Category: Pharmaceutical Sales

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

 

The Post-Covid-19 Recovery Looks Promising, But Nothing is Automatic

 

As a motivational sales speaker, I keep hearing from my colleagues in sales all of the “happy news” about how great 2021 will be for sales professionals. On the surface, everything does look positive, but that’s when I start getting worried.

Joyce Chang, Chair of Global Research for J.P. Morgan, wrote on January 14, 2021, “2021 should bring stabilization and a reset for a number of disruptions experienced this year, with front-loaded market momentum and an economic recovery to follow.”

Who better to benefit from that recovery than the sales community? Ms. Chang also predicted that “the strongest global recovery in a decade will play out by the end of 2021 if the vaccine prospects play out as expected.”

Right this minute, at least four vaccines are showing excellent efficacy and the vaccinations nationwide are ahead of schedule. Does that mean sales people are free from challenges? Far from it. Let me take two of the highest-ticket consumer items, homes and cars, plus for balance in business, the computer software industry to illustrate an important point.

Nothing is Automatic 

On March 1, 2021, the Home Buying Institute reported, “Low mortgage rates and a pandemic-fueled desire for homeownership and space have increased demand within housing markets all across the country. At the same time, real estate listings and overall inventory levels have declined sharply.”

If you are in sales for any aspect of the residential industry, unless you are willing to have the mindset to deliver world-class customer service, expect stiff competition and a rough road ahead.

Bill Ross, Founder of Linchpin, an SEO and marketing organization, wrote this about car sales for 2021, “Automotive competition is intense. The concern is the peak demand for their product may have reached its potential. The decline in automotive sales is universal, with most European and American markets down nearly 5%.”

Everyone involved in automotive sales from new car sales to after-market understands 2021 will see many new regulations, a push for alternative fuel vehicles and the meteoric rise of online car sales. Do you know the rules, understand alternative technologies and can you compete against the threat of online car sales?

Finally, the Computing Technology Industry Association issued a comprehensive report at the end of 2020, as vaccines were starting to be administered, “As the industry emerges from a chaotic year, it will begin a rebuilding phase, but this rebuilding goes beyond restoration. There is little opportunity to return to the old way of doing things…this isn’t rebuilding to reclaim the past; this is rebuilding for the future.”

Do you have the vision to help the industry rebuild sales?

What Sets You Apart?

Whether you are in healthcare, landscaping, pharmaceutical, insurance or apparel sales, 2021 will have lots of potential but nothing will be the same as pre-pandemic. In order to compete, you must have the vision to see where your industry is going.  You must develop the mindset to be focused on success – whatever it takes, and the grit to see it through.

As a motivational sales speaker, I know that 2021 will be uncertain. None of us have gone this way before, but with vision, mindset and grit, this uncertain year could turn into the most successful year in your career. Let’s make it happen!

 

To book Scott Burrows motivational sales speaker, 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

 

When Everything is Changing, What Should Stay the Same?

 

If you perform any corporate sales function, I don’t have to tell you that in the pandemic everything has changed. As a former corporate sales person myself, I valued meeting face-to-face with my clients. That is currently not possible. Sales people have had to re-focus their strategies.

The Change Begins with You

If corporate sales teams are trying to understand how to manage change, their customers are in the same boat as well.

David Ash, senior vice president of FLMH, an agricultural sales and marketing firm, gave this advice to sales teams attempting to adjust to the changes brought about by COVID:

“Many people are frozen in place right now and don’t know what to do with themselves. But it’s important to get up every morning, create a plan, set goals and focus on how you can best serve your customers.”

This thought was echoed by FLMH executive vice president Mitch Van Kampen:

“We have to get creative about problem solving…it’s the salesperson’s business to be asking the right questions and finding proactive solutions.”

These solutions don’t come by magic, they require an intentional vision to develop strategy to implement that change. Sales consultant Tamara Schenk concluded the following regarding sales team management during periods of change.

  • You first need a shared vision of success across the organization.
  • You need a comprehensive change story, i.e., What we doing? Why are we doing it?
  • You need to have clarity in how those changes are to be accomplished.
  • Most importantly: The change you want to see in the organization begins with you.

Do you have the determination to see that change begins with you? Your sales team may have a good idea of what they want to accomplish, they may be clear on those goals, but unless they have the daily grit to get things done, managing change will be an impossible, uphill battle.

See Yourself as Successful

Tamara Schenk makes an important sales change observation:

The key for success is you being the example for the change you want to see in your organization. That means that you should be the first to use and apply the new methods, processes, tools, content assets, etc. You should be amongst the first to use new content, including the sharing functions, with your clients. If it’s about training or coaching, you should be the first one attending the class, even if it’s an online training.”

If you are employed in any corporate sales capacity during these times of rapid and unexpected changes, you must be determined to set an example, to leave your comfort zone and to be determined to lead. Remember that your customers need you.

Become better informed than anyone in your organization, learn as much as you can, coach as many people on your team as possible, and make yourself invaluable.

There will always be change, but what must remain is your vision and core values. For those with the mindset of winning, with the determination to make a difference and the desire to win, there will be rewards.

The pandemic is a major challenge, to be sure, but there will always be challenges. Those who rise to them will be winners. Be the winner that you are.

 

Scott Burrows, Corporate Sales Change Management Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today 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