Category: Pharmaceutical Conferences

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

 

Sweeping Changes Come to Healthcare in 2020: Is Your Practice Ready?

In my role as a healthcare change management speaker, I often speak about how the year 2020 foreshadows an acceleration of change to many group practices. I am particularly interested in the ACOs, or accountable care organizations.

In the strictest definition, “ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients.”

We all know it is much more than that. It reflects a commitment to greater synchronized care and avoidance of duplication of efforts. Ultimately the ACO reflects a determination to prevent medical errors.

In his look-ahead for the healthcare industry (“Top 10 Health Care Industry Predictions For The Year 2020”), Sachin Jain, Forbes magazine, May 2019, states: “The balance of power will begin to shift from hospital systems back to physician groups. All around the country, physician groups who face acquisition by hospital systems are looking for an alternative…within specific specialties, such as oncology and cardiology, private equity companies are beginning to roll up provider groups to drive performance, negotiate more favorable contracts, and leverage purchasing power.”

Naturally, the formation of ACOs, while ultimately enabling patients to receive high-quality care, are not without their challenges. Change brings new processes to the office along with new technologies. The use of contractors to create ACOs within practices is hardly done for free. The venture-backed companies demand a return on their investment in your practice as well.

The Broader Picture

The year ahead is obviously not about ACOs alone. We can all expect to see several other trends intensify this year. One important change is a continuing shift back to home-based care as an alternative to expensive hospital stays.

For example, Lauren Hardin, MSN, RN, writing for JAMA (August 13, 2019), talks of an expanded use of RNs, paramedics and EMTs to evaluate patients on an in-home demand-basis. Hardin illustrated this by offering an example in Louisiana:

“In Louisiana, for example, a new service…allows patients and their families to quickly request health care in their homes through the use of an app—much like an Uber app—that connects them to an on-demand network of nurses, EMTs, and paramedics. They also follow patients with complex health and social needs in their homes to prevent emergencies and hospitalizations.”

This shift, in turn, will force changes in the way responders are being reimbursed but overall the advantage is greater patient comfort and decreased anxiety. Overall, it lowers the burden on the medical system.

Experts also predict that in 2020, there will be an ever-greater interest on the part of the public to examine the behaviors of the healthcare industry. Certainly, the exposing of the practices in some of the more nefarious pricing behaviors of the pharmaceutical industry, plus the debates over the Affordable Care Act, clearly signaled a new era in healthcare consumerism.  There is a shift, though perhaps decades late, that is similar to the consumer shift from buyer beware to seller beware. Anyone who has ever used Amazon.com or Yelp.com will understand the new power of the consumer.

In 2020, it will take the determination of the healthcare industry to address the shifts in front of them and the vision to respond to the challenges. No organization, hospital or practice will be able to avoid the new trends. Those who have the daily grit to address the needed changes will be the major winners.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Motivational and Change Management Speaker for your next meeting, connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

So, Doctor, when is the Best Time?

In delivering motivational talks on helping pharmaceutical sales reps get better results, I know all too well the dreaded refrain that many sales reps hear: “I think the drug has strong possibilities, I just don’t think that now is the right time.”

Procrastination

Of all of the sales objections, procrastination is one of the most difficult to overcome. It is a conversation stopper and delayer. In fact, it can delay a sale indefinitely to “maybe” next month, next quarter, next year.  It is a way to express an objection without seeming to hurt your feelings. The intention is to have you leave the office thinking they are nice people. In truth, they’ve delayed your sale and weakened sales results. But why?

Sales performance writer Bryan Gonzalez, in his January 2019 article for HubSpot entitled “The 7 Most Common Sales Objections by Prospects & How to Overcome Them,” lists procrastination as one of the most cumbersome objections.

“Prospects are busy. They will push anything off to tomorrow because today is swamped. Don’t let them! You have a solution they needed yesterday. Reassure them that this is not a buying conversation. You just want to show them what you do, and see if there’s value for them.”

