Empowering Sales Effectiveness In Pharmaceutical Companies Through Digital Learning

As per Statista, the global R&D spend in the pharmaceutical industry is expected to cross 200 billion dollars by 2024. This growth projection implies that many new products will be developed in this time frame and that is why many companies are investing significantly in digital salesforce training to effectively engage with customers.

Gone are the days where sales team boasted about their product features and deals happened. The traditional approach to pharmaceutical sales doesn’t work today. With the information explosion all around, customers know much more than before and are buying in new ways.  The growth in digitization and associated mobile technologies has led to customers preferring interactive engagement that brings forward information gaps and innovative solutions for the medical practitioners. Digital learning might not be a new concept for sales training in this sector, but the real challenge is to make it effective and figure out innovative ways to train these new age sales representatives.

Let’s look at some digital learning features that we need to consider to increase sales effectiveness in this field:

  1. Quick and easy updatable digital courses

Considering the dynamic nature of this industry and the constantly changing policies, FDA regulations and new product launches, the need of the hour is to select ‘future-ready’ digital courses which can be updated quickly and easily.

  1. Responsive, Byte-sized modules

Sales reps by no means are confined to their office desk all day, so digital learning needs to be made available wherever they are. Byte sized micro-learning nuggets are another interesting way to cater to any just-in-time learning requirements, like as ready reckoners before meeting a client or  for quick reinforcement on the go.

  1. The right mode of training for your needs

While many pharmaceutical companies have started implementing advanced techniques like artificial intelligence, chat-bots, augmented and virtual reality in their product demonstrations and training other functions, but ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. Some companies may still do better with video-based learning while for some gamified learning can bring out the best of competitiveness from their sales representatives. Some may still stick to the classic eBook for effective product training while some are inclined towards scenario based training. Choosing the correct mode for your organizational needs or the right blend of multiple modes is of utmost importance to yield better results.

Effective sales training has direct impact on the bottom-line so it is important to empower sales representatives with perfect training techniques to give them a taste of “what good looks like”. It’s a win-win scenario in which the organization attains higher revenue and also builds employee loyalty.

Have you tried digitizing your sales training programs? What has been your experience? Feel free to share your comments below, or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com to share your thoughts.

Catering Industry – Growing by Leaps and Bounds, and Sustaining Beyond

Catering industry in the United States has grown at an exponential rate in the last decade. In 2017, catering accounted for 11% of the foodservice industry sales with revenue of $12 bn. Caterers have introduced newer menu items and are providing a wider range of services than before to meet the increasing client expectations. Households and businesses are hosting more catered events, and as per projections, the catering industry will continue to flourish at a rate of 5-6% through 2019, as compared to a much lower, 1.8% growth rate from 2013-2018.  Many big restaurant brands have also started exploring catering as a revenue generation option.

So, what is factoring this tremendous growth? Here is what I think:

  1. Increasing Reach of Technology – For the first time in the history of food service, the power of ordering is literally in the hands of consumers.  This acts as a direct link between consumers and operations and speeds up the entire transaction cycle. Mobile technology has made it easier for customers to reach out to caterers through a couple of clicks.
  1. Healthy Consumer Spending – Statistics show that the average catering order value has increased by 65% in the last one year. This considerable growth has been aided by increased consumer spending and corporate profits. More and more households and businesses are expected to host catered events and opt for contractual meals for parties, weddings luncheons, schools, hospitals, and trade shows. Caterers relieve them of the worry of running the meal program, and they are free to focus on their core event or program.
  1. Rise in Catering Avenues- Catering avenues have diversified significantly over the past couple of years. Apart from the traditional event catering, newer forms of catering like mobile catering, boxed lunch catering for businesses, airline and rail catering are on a rise. Full-service catering companies that provide room decorations, lighting and table settings, along with food, are being sought by many consumers. With so many channels available for catering, it is only natural that the industry is growing significantly and will continue to do so.
  1. Better Packaging – Improved packaging technology like temperature control containers make sure that the food you receive as a boxed meal, or consume at an event, tastes and looks as good as at a restaurant and does not spoil. This is a lucrative proposition for consumers who want their guests or customers to enjoy fresh and good quality food without worrying about cooking or maintaining it.

