5 Critical Lessons in Change Leadership That Will Positively Impact Pharmaceutical Sales Results

Dec 7, 2017 8:50:00 AM / by Kim Huggins

lightbulbs-to-represent-bright-ideas-in-change.jpgChange leadership is critical to your pharmaceutical sales results because of the acceleration of change in today’s pharmaceutical sales organizations. Change has evolved over the years from leaders just managing the change to leaders needing a full set of change skills and capabilities.

Change is no longer an event; it is a constant for organizations, and pharmaceutical sales representatives are looking to their leaders to help them navigate the flurry of change and to understand how to harness it to produce profitable performance.

In today’s environment, companies are heavily engaged with multiple, constant, concurrent and rapid changes impacting their pharmaceutical sales force.

Simplify Your Approach

Change can be difficult to focus on and lead due to competing initiatives. Organizations overwhelmed with helpful methodologies often end up unnecessarily consuming resources and time.

Simplifying and streamlining your change leadership approach includes several core elements. A combination of these well-executed elements can give your pharmaceutical sales organization more assurance that your change efforts are going to have the impact that you intend them to have. Building change agility into an organization is vital.

Change efforts that are overly complex produce mixed results. However, change leadership that is efficiently structured and focuses on these five lessons will be more likely to produce the desired results for your pharma sales organization:

Lesson 1: Align Leaders

Continuous alignment is critical to any change project, but with so much happening in your organization, it’s easy to watch alignment of leadership diminish over time as other priorities come forward and get caught up in their own deliverables and accountabilities. Finding ways to continue to check on and work toward alignment throughout the course of the change initiative is essential.

Change leadership skills such as constant prioritization, clear direction to your pharma sales team, assessing for change overload, and removing obstacles are elements that leaders must demonstrate throughout the change process.

Lesson 2: Focus On Behavior

Help your employees want to change. By pinpointing what people need to do differently, leadership can ask for behaviors and then reinforce those behaviors to improve business performance. Deploy the essential tools to get people doing the right things.

An approach to change happens when people start doing things differently or stop doing things that have not been effective. If you don’t clearly define the behaviors and actions you want people to take, then you will leave it up to them to figure out which can lead to confusion, inconsistency and loss in productivity.

Lesson 3: Provide Reinforcers

Ensuring that you’re reinforcing people when they are doing things differently as part of a change is essential. Feedback is one of the best reinforcers we can use in change leadership. Acquiring and testing new skills is typical during change. And at times, new skill acquisition can be daunting for your pharma sales team, but leaders can support that process by providing feedback. Get to know your people and make sure you are checking in with them frequently. Find ways to customize your feedback to what each person wants and needs.

It’s also important to provide accountability for new behaviors. Take the time to make sure your pharma sales team members’ goals and metrics align with the new things you are asking them to do to improve business performance. Then they are much more likely to continue doing those things and impacting business results.

Lesson 4: Engage Employees

During stressful periods, pharma sales teams will respond to clarity from leadership that is direct and evolving, as well as frequently repeated. Leaders who include and empower their pharmaceutical sales force through communication, consultation and delegation set the tone for success.

Most leaders recognize that employee engagement is central to the success of transformation and change – and to business performance in general. Maintaining a constant stream of communication about the sales force strategy, programs and priorities is critical.

Lesson 5: Foster Continuous Improvement

Leaders need to find a way to reinvigorate their organizations and to enable them to embrace change, restore their health, and renew themselves.

To sustain the momentum of change, especially in today’s volatile pharma sales environment, companies and their leadership must plan for continuous improvement. This requires a culture of regularly reviewing systems and processes and finding ways to improve. Always consider that the external environment and customer needs are likely to change more quickly than the pace at which the companies adapt.

Change fatigue is a reality for many companies in the pharmaceutical sales industry. With mergers, acquisitions, and other restructuring efforts, constant change is required, and companies must learn to apply these simple lessons to be successful. 

Your organization’s differentiator: Change the behavior of your pharmaceutical sales team and then their hearts and minds will follow. Change leaders can turn adversity to advantage and shape their organizations for a promising future.

Ready to act upon these critical lessons in change leadership with your pharmaceutical sales force? Download 4 Critical Steps To Becoming a High-Performing Pharmaceutical Sales Organization to learn more.

4 Critical Steps To Becoming A High-Performing Pharmaceutical Sales Organization - Download Now

Topics: Leadership, Pharmaceutical Sales

Kim Huggins

Written by Kim Huggins

Kim Huggins is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker and author in the area of understanding the generations. Her book, “GENerate Performance! Unleashing the Power of a Multigenerational Workforce,” has been cited as an invaluable leadership tool. Kim is a Partner at CLG and leads the pharmaceutical salesforce focused team. Her diverse background includes senior human resource positions in various industries, as well as owning and running a successful consulting business. Her clients represent industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, financial and oil and gas companies, where she brings her passion and experience in generational diversity, change execution, leadership development/coaching, organizational development, employee engagement and cultures of innovation. Read full bio.