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program to improve Sales Leaders' Business Acumen and Decision Making capabilities.

Also read: A Sturdy Framework on the importance of Business Planning and Resource Allocation

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WLH Consulting, Inc. wishes everyone a happy holiday season.  This newsletter is designed to help you close out the year and begin planning for 2011.  In this issue we share our lessons learned regarding Business Planning projects that can help your sales leadership develop and execute business plans next year.

The current pressures and constraints on the pharmaceutical/ health care industry make it imperative for sales leaders to develop and utilize sharp business acumen and decision making skills when developing their business plans. 

Specifically, sales leaders need to analyze their local marketplace to gain insights on where to target sales efforts and effectively allocate resources.  In addition, to engage in the process themselves, sales managers must be effective at coaching their teams to do the same within their assigned geography.


To support disciplined planning, WLH Consulting, Inc. developed a Business Planning Framework with accompanying tools and training to support an effective field force cascade. 

Our step-by-step process includes an assessment of the current marketplace, past performance, and future opportunities. The goal is to have executable business plans that can be re-examined and adjusted throughout the year.  These plans can be rolled-up for senior management review and oversight.


Overall, the benefits for developing and implementing a consistent Business Planning Framework with a supporting learning cascade are listed below:

  1. Ensure alignment with broader company strategic direction and objectives.
  2. Push accountability down throughout the organization.
  3. Position business planning as an important activity and prerequisite to effective execution.
  4. Improve management decision-making, execution, and coaching as a result of using tools and analyses to identify opportunities and trends.
  5. Increase the sharing and leveraging of lessons learned across the organization.
  6. Drive results.

Manager's Tips:


As you end the year and kick off planning efforts in 2011, use the following best practices and lessons learned to guide your business planning efforts:


  1. Reflect upon 2010 plans to determine if desired results have been achieved:
    • Identify lessons learned by team members from the current year's plan and their ability to execute against the plan (e.g., what actions worked, what actions were difficult to complete, and why?).
    • Identify any opportunities to improve the business planning process for the coming year.
    • Discuss how the Business Review Process helped with plan execution and recalibration.
    • Continue to streamline the business planning process to minimize time out of the field and focus only on value-added activities. 
  1. Take the time now to clarify, review, and communicate your business planning process:
    • Clarify expectations and guiding principles related to business planning.
    • Share how good plans drive results and create better alignment with corporate / brand goals.
    • Define what a good plan looks like with SMART goals.
    • Provide guidance on requirements for effectively writing the plan; especially given compliance requirements in the pharmaceutical industry.
    • Specify how and when collaboration is needed amongst field sales professionals to share marketplace knowledge and to engage in account planning.
    • Design uniform, user-friendly templates to ensure consistency.  
  1. Partner with Learning and Development to provide ongoing skill development regarding business acumen and decision making skills.
    • Update your Learning and Development curriculum offerings for Directors and Managers to include webinars, programs, and action learning projects related to business acumen.
    •  Design and deliver workshops on business acumen that include guidance on how to effectively review business analytics to identify opportunities.
    • Include skill development to help sales leaders coach their direct reports on developing business plans.
    • Provide Leader-Led Learning™ modules on business analytics, decision-making, and planning.
    • Incorporate business planning skill development at sales meetings. 
    • Ensure that all learning offerings are integrated and focus on those capabilities related to demonstrating business acumen, decision making, and strategic thinking.

For more information on how WLH Consulting, Inc. can help you customize the Business Planning Framework, please email wendy@wlhconsulting.com, or feel free to call (954) 385-0770. 

Additionally, WLH Consulting, Inc. can work with you to develop the appropriate cascade, learning programs, and supporting tools to drive desired results.

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Join us next month for more great tips and techniques. Until then, feel free to contact WLH Consulting, Inc. for any specific information.


Wendy Heckelman, Ph.D.
WLH Consulting, Inc.