of B2B sales teams have shifted to remote selling, and 65 percent of company decision makers feel remote selling is more efficient for them than ever before. In fact, many companies now prefer remote selling rather than in-person sales calls.

Who Thrives, Who Fails?

Whether remote selling will become a way of life, will go away completely after vaccines and such, or somewhere in the middle, those who make the sale must be determined to succeed. Now, more than ever, sales teams must have a unified vision to be successful. As to my question about the most important member of the virtual sales team? It is no one. There is no single person, it is all of you. In these challenging times, sales teams rise or fall together.

How do we rise to the occasion? I have identified at least five key factors:

  • Coordination – Without constant interaction and communication among the entire team, there can be no success. While all of us who grew up in sales are familiar with the old expression of “There is no ‘I’ in team,” during the time of COVID it has never been more important. Each member of the sales team must be determined to reach out and network with one another.
  • Knowledge is Power – The more teams know, and the more they are trained and given the materials to expand their knowledge, the more successful the team will become. Everyone must go the extra mile to help one another, to find information and features valuable to their product or service to help them make the sale. Team members who withhold information can bring down the entire team. Everyone must embrace the vision of working together,
  • What are our objectives? If we can’t get together on a plan and reaching our pre-determined objectives, then we are walking around in the dark. Accountability is a mindset. Everyone on the team must be accountable during tough times. What are your objectives to ensure success?
  • Make the meeting. The virtual sales team is a “we” proposition where we share, strategize and assist one another. Scheduled meetings must be respected. Unless there is a major virtual presentation taking place where a team member cannot appear, there can be no excuse for missing a team meeting. The meeting is where we build each other up, fight for objectives and stick to the plan.
  • Grit. Nothing will happen unless the sales team has the grit to get it done. Grit is not an on-again, off-again proposition. Grit is “the contract” that says we will have good days and bad, but we will push each other and celebrate one another day-in and day out. Grit is a commitment to excellent.

We are the sales team, and the sales team is us. Virtual or in-person, we will succeed if we have the vision, determination and mindset to succeed.

 

Scott Burrows, Virtual Sales Team Motivational Speaker is available for virtual sales meetings  and events for companies and associations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Medical Device Sales Customers Need You, Are You Determined toSee’ Them?

 

How is your Medical Device Sales team managing change in these times of COVID-19? Are you succeeding or have you given up? Your customers need you more than ever, are you determined to see them? Or have you written them off?

“But I can’t ‘see’ them Scott, everything has changed.”

Have things really changed, or has your selling mindset changed? It is serious question every pharmaceutical salesperson can only answer for one person: themselves.

Change Does Not Mean Defeat

We are living in a time of change and upheaval. But as a pharmaceutical sales professional, you need to harness the negatives into positives. There is no choice. Do you have vision to see yourself succeed? If not, then why not?

Not long ago, inc. magazine published an insightful article entitled: “7 Reasons Sales Pros Fail.” You might be surprised at the observations; they aren’t reasons wrapped in technical jargon or mystery. The author found that failing sales people have no sense of urgency; they possess a negative attitude; have a poor work ethic and most disturbing, they don’t believe in themselves.

The pandemic, being forced to sell remotely or socially-distanced, is not the first-time Medical Device sales teams have faced adversity. The industry has succeeded during The Great Depression, worldwide conflicts, recessions, inflation, mergers, acquisitions, new technologies, natural disasters, man-made disasters and other tragedies.

If sales teams are fearful of their abilities, lack confidence, are disorganized or have negative attitudes, why would a purchasing agent, administrator, healthcare professional or office manager have confidence in the product or those behind it?

Change is hard and times are tough, but they are even tougher on your customers. They need you. Have that sense of urgency and all of the customer service that goes with it; out-hustle the competition; make a positive work ethic your daily mission; and believe in yourself.

Congratulate Yourself

No matter how defeated you may feel at the moment, congratulate yourself. Failure is a part of making progress. Failure means you haven’t given up.

Before my accident, I was a competitive martial artist and Division-I football player. I measured my progress not by wins and losses (that was later) but how my conditioning, speed, strength, reflexes and mental toughness were improving.

