With the New Year underway, various media outlets and consulting firms are issuing reports outlining the trends to watch out for in 2019. The lists may vary, yet there are consistent themes.

  • Continued healthcare related mergers and integrations, including larger integrated delivery networks, pharmaceutical companies, and other key players. Take note: the year started off this way with a letter of intent for Bristol-Myers Squibb to acquire Celgene.
  • Drug pricing continues to be a high profile topic and will continue under the new Democratic controlled Congress, and with the build up to the 2020 elections.
  • Demand for more transparency in healthcare costs by consumers, regulators, and payers.
  • Shifts in how and where care is delivered (including the continuing increase in technological innovation) with remote monitoring, increasing number and types of venues, and new partnerships for outpatient settings offering more consumer-friendly access.
  • Continued focus on ways to enhance the patient experience, improving population health, and reducing per capita healthcare costs remain primary concerns for healthcare delivery systems and payers.

Pharmaceutical and life sciences commercial leaders and access organizations understand that these trends impact customer concerns and overall strategy. Additionally, there is a need for a disciplined business planning and resource allocation process to stay competitive, relevant, and to drive performance. A structured business planning process results in more comprehensive and integrated geography and account plans.

As you review your planning efforts, consider the following guidance:

  1. Conduct a Marketplace Ecosystem Analysis: Trends impact local markets differently, therefore it is important that every field-based professional seek to understand what is different in their market. For example, has there been M&A activity? Are there changes in payer dynamics? What state or local legislative changes or newly elected officials may impact healthcare in the market? If you have multiple customer-facing roles calling on large integrated systems, it is important that teams share information to gain alignment, close gaps, and generate insights to incorporate in account plans.
  2. Provide direction regarding strategy and brand goals. Use year beginning meetings to ensure field managers translate larger strategic goals, brand strategy, critical priorities, and specific initiatives. Make sure individual sales professionals can translate these to specific goals for their geography or assigned accounts. Coaching conversations can include questions, such as:
    • What are your top three to five goals? Have you written them as SMART goals?
    • What processes are in place for monitoring achievement of goals?
    • What resources do you need to achieve goals?
  3. Develop action plans. Analysis without specific action planning does not produce results. It is important to define the action planning approach and ensure field professionals follow compliance guidelines. Use action plans to specify activities, engage others, and establish timelines. For larger accounts, it is important to understand how actions build upon each other to achieve desired outcomes and to be explicit when other customer-facing roles need to be involved.

Organizations that can effectively develop and execute business and account plans that reflect the changing marketplace have a greater chance of succeeding. It is critical to use year beginning meetings to clarify your planning efforts and expectations. Additionally, the rigor of plan development strengthens business acumen and strategic thinking skills, which are essential as changes occur throughout the year.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on Business and Account Planning.

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.

Business PlanningNewsletters