The exceptional growth in the catering industry is commendable. It has paved the way for new job roles, processes and responsibilities.  It is crucial that you set the right standard for all stakeholders involved including third-party delivery partners, to support the growth in your consumer base and services. This requires training your employees and partners on the ins and outs of your brand, how you want your food to be packaged, how you want it to be delivered, etc.

I shall expand more on the role of training in catering leadership development in my next blog. Stay tuned, and feel free to share your thoughts below.

Trends in Workplace Healthy and Safety – My Learning from Safety 2018

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) conducted their 57th Safety 2018 Conference and Exposition in the beautiful city of San Antonio, from June 3 to June 6.  The conference was attended by over 640 exhibitors and 5000 safety professionals from around the world.

I had the opportunity to attend this conference on behalf of Harbinger, for the second year in a row. Apart from catching up with some of our clients and prospects, I got to learn a lot about the rapidly changing landscape of the health and safety industry. Here are a few trends that seem to be gaining immense popularity in this highly regulated industry:

  1. Virtual Reality – With its ability to provide a realistic training experience, virtual reality is slowly becoming an integral part of health and safety training. There are many useful applications of virtual reality in training, like hazard identification and site familiarization. With the pace at which this trend is catching up, it won’t be surprising to see it become as popular as mainstream online learning in the days to come.
  2. Micro-learning – Health and safety compliance courses are usually long and tedious, and hence not very exciting and engaging. Organizations are slowly making a shift towards making workplace learning more exciting for the learners using micro-learning, gamification and other rich media. The focus is to include small, interactive nuggets of information, which can be consumed one at a time, and can engage learners better. For instance, breaking an intensive personal protective equipment training session into smaller modules like hearing protection, eye protection, face shields, and so forth, could help in better retention of information.
  3. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Management software – EHS management software is constantly evolving, and becoming better every passing day. Most of the newer versions are cloud based, available to be used in offline modes, deliver intelligent data analysis of compliance issues, come with unique customization and integration abilities, provide detailed reporting, and offer better risk management. It will be interesting to see the growth of EHS management software in the safety and health domain.
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products – Some interesting innovations have been done in the field of PPE and other safety products. Use of mobile based applications, sensor based safety technologies and drone technology is making it an exciting space to watch for in the coming years. These innovations demonstrate that organizations are making safety their key priority by making use of latest technology to comply with stringent safety norms.

This conference was a great learning experience for me and I am already looking forward to the next Safety conference at New Orleans.

Are you associated with any workplace health and safety practices? What are your observations on the above mentioned trends? Share through comments below.

My Experience at ASSE Safety 2017

SAFETYASSE2017

The American Society of Safety Engineers [ASSE] conducted their 56th annual conference, Safety 2017 from 19-22 June at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The conference had over 650 exhibitors from across the globe.  5,000 safety professionals, health and safety leaders, key decision makers, safety consultants from 40 countries came together to share their expertise in risk management, industrial safety, industrial hygiene, and more.  With over 300 speaker sessions and events, the conference was a unique opportunity for professionals in the safety domain.

There were various types of organizations exhibiting at the conference; which could be categorized as:

  1. PPE Products – This category included organizations providing safety glasses, safety footwear, hard hats, clothing, glasses and gloves.
  2. Health and Safety Products – Organizations providing fall protection devices, safety ropes manufacturers, chemical safety devices.
  3. Universities, Publishers and Associations – Organizations across the USA who provide accreditation programs on health and safety.
  4. Training organizations – These included eLearning catalog companies, onsite training providers and training marketplaces.