I did not win in the ring or will myself out of a hospital bed because I am super-human, but I had a vision of getting better every day, and I had the determination to succeed and the daily grit to see it through.

In this time of COVID-19, your customers need all of the support they can get. Go the extra mile to give them information beyond what they can read online. Be creative in how you reach out and meet their needs. They need you. Be there for them.

Engage your customers with all of the technology at your disposal and keep in mind that out-hustling the competition will pay dividends.

Change brings good times and bad to the Medical Device industry. The most successful salespeople are change-proof. And remember that with hard work, whatever you lack, you can gain.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, International Medical Device Sales Speaker on Managing Change, for a virtual or in-person sales meeting, contact us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

The Biggest Healthcare Challenges Are Found in Us

 

It is impossible to say how many times I’ve delivered keynote speeches on Healthcare Challenges when an audience member might ask, “Scott, have you ever seen a greater healthcare challenge than the one we face?” Invariably, they are referring to a specific disease or a set of government regulations.

While I’m as concerned as anyone else about a disease outbreak or a set of government regulations, those issues are transient and they will get solved. What is often the bane of a healthcare system are those who lack vision, the determination to correct problems and the grit to pull together each day, every day.

A Quick Review of Longstanding Challenges

To illustrate the point above, I will review the major healthcare challenges as outlined by three top-notch organizations. Managed Healthcare Executive magazine lists those challenges as: the need for costs and transparency; improving consumer experience; delivery system transformation; data and analysis; consumer data access; and holistic individual health. Healthcare Success lists the challenges as: changing consumer behaviors; HIPAA marketing limitations; underinvestment in the healthcare market; reviews of doctors from online sources; and the overall product. Finally, Becker’s Hospital Review lists: controlling hospital costs; healthcare regulatory challenges; medical and technological advancement challenges; training and education challenges; and ethical challenges.

When comparisons are made with these and many other sources I gathered, what strikes me are the similarities. In fact, each list of challenges can be easily condensed to five or six common items.

Those with vision should anticipate the need for transparency, changing consumer patterns, and training and education. Those who are determined to overcome healthcare challenges will get ahead of healthcare regulatory challenges, HIPAA marketing limitations, and streamlining data and analysis. Healthcare professionals who develop the grit to overcome what is ahead will confront ethical challenges, improving the overall product and improving customer service.

Nothing that Can’t Be Accomplished

When I was recovering from my terrible accident, relatives, friends, teammates and hospital staff routinely visited or offered care. I was grateful for every one of them. However, I quickly learned that their opinions ranged from “Scott, don’t expect too much” to “Scott, you’ll be playing professional football before you know it.”

I realized that opinions, no matter how well meaning, were external to my situation. It was in rehab where I developed my philosophy of vision, determination and grit. I bring up this point as illustration of the larger healthcare challenges our industry faces.

We can all opine at industry meetings about continuing staff training and educational challenges, or how marketing will be increasingly affected by HIPAA issues. But there must be a plan in place whether a large clinic, pharmaceutical company or major teaching hospital. More specifically, the plan must include a vision as to how the challenges will be met, a determined effort to implement every step to overcome those challenges, and the grit to get it done.

I recovered beyond expectations not because I am special, but because I realized to overcome challenges, we must strive to be exceptional. Healthcare’s biggest challenges are in us, but you would be amazed just how good we can be.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Healthcare Change Management Speaker for your next industry meeting contact us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

“Looking Around” is Not the Same Thing as Having Vision

 

In my role as a keynote speaker on pharmaceutical sales and change management, I am often surprised by the answers I receive when I ask a group of sales reps, “What is your vision?”  The answer I most frequently hear is “I am looking for any opportunity I can grab.” It’s the wrong answer. In fact, given the current changes in the pharmaceutical industry, to not understand vision is disastrous.

Sales expert David Jacoby writing for The Sales Readiness Blog states:

“A sales vision must also be challenging, something that is above and beyond the normal expectations. It should also be attainable, that is, realistic enough to be achievable if you and your team stretch a bit. Your sales vision should also specify some positive change that you are committed to realize through concerted effort with your sales team…”

Jacoby is correct. We can all “look around for opportunities,” but pharmaceutical sales teams must develop a set of specific, achievable goals. It takes a razor-sharp vision, with the entire team devoted to success.