If you have made it into the office, be determined to provide valuable education without being overbearing. You are there to educate as to what the drug can do and how it will help their patients.

Laura Tobias wrote an article for the Lincoln Health Network entitled “Bringing Pharma Reps Back to the Top.”

One of the observations Tobias made was:

“Some medical schools have entire classes devoted to teaching students how to encounter sales reps – doctors are essentially taught how to say ‘no.’ They are also trained to tell patients not to take highly advertised drugs and to instead opt for something that is more effective, even if it’s less known…” If a sales rep calls on a practice with the same information, the same approach and a lack of interest as to the HCP’s needs, it should not be a surprise if procrastination and a lack of interest are the result.

Last year, Michael Kirsch MD wrote an article for KevinMD entitled “How Should Salespeople Sell to Doctors?” in which he gave an example as to why physicians are often put off by sales reps.

He wrote that his practice was called on by two pushy salespeople who focused on the dollars the practice could make rather than the patients that could be helped.

“Not once did either of them mention, even by accident (that they) might help a human being,” said Kirsch. “These guys were so clumsy and so transparent that they weren’t even adept enough to feign an interest in contributing to the health of liver patients.” The sales reps missed the point entirely.

Unless sales reps are determined to give health care providers a reason to not push them away, many HCPs will revert to their training and conditioning that tells them, in essence, “This sales rep lacks the vision to see my mission of helping patients and to be the best I can be in my practice.”

The HCP may be telling you they want to put off the decision, but what they may really mean is that you are lacking the grit to form a meaningful relationship and to provide them with the knowledge they need.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker on Getting Stronger Results for your next meeting reach us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

The Difference Between Noise and Knowledge is You

It is no secret that I admire the sales representatives who work in the pharmaceutical industry. As a motivational sales speaker for pharmaceutical conferences, it is my mission to assist all of you in helping to overcome the adversity you encounter every day.

A Hard Life, A Rewarding Life

The Princeton Review describes the life of a pharmaceutical sales rep in these terms:

“This territory-oriented business can be a hard life, particularly for those trying to maintain their family life as well. The need to sell extends to social functions and free time…This difficult balancing act is complicated by the additional pressure of being in a commission-based occupation.”

The description, as we all know, is just the beginning of the obstacles. Chances are, you will be on the road 100 or more days a year, you make at least 2,800 visits a year, and you are constantly “facing managed care rejections.” Then there is the public and professional perception of pharmaceutical companies that often extend to those of you just trying to do their jobs.

The data backs me up – no, it’s not your imagination. There was once a time when most health care providers were “rep accessible.” In 2008, a responsive provider might have been available 80 percent of the time – or more. By 2015, it had slipped to about 50 percent and two years later to just under 45 percent.

In my work as an inspirational sales speaker for pharmaceutical conferences, I know the importance of what you do. I have met you, understand you and value you. You bridge the huge gap between research and knowledge, better health and wellness, and often, between unawareness and awareness. You bring worth and you are appreciated. The appreciation must start with one important person, you.

You are the Difference Maker

The pharmaceutical sales rep working a territory, often with only a car radio and GPS as friends, are the true changemakers in a time of adversity for the pharmaceutical industry. Are you willing to overcome that adversity and add the value that you know you can bring?

How do you make a difference in the lives of people who need the product you represent? How can you carry the desire to make that difference into every healthcare setting and to every HCP you meet?

Do you have the vision to believe that what you do brings incredible value to the healthcare equation? You bring value, knowledge, experience and you make a true difference.

Do you have the mindset to overcome the adversity you encounter on a daily basis? It isn’t always easy, but with a mindset of understanding that what you do can ultimately bring a benefit to someone’s life, how can you not develop the mindset?

Finally, how determined are you to make the difference? If not you, then who? Determination, the grit within you to overcome the adversities you may encounter, is a skill you can learn.

I believe every pharmaceutical sales rep can make a true difference. Let me help prove it to you at your next conference.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Motivational Sales Speaker for Pharmaceutical Conferences through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169