Sales training means nothing if it doesn’t impact the entire organization
In last week’s blog post (How can training save pharmaceutical sales reps from becoming a statistic?), Dan Becker discussed the importance of account management skills and the practicality of applying sales training in regional territories.  These skills and their application are absolute requirements in the new pharma sales model, but the method of delivering these trainings through learning technologies can also yield a variety of benefits across the organization.  Some of these benefits include:
·         Communicating the personal benefits of training to each learner
·         Allowing  for a user defined curriculum
·         Effectively utilizing time and resources (e.g. limit time away from territories)
·         Keeping a watchful eye on the industry to continually maintain relevancy
·         Closing the loop with customers, sales reps, sales training, and marketing to continually improve content and the bottom line

Impactful sales training is adaptable
Pharma is headed towards customized training paths for sales representatives based on independent skill and competency level.  Emphasis is shifting toward self-driven progression, discussion and feedback based learning, and local mentoring.  Customized learning paths can be supported through technology systems like Learning Management Systems (LMS), virtual classrooms, and e-learning modules for a better return on investment while minimizing time away from territories.  However, the days of live training are not gone completely, but evolving to include digital access for distance learners – see FOCUS magazine article on Astellas’ “Project Live” learning environment.

The best (and worst) reps provide the most insight
As an added benefit, learning technologies can do much more than provide content accessibility to learners – utilization of courses and content can be measured to provide feedback to the Learning & Development team.  Utilization analytics provide insight into what clinical knowledge and business skills the most successful sales representatives value for their territories.  Understanding what clinical knowledge, business skills, and marketplace courses are most impactful can help training teams continue to identify the best content and delivery formats for their reps.  This feedback mechanism provides sales representatives with the ability to express their changing needs and allows the Learning & Development team to respond with curricula that nimbly adapts as the marketplace evolves.

Sales training analytics are an under-utilized asset of Marketing
Training content utilization information, coupled with iPad sales aid analytics, can close the loop between sales representatives, customers, and pharma Marketing teams — allowing for quicker identification of effective and ineffective messaging.  Marrying these insights closes the loop with customers and can be used to continually improve content.  This under-utilized asset can provide Marketing with a watchful eye on the industry to maintain messaging relevancy.  

Learning technologies can only be fully leveraged through leadership commitment to continuous improvement
For learning technologies and analytics to be most effective, key performance indicators and accountability must be established.  Learning & Development and Marketing teams must be accountable for proactively providing new and relevant content, while Regional Sales Managers must emphasize a commitment to learning and implementation of skills at the local level.  To maintain continuous improvement throughout the organization, a commitment from commercial leadership and a willingness to establish a corrective course of action based on key performance metrics is mandatory.

Is your organization continuously improving training, technologies, and/or analytics? Let us know your thoughts! Leave a comment.

Capgemini Consulting Life Sciences Blog Editors: Joe Medel and Jeremy Golan