For most of us, October signals excitement for fall foliage, tailgating, and trick or treating.  For organizations  whose fiscal year follows the calendar, October marks the beginning of the 4th Quarter.   As the days tick by, 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.

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?

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?

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?

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?
  • 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, e.g., my manager, sales leader, or other customer-facing roles?”  Discuss and align your plans with your manager to close out the year strong.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on our Business Acumen and Account Management Academy.


Elevating business acumen and account management skills in life sciences companies.

For the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry, strong business acumen and an account management skillset are essential to compete in today’s marketplace. Each company is different with various Sales, Market Access, and Medical roles calling on larger organized customers (e.g., IDNs, Payers, Group Purchasing Organizations, Large Medical Groups).

Use our Account Management Learning Needs Discovery checklist to assess opportunities to develop or enhance your existing account management curriculum. As you answer these questions, think about the common and core learning skills needed to elevate account management in your organization. There may be unique learning needs for the following roles (Key Account Managers, Strategic Account Managers, Account Executives, National/Regional Account Directors, Medical Affairs, Hospital Sales Representatives, others).

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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