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Trending At TGaS Summit: Employee Engagement, Changing Pharma Landscape

11/16/2016 11:16:26