When facing large scale budgetary decisions for their commercial operations, most top executives rely on carrying forward what was historically considered important and on fresh input from their managers.
This might be a recipe for failure in today’s rapidly evolving market place, where traditional sales methods are quickly made obsolete by the emergence of multi-channel strategies and where middle managers may be disconnected from the ever-changing reality of the field.
Are You Seeing the Whole Picture?
When allocating budget, there are several questions that need to be answered if you really want to help your sales force to excel and to be motivated to meet sales targets. If you rely on middle management reports are you seeing the whole picture?
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, do the sales force’s perceptions in turn match what their customers perceive? Is there something physicians think would add credibility to the company’s approach and product acceptance? Do they think your company uses resources wisely, and is this all reflected in the sales figures?
There May Well Be Disconnects — Mirror Audits Reveal Wasted Resources
If you rely only on traditional KPI’s, HR surveys, or information filtered by your middle managers, you probably need more comprehensive and accurate metrics to make the proper operational choices. As shown in the following case study, this is where Mirror Audits can provide answers.
A CASE STUDY
In the following case study, a pharma company wanted to assess whether the various resources they were deploying in their medical promotions were useful or not. The objective was to find areas in the budget to cut without comprising sales or affecting the relationship with their customers.
The method consists of using first a classic “importance vs performance matrix”. By plotting on the (x) axis the importance of each resource for the physicians and on the (y) axis how well physicians think the company performs with each, we are able to determine the key-strengths and identify the top weaknesses of the company’s commercial operation, as well as wasted resources.
In the chart below (fig. 1), according to the physicians, CD ROMS can be eliminated and congressional booths and traditional ads in the print media reduced. On the other hand, main company weaknesses include poor reps knowledge, insufficient visibility at international congresses, and lack of educational material offered to patients.
Figure 1: Physicians’ opinions on the way the company uses promotional resources
To deepen the approach, a similar mirror survey can then be conducted with the sales reps (fig.2), which gives them the opportunity to establish how they themselves gauge the impact of each of the resources vs how well they believe the company performs.
Once again in the example below, reps also confirm that the product CD ROMS are a waste and that ads in the print media can be reduced, but they also add webinars and virtual visits to the list of items that they consider a waste of company money.
Figure 2: Sales reps’ opinions on the way the company uses promotional resources
Mirror Analysis Produces Further Key Insights
By superimposing both graphs (fig. 3), further insights appear and help decide whether or not you should continue investing these millions the same old way…
Figure 3: Mirror Analysis Physicians’ vs Sales Reps’ opinions
Several conclusions can be drawn from this exercise:
First, the perception by the sales reps that virtual visits and webinars are a waste does not match up with physicians, who place them among the company’s top weaknesses. This is typical of a traditional sales force that feels threatened by multi-channel strategies. This company should invest in webinars and virtual visits but needs to communicate a lot with reps and middle managers on why they do so, at the risk of seeing the sales team boycotting the effort and making it fail.
Secondly, the reps have several misconceptions of what they feel is important to the physicians and how the company is performing. In fact, reps believe that scientific publications are only “nice to have” and that round tables and booths at congresses are important, whereas physicians state the exact opposite.
Reps also complain that they don’t have enough samples, whereas physicians feel that compared with the competition the sample quantities are adequate. On the other hand, physicians believe that the knowledge of reps is not as complete as they would want, while the reps state exactly the opposite and overestimate their knowledge level.
As a result of this mirror analysis, we would recommend discontinuing product CD ROMs, drastically reducing the commercial presence at congresses (saving millions in booth cost and reps presence), while increasing scientific publications and reps knowledge. Specialized MSL supports need to be recruited and can leverage webinars and virtual visits to reach a maximum number of physicians.
Another significant area of savings is the product samples. Contrary to what reps believe, sampling does not need to be increased and can even be reduced if reps become more product savvy, resulting again in millions saved.
Mirror analysis highlights the areas where budget should be allocated in priority–or cut!
However, explanations of such changes need to communicated to the sales force and focus placed on increased corporate communication and training, so that each sales team member becomes an “advocate of change.”
For more information on how we can assist you reshaping your operational resources, resulting in significant savings and maximized opportunities, please call or contact:
|Henry Gazay, CEO Medimix International
Direct Line: + 1 973 845 4378
||Kathryn McAdam, Dir BD North America
Direct Line: +1 786-363-4602