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Field Based Monitoring:  Optimizing Compliant Sales Performance
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To our clients and colleagues,

In this edition of our e-newsletter, we provide guidelines and tips on how field based monitoring efforts can be used to drive sales performance improvement and business growth and profitability. 

 

Field Based Monitoring as a Driver for Compliant Sales Excellence
Today's biopharmaceutical sales force needs to adapt to changes in their marketplace and changes in the compliance landscape. The traditional response to compliance changes has been compliance training that focuses on knowledge of the regulations and on telling commercial colleagues what not to do.  This approach does little to help sales representatives learn the compliant selling skills they need and makes compliance the organizational "bad guy." What is required is collaboration between compliance and sales on tools that support both of their goals - maximizing business performance within the compliance guidelines.

Companies can take advantage of recent CIA requirements for Field Based Monitoring (FBM) to create just such a tool. The CIA requirements for FBM of sales representatives' conduct include behavioral training, field observations, and reporting on compliant conduct.  With a little additional effort, companies can go beyond these minimum standards and use FBM to address other challenges facing sales representatives.  If sales and compliance work together, FBM can be used to develop compliant sales behaviors, to monitor sales performance, and to assess the transfer of ethical marketing messages to the field.

Guidelines for using FBM for sales performance improvement include:
  1. Create definitions of desired selling behaviors to set expectations.  Sales and Compliance should collaborate to generate behavioral standards of not just compliant behavior, but of excellent compliant selling. These provide specific behavioral examples of what sales representatives can do. For example, how can field representatives handle objections and questions from healthcare providers in a compliant and effective manner? How can field representatives best use speaker programs in a compliant fashion?
  2. Educate the entire sales organization on these expectations. Cascading these behavioral expectations from the top of the sales organization down enables the company to reinforce a culture of complaint selling excellence. If compliance and sales collaborate to design and deliver behavioral skills training it is also more likely to contain design elements that will result in sustained behavioral changes in the field.  These include opportunities for behavioral practice and feedback, which help sales representatives remember and apply new skills. 
  3. Inspect what you expect.  Monitoring behavioral expectations is different than traditional FBM because it is not a check the box activity. It enables monitoring efforts to benefit both compliance and sales.  Comparing field observations against behavioral standards allows the company to examine the effectiveness of training efforts, determine remaining behavioral gaps, and monitor and mitigate compliance risks.  It also enables the company to determine how accurately and effectively messages are being translated to the field.
  4. Provide real-time reporting and follow-up procedures on behavioral observations to both compliance and sales groups.  Real time reports enable: (1) compliance to respond to potential compliance issues and (2) sales to provide coaching and reinforcement to improve compliant selling capabilities. Instituting follow-up procedures from these reports ensures a closed loop of action on identified compliance risks.

Summary

Field based monitoring can be used to drive sales performance improvement. Creating behavioral definitions of compliant selling excellence sets standards for sales conduct in the field. 

Behavioral skills training, when using these standards, ensures field representatives learn and can apply these skills.

Monitoring behavior in the field against these standards, reporting, and follow-up procedures completes the loop and provides groups across the company with valuable benefits. 

  • Sales can drive revenue growth in a compliant fashion by coaching and reinforcing compliant sales skills. 
  • Marketing can monitor the delivery of their messages in the field. 
  • Compliance can monitor risks and respond quickly to potential compliance violations.
The collaborations required between sales and compliance to achieve these benefits can also result in changed perceptions about the role of compliance in the company.  Compliance becomes part of the team working to improve business performance.

For more information on how your company can benefit from field based monitoring efforts, please contact WLH Consulting, Inc.

 

WLH Consulting, Inc. brings twenty years of experience in the biopharm industry, plus expertise in organizational and individual assessment, behavioral-based training, cultural change, and cross-functional alignment to provide compliance information and practical solutions to our compliance and commercial clients.

Feel free to contact WLH Consulting, Inc. for specific information on best practices and lessons learned for pharmaceutical leaders, compliance officers, and trainers.  
 
Sincerely, 
 
Wendy Heckelman, Ph.D.
WLH Consulting, Inc.
Wendy@wlhconsulting.com
954-385-0770
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