EDITORIAL: Target Vs. Training | Anup Soans, Editor
Pharma companies are great at setting ambitious sales targets but not so greatwhen it comes to training people who are responsible for achieving those targets.
the only tool you have is ahammer, every problem looks likea nail.”
Corollary: if pressure on peopleis the only strategy you haveto achieve sales target, thenstress and attrition are the onlypermanent outcomes your salesteam will produce.Pharma companies are great insetting ambitious sales targetsbut not so great when it comesto training people who areresponsible for achieving thosetargets.I recently met the VP Sales of awell established company witha good mix of me-too and nicheproducts in global markets. Theyhad an enviable track record ofover 25 years and a turnover ofnearly Rs. 1000 crores. They hadrecently entered the domesticmarket and wanted to know how
their eld force could be trained
to work in a professional manner.They wanted to replicate whatthey had done in the internationalmarkets. After discussions forover an hour, I had an uneasyfeeling that this meeting was notgoing to make much headway.Reason? They had set veryaggressive sales targets but verylittle resources were allocated to
train and develop their eld force.
Most companies in the IndianPharma Market set veryaggressive sales targets, whichis good in itself. But it must bebacked by aggressive trainingand development programs that
build skills and condence of theeld force.
The power of training can beillustrated vividly through theterrorist attack on Mumbai in2008. Ten well-trained and highlymotivated terrorists held thecity to ransom as they struckat will killing policemen andcivilians. There were over 30,000policemen in Mumbai when theattack occurred. There was littlethey could do to take back thecity, except cordon off the areasunder attack. In contrast the NSGcommandos took the task head-on and completed their missionsuccessfully.The main difference betweenthe Mumbai police and the NSGcommandos is the importancethey give to training andpreparedness. Many of the
policemen had not red a single
round of ammunition for years. Incontrast, NSG commandos aretrained intensely and regularlyin all areas of professionalcompetence.The difference in performanceis the result of difference intraining. Tougher the task,greater the need for training. The
Indian Pharma Market is ercely
competitive – too many MRschasing too few CORE doctors!Aggressive sales targets must bematched by aggressive traininginterventions.For most companies, producttraining takes the front-seat andit becomes an exercise in ‘what’knowledge rather than ‘how’knowledge and ‘why’ knowledge.
It is a ll-the-bucket approach
that dumps information inelephant doses, which is rarelyeffective.What is useful is a demonstrationof how knowledge can makedifference to improvingperformance. For this, the initialclassroom training must be
followed up on the eld regularly
by the FLM and SLM – this rarelyhappens. As a result behaviourremains same and the haplessFLM transfers the pressure witha force multiplier to MRs. Theonly people who gain from thisapproach are the hundreds ofplacement agencies that havemushroomed to enable pharmacompanies put feet-on-street asquickly as possible.The current industry trendis to hire ONLY experiencedcandidates. The assumptionbeing that they have the rightexperience and are likely to stayfor at least a year given thatthey are offered a reasonableincrease, which is not easy tomatch. This will compound thepipeline problems as salespeoplewill become scarcer few yearsdown the line. To address theseissues,
will beconducting the second FieldForce Excellence (FFE 2013)conference on June 8th atMumbai.At FFE 2013, CEOs and seniormanagers of Indian Pharma willgather for a day’s deliberations toexplore new ways of enhancingField Force Productivity. Toknow more about how you can
benet from FFE 2013, write to
5x1015202530353540455055yDate: Saturday, 8th June 2013
Theme: FIELD FORCE PRODUCTIVITY
Place: Courtyard Marriott, Mumbai