In the fourth quarter, the final months are focused on “hitting your numbers” and ensuring other important business performance goals are achieved. It is important to ask, “What needs to happen to close out the year strong?” As sales leaders and market access professionals, use the following questions for your own self-reflection and to guide your direct reports.

1.  Review existing goals and action plans to determine if you are on target for year end:

  • Did you do what you said you were going to do?
  • What barriers did you run into with intended plans?
  • Do priorities need to be shifted based on various marketplace changes or other factors?
  • Where are there some quick wins, especially with coordinated pull-through activities?

2.  Leverage existing business analytics and reports to assess if you are on track for goal attainment. Ask questions that help you better understand the current situation and formulate hypotheses that lead to:

  • Where are you winning?
  • What do you need to do to maintain efforts?
  • Where are sales down and how can you “stop or limit” the losses?
  • What other trends or opportunities are you uncovering by customer segment or tier?

3.  Evaluate remaining resources in this year’s budget and allocate to opportunities with the highest potential:

  • What resources and approaches have been most successful?
  • What lessons learned can be applied to similar cases?
  • Are there opportunities to ask for additional resources?
  • Are there portfolio related trade-offs that must be considered when re-allocating resources?

4.  Ensure you are coordinated with your team on planned activities for shared customers:

  • Are there members of the extended customer-facing team who can provide support or share additional information?
  • Are you sharing information with others?

5.  Evaluate other performance related goals:

  • What can others do to bolster relationships and improve access?
  • Are there ways to deepen or strengthen relationships?

It is important to take time to reflect on your own business plan effectiveness and results. Ask yourself, “What do I need to stop, start, and continue doing?” “What support do I need from others – either a manager, sales leader, or other customer-facing resources?”  Discuss and align your plans with your manager to close out the year strong.

Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Heckelman, president and founder of WLH Consulting, Inc. has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 100 industry clients. These include pharmaceutical, biotech, health care, animal health medicines, and consumer products, as well as international non-profit organizations and growing entrepreneurial companies.

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