The Harvard Business Review, in an article entitled “Ineffective Sales Leaders Can Cause Lasting Damage,” vision is seen as an important aspect of success, especially when there is a change in leadership or sales structure.

HBR said it is important for sales teams to: “Create a fresh vision, reflecting a culture in which salespeople trusted their leaders and in which all salespeople were held accountable for results, and to Communicate the vision using every opportunity, including sales meetings, videoconferences, and the company’s intranet.”

Let’s Get Personal

When it comes to pharmaceutical sales, especially in these times of rapid industry change, it is important to realize that the team is us. It is up to each sales rep to have the determination to be successful and the mindset to carry it out. Vision is more important than ever. Do you have a personal vision statement?

The job seekers website Indeed.com had some important things to say about the importance of writing a personal vision statement (October 7, 2019). In an industry going through regulatory changes, mergers, acquisitions and increased scrutiny, to not write a personal vision statement is foolhardy.

To quote from the Indeed.com article:

“Review it [your personal vision statement] every day. Write your statement on an index card, and keep it in a prominent place you can see it often. If you work in an office, it could be on your desk. Alternatively, you may choose to display the card somewhere at home so you see it when you get up in the morning or do work tasks from home…Choose your next step based on what role gets you closer to your goal…”

The vision statement may change but what doesn’t change is the constancy of having one. If you have the grit to stick to your vision and embrace a set of success goals, no matter how challenging the times, you are well ahead of those who are “just looking around.”

 

 

Hire Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker for your next industry meeting. Connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

The 2020 Changes are Here, Are You Ready?

As I frequently speak to groups in the pharmaceutical industry about the sales and marketing outlook for 2020 and beyond, a question I frequently ask attendees is if they have the determination to meet the challenges and the vision to see themselves as being successful. On top of those two factors, I ask are they willing to have the daily grit to reach their goals?

2020 Will Not Be Easy

The pharmaceutical industry is changing. Despite the fact that the economy is strong, some of the projected 2020 changes that pharmaceutical sales and marketing people will face must be fully understood but more than that, included in every organizational plan.

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwC Global) recently released their outlook for the future of the industry. I would like to paraphrase or quote a number of important points, then view them in light of determination, vision and grit.

  • The experts warn that sales forces will be smaller, “agile,” and smarter. With that, “Companies will need to demonstrate that their brand adds value to patients and they will have to offer a package of products and health services that the market not only wants and needs but is willing to pay a premium for.”
  • “Healthcare policy makers and payers are increasingly mandating what doctors can prescribe.”
  • We can expect that government agencies around the world will expand their focus on disease prevention, with less focus on treatment.
  • We must acknowledge the “interdependence of the payer, provider and pharmaceutical value chains,” and to that end adopt more flexible pricing models, invest in medicines the market truly needs, and offer greater support services.
  • “Create cultures that are suitable for marketing specialist healthcare packages.”

These trends will “encourage” marketing and sales reps to become more knowledge-based, more professional and much more proactive in pushing for true innovation and value.

Business as Usual? Hardly.

European-based BlueNovius B.V., a healthcare education service, recently reviewed the many reasons why PCPs are now refusing to see pharmaceutical sales and marketing people. We have to understand that on an annual average, the average PCP is inundated with about 2,800 inquiries for presentations. It has been estimated that about 80 percent of the time PCPs can find what they need by going on-line. They feel no need to return to the traditional way of doing things.

Relating to the points that PwC addressed above, it is obvious that even with brands that truly add value, if the sales or marketing representative is not determined to make a difference, the most innovative products can fail.

States BlueNovius B.V., “The most effective way of ensuring your sales reps go through physicians’ doors is by offering physicians exactly what they need, instead of bombarding them with canned presentations offering the same data that they’re already aware about.”

Unless marketers and sales representatives offer real knowledge, greater support services and bring a culture of partnership rather than hype, the outcomes for the most promising of products could be lackluster.

Within that framework, who are you? Is your vision one of failure or success, and do you have the grit to ensure that you will make a difference?

 

To contact Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Motivational & Marketing Speaker, contact his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169