Should a Pharmaceutical Sales and Marketing Company Deploy Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma can definitely accelerate the speed of processes and tasks involved with pharmaceutical sales and marketing. This can be easily proven after analyzing all the underlying claims by its mentors. The uniqueness of Lean Six Sigma reflects in how it identifies the real customer and the methodologies put into use for measuring the impact of sales and marketing. As Lean Six Sigma views a series of independent projects and then strategies upon what needs to be done; it makes company decisions more innovative and places them ahead of those made by traditional thinking marketers.
Requirements and Limitations of the Pharmaceutical Industry
Limiting and controlling the use of promotional items is just one specific area that regulates the pharmaceutical industry and this is what they have mastered upon. These companies believe in developing relationships with HCPs and gathering customer voice as well as attaining information with greater efficiency; yes, all these steps require optimum care and expertise.
Sufficient amount of planning goes into maximizing the value added to the HCP and in laying out the design of the VOC data collection, which is not possible without creativity and efficiency on the part of the sales and marketing teams present within an organization. No doubt, gathering of voice and useful information can be easily done from patients, pharmacies, payers and even HCP’s, but the process can be restraining and unreserved. The ability to reduce the time and cost of gathering the VOC requires patience and creativity; this is because relevant data is not easily available and is often discrete.
The role of a sales rep is to record optimum amount of quantitative data that includes the number of sales calls in that particular day, the amount of time spent with the HCP and time spent on the delivery of details, to the extent to how many messages were given--one, two or more. All this data proves very useful for analysis, as the answer to complete understanding of the process and improvising upon the same lies in the details to perfection. To be able to pin-point areas of improvement, be it in case of quantitative or performance data, any pharmaceutical organization needs to identify those variables that have impacted the market share or sales; so as to take all positive steps towards improvement.
Challenges of Integrating Lean Six Sigma Solutions
In Lean Six Sigma, the marketing team faces the challenges of collecting information, and learning the impact and effect of their projects and actions with greater accuracy. The reason behind this is that an organization’s sales reps are generally decentralized, which makes it easier for them to conduct frequent meetings from time to time, thereby making the team more flexible and committed to all collective efforts. This scenario also allows them to handle their work with a more creative approach, for e.g. electronics meeting technology.
These face-to face meetings save a lot of time and travel expenses for organizations and enable them to focus on diverse critical steps; so as to improvise upon the projects and enhance organizational work potential.
Lean Six Sigma and its Effects on Sales and Marketing
If seen at the macro-economic level and on a larger scale, the factors that play a major role are the prevalence of a disease like an epidemic, government approval of selling of a particular drug, etc. These can impact the sales and marketing efforts in different ways. But on a smaller scale, even a minor change in the marketplace probably differentiates the pharmaceutical marketing environment. Moreover, writing of a prescription does not necessarily guarantee the sale of a particular medicine or a product. However, by no means do such minor issues prevent Lean Six Sigma from identifying opportunities for improvement in the marketing and sales efforts of a company, and that too in an effective manner.
Lean Six Sigma masters in process-focused thinking and this enables participating companies to implement and execute their plans with minimum wastage and at a faster pace. They can overcome all the barriers and hurdles in the pharmaceutical industry due to the existence of patent protection. Right from bringing the product to the market to seeking FDA approval, all the processes are done at the fastest pace. It is obvious that the faster an organization can evaluate the effectiveness of its marketing campaign, the faster it can improvise and adjust itself in the protected period of time, while making itself totally unique and distinctive.
To conclude, in order to combat the oversight by the FDA (and others), to gather VOC, improvise speed and efficiency of marketing and sales team, and create a distinctive business environment, it is imperative to use Lean Six Sigma.