Most pharmaceutical company’s field organizations measure and track sales performance on a quarterly basis. With the first quarter of 2018 coming to a close, now is an excellent time to review if performance results are on track and if business plans (either at the territory or account level) achieved their desired objectives.

A Quarterly Business Review with a sales professional is an essential tool for tracking performance, calibrating plans, and discussing lessons learned. When done well, a Quarterly Business Review provides value on a couple of fronts. First, it creates a shared and transparent understanding of the overall geography’s performance. By conducting an evidence-based analysis, field professionals draw critical insights and greater knowledge of the marketplace. Second, the review provides an opportunity to recalibrate plans and adjust resources to achieve business goals.

Other advantages of a Quarterly Business Review include:

  • Development of field force business acumen skills
  • Increased accountability for driving results by assessing short-term and long-term opportunities
  • Reinforcement of key messages related to the organization’s strategy (both brand and above-brand) and the need to remain adaptable to meet marketplace challenges
  • Consistent application of any process put in place that focuses on planning, review, and recalibration

Best practices for conducting a value-added Quarterly Business Review include the following:

  • A formal process is in place with the commitment to dedicate time and resources for review discussions (typically 2-3 hours)
  • The organization provides guided questions that focus on key strategic drivers to assist in preparation and meeting review
  • The manager and sales professional prepare and review current business reports and analytics, paying close attention to significant changes that impact the business (not only the high-level summary)
  • During the meeting, managers take the time to recognize positive movement; especially with regard to longer term goals and deepening relationships with stakeholders
  • Managers and sales professionals explore opportunities to maximize pull-through and leverage additional resources that address access challenges and the impact of larger organized customers on prescribing and treatment decisions

After the business review discussion, it is important to agree on next steps and changes to the action plan. As always, when creating action plans, they should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Another organizational best practice is to leverage lessons learned across marketplaces, geographies, and accounts. There should be a process in place for sales leaders to assemble and share these lessons, especially with their peers and with headquarter teams who may also need to develop tools or allocate resources. Business reviews are an opportunity for “boots on the ground” to share insights and make recommendations to meet customer and patient needs.

In summary, the use of Quarterly Business Reviews has become an effective tool for reflecting back and looking toward the future. The disciplined Business Review Process where sales managers and sales professionals engage in discussions on sales performance, action plan effectiveness, resource allocation decisions, and marketplace changes contributes to successfully attaining desired goals.

For more information on how WLH Consulting, Inc. can work with your company to create and implement a value-added Quarterly Business Review, please email, or feel free to call (954) 385-0770.

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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