Your goal is to be on the same page – to achieve and sustain true business alignment. However, it’s common for pharmaceutical sales organizations to roll out strategic and thoughtful initiatives that get off course soon after they are launched. Without team alignment, you’ll immediately start to see frustration and conflict between sales teams that need each other, and flatlined results for your organization.
The truth is: During times of change, it’s easy for sales teams to revert back to what has worked for them in the past. That’s why defining and agreeing on behavioral expectations for all stakeholders and ensuring that those behaviors are consistently demonstrated is critical to your team’s success.
What Does True Pharma Sales Force Alignment Look Like?
One of our clients made an insightful parallel between whitewater rafting and team alignment. He explained that when there is alignment, “It feels like everyone in the boat is on the same team, listening for commands from the guide, extremely focused, and rowing in the same direction. It’s exhilarating and rewarding.”
Building alignment among operating groups and enhancing business performance looks a lot like whitewater rafting. Go figure! Every individual has an important role, including the rafting guide. In a business situation, senior sales leaders set the direction, communicate, and reinforce the team for moving in the same direction and getting results.
5 Pharma Sales Force Best Practices
To keep your team members aligned and focused during times of change, adopt these five best practices:
- Simplify. Create a clear vision and define the priorities (e.g., increase sales, improve customer experience, etc.).
- Get Visual. Map out the objectives and corresponding sales team behaviors. This visual guide will help your team transition from current practices to the new desired performance needed to get results .
- Data. Set goals and evaluate the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on an ongoing basis. Share real-time behavioral data and analysis with all groups within your organization, and get people talking. Reinforce alignment at every turn.
- Communicate. It’s how you get on the same page – and stay there! This is critical, starting with leader alignment from the top of your sales organization down through the boots on the ground.
- Guide. Like the whitewater rafting guide, pharma sales leaders and managers must be diligent coaches, touching base with their teams on a regular basis.
When coaching, be ready to have those tough conversations with your sales force. It’s important to ask why sales targets are not being met and what challenges your team is encountering, and to offer help removing barriers.
Alignment = Results
The primary goal is to encourage collaboration across operating units and sales teams. With these five best practices, your pharmaceutical sales organization can dramatically increase results in a short period of time. Once alignment is achieved, you will be able to move on to other priorities, as well as quickly and effectively roll out new product launches, and more.
No one wants to watch their programs and initiatives struggle, but we often see pharma sales groups hitting the reset button year after year. If the system is broken and alignment seems like a fantasy, it’s time for your sales organization to take a hard look at its business alignment landscape. Think whitewater rafting. Embracing and adopting an integrated alignment strategy could be the key to transforming your sales force and surpassing sales targets in the future.
Ready to discover more about sales force alignment and the critical steps necessary to transforming your pharmaceutical sales organization? Download 4 Critical Steps To Becoming a High-Performing Pharmaceutical Sales Organization.