I attended the conference on behalf of the Harbinger Interactive Learning team, and tried to understand the role online learning plays in health and safety training. Here are my key observations from the conference:

  1. Popularity of Onsite Training – Though there are many successful online training catalog providers in the health and safety space, onsite training is still the most popular method to deliver training.
  2. Learning on Handheld Devices – Many of the training catalog providers have their training content in Adobe Flash or PDF formats, however, they seem to be warming up to the idea of providing training through handheld devices like tablets and smart-phones.
  3. Virtual and Augmented Reality in Health and Safety – Virtual and augmented reality seem to be the next big thing in the health and safety training domain.

Safety 2017 provided me with the opportunity to interact with various health and safety training providers and also gave me an insight into the evolution of safety training over the last few years. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this conference and came back better-informed on the role training plays in the health and safety domain. Did you attend this conference? What were your key takeaways? Share through comments below.

Digitization of Medical Affairs

Medical Affairs

“Medical affairs” describes a function, typically in a life sciences organization, that interacts with both external and internal stakeholders of the company. It is the broad term that describes the department within a pharmaceutical or medical device company that interacts with physicians and other healthcare professionals who utilize or are involved with research related to the company’s products.

Medical Affairs acts like a bridge between medical and commercial groups in the company and the markets. Examples of Medical Affairs’ functions include:

  • Managing key thought-leader relationships
  • Publishing data from corporate-sponsored trials
  • Presenting educational information about a product or therapeutic landscape
  • Answering questions from healthcare providers regarding product safety or efficacy that is not addressed in a product’s label
  • Supporting research initiatives outside labeled indications for marketed products

As one can imagine, the above tasks are very time consuming and complicated. Since digitizing all these tasks can save considerable time and yet make a powerful impact on the audience, it is of utmost importance that organizations create a digital strategy around these. Below are some pointers on how this can be achieved.

Communication

Medical Affairs is a group entirely focused on internal and external communication. Since no one likes to read plain PDFs on product information or any other communication any longer, the group needs to incorporate ways to make communication interesting.

Here are some digital objects that can be deployed to make medical communication better:

  • Medical animations
  • Interactive e-books
  • Healthcare videos
  • Medical games
  • Healthcare apps

Product Launch

A successful product launch in today’s competitive and regulated marketplace is highly dependent on value-based and science-driven decision making. In such a scenario, the Medical Affairs function plays an important role, beginning right from the pre-launch phase and extending well beyond the launch date.

Critical aspects that Medical Affairs leaders need to focus on during launch are early stage thought leader (TL) interaction, successful TL targeting, alignment of commercial training to demands of key stakeholders and launch resource management.

eLearning can play a huge role into supporting the product launches in pharmaceutical companies. The training that is tied to a product launch is essential to empowering the sales staff with the right message to deliver at the right time. Following are some of the ways in which eLearning can be utilized in a successful product launch:

  • Create sales-readiness educational content for the sales reps
  • Create short, bite-sized infomercials
  • Disease and disease-state based learning content
  • Medical 3D animations to make the material visually attractive

Educational Material

Medical Affairs also deals with the creation and training of educational material for existing and upcoming products. A major part of this education happens in the classrooms.

Replacing this classroom training which mostly contains PDF/PPT based material, with digital interactions, can be a very effective way to expedite most communication and product related activities of Medical Affairs.

This can be achieved by a few different ways, including:

  • Realistic simulations
  • Branching and decision-making scenarios
  • Compliance training
  • Medical animations
  • Serious game-based learning

Putting it All Together

Though medical affairs is a very vast field and not all its functions can be covered in one article, the above examples should give a good idea of how the digital transformation of Medical Affairs can help a life sciences organization to make the most of its resources by saving money, effort, and time.

Harbinger Interactive Learning is a digital content development company. We are able to offer cost effective creative solutions with resources across different technologies and skillsets. A partnership with Harbinger can certainly help you build high quality digital pharma content cost effectively and stretch your development capabilities further. 

Please get in touch with info@harbingerlearning.com to schedule a time to discuss your digital content development plans.