Developing Performance Management Processes

Driving sales and marketing in pharmaceutical companies has many challenges. Complex regulatory requirements, geographic differences, and the natural dynamism of the sector are just three areas that can impact activities. Dr. Martin Kamleiter-Borski, a Client Service Partner with a-connect’s Life Sciences Practice, explains how Performance Management systems and tools can help you navigate the myriad challenges and drive success.

5 Minutes By Dr. Martin Kamleiter-Borski Life Sciences 12/19/2023

At a Glance

This article details the challenges we face in establishing performance management systems and processes within the Sales and Marketing teams in pharmaceutical companies. It also guides you through strategies that can help drive sustained success that aligns with commercial objectives.

Having reviewed multiple definitions of performance we concluded that:

1. Performance is multidimensional.

Performance involves:

  • Achieving stated objectives
  • Accomplishing important organizational characteristics
  • Satisfying stakeholders

This highlights the need for a comprehensive performance management that, among other aspects, incorporates:

  • Sales targets
  • Market share
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Regulatory compliance

2. Performance is a time-tested measure of any strategy.

In the fast-paced and competitive pharmaceutical industry, performance management should focus on:

  • Real-time monitoring
  • Quick decision-making
  • Agile adjustments to maximize performance

3. Performance is influenced by actions and players.

Never underestimate the influence of stakeholder satisfaction. The human factor in performance management is significant. So it is essential sales and marketing teams have the tools, resources, and skills to deliver on objectives. This demands:

  • Effective leadership
  • Clarity on roles and responsibilities
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Ongoing training and support

Five Key Challenges for Performance Management

There are five key areas that may constitute challenges to impactful Performance Management and require pre-emptive mitigation strategies:

1. Diverse geographical markets

Europe is a complex market. It has diverse regulatory environments, healthcare systems, and customer preferences. This creates multiple challenges in the development of a standardized performance management process and system.

2. Data integration and accuracy

Data accuracy is crucial for performance management. Decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to suboptimal outcomes.  However, in sales and marketing this information is often scattered across multiple systems and platforms. And that makes accurate integration and analysis difficult. It’s vital to have robust data governance processes.

3. Regulatory compliance

The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated. Compliance is critical. Developing a performance management process and system that adheres to relevant regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and local data privacy laws, can be challenging, but is necessary.

4. Complex sales and marketing metrics

These include:

  • Prescription volumes
  • Market share
  • Customer segmentation
  • Physician engagement
  • Promotional effectiveness

Developing a performance management system that captures and integrates these metrics is essential. To achieve this, you need to:

  • Align with business objectives
  • Define relevant KPIs
  • Design appropriate performance dashboards

5. Stakeholder Alignment

Pharmaceutical companies often have diverse stakeholders. These can include sales teams, marketing teams, regional leaders, and executive leadership. Quite often each one will have differing perspectives, priorities, and expectations.  So, it’s vital that you achieve buy-in and maintain alignment throughout the performance management process.

Seven key levers to consider for successful Performance Management programs

1. Define clear KPIs that align with business objectives

These must be relevant to sales and marketing functions. Your KPI metrics should be measurable, achievable and built on objective, reliable, and valid data. Ensure they are standardized across all regions for consistency and comparability. This enables you to see areas that are running smoothly and where there is risk requiring action or escalation.

2. Invest in data integration and quality.

Ensuring data integrity, accuracy, and consistency is critical. It’s essential to invest in robust data integration and quality processes. This includes governance, validation, and cleansing. That way you can ensure data is reliable and accurate.

3. Develop customized sales and marketing dashboards.

This provides valuable insights for performance monitoring and decision-making. Dashboards should be visually appealing, user-friendly, and accessible to relevant stakeholders. Most importantly, they must provide real-time or near-real-time data. Whenever creating dashboards avoid the temptation to overpopulate them. Focus on what is relevant for driving business.

4. Ensure regulatory compliance.

This includes GDPR, HIPAA, and local data privacy laws. Regulatory compliance is a top priority when creating performance management strategies. This includes proper data privacy and security measures. Regular audits and reviews will maintain ongoing compliance and mitigate any potential risks.

5. Cross-functional collaboration.

Successful performance management for sales and marketing demands close cooperation between teams across:

  • Sales.
  • Marketing.
  • IT.
  • Data analytics.

Ensure all relevant stakeholders are involved in the process. And their perspectives and feedback are considered. This drives alignment, increases accountability, and integrates performance management into business processes.

6. Provide training and support.

The focus should be on:

  • Using dashboards,
  • Interpreting performance metrics
  • Making data-driven decisions.

To ensure success, regularly assess the adoption and effectiveness of the process and system. Be prepared to provide ongoing support where needed.

7. Continuously monitor to improve.

Regularly review and analyze performance data. Identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement.  Continuously refine and optimize the process and system to align with changing business needs, evolving market dynamics, and emerging trends.

Remember, performance management should be a culture of discussion. Monitoring should not be purely ‘top down’. It needs to be an inter-functional discussion that includes:

  • Best-practice sharing.
  • Offering and accepting help.
  • Debate around how to improve strategies.

An effective performance management system and process will bear fruit

It provides valuable insights to:

  • Optimize sales and marketing efforts.
  • Drive strategic decision-making.
  • Achieve business objectives.

By leveraging these strategies, you can effectively navigate challenges and unlock the full potential of your sales and marketing functions. If you’d like further information about this article or how we could help you, please get in touch with the team.

About the author

Dr. Martin Kamleiter-Borski is a Client Service Partner within a-connect’s Life Sciences Practice. Martin is a seasoned Life Sciences and Healthcare expert who leverages his deep expertise of many years of hands-on experience in the pharmaceutical industry to assist clients in mastering the challenges of change, evolution, and disruption in this dynamic ecosystem. Martin joined a-connect in 2021, and is a physician with a doctorate in neurosciences from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany. His extensive background includes research, clinical psychiatry, and consulting with EY. His primary areas of focus are Commercial Excellence, Innovative Business Models, and Digital Therapeutics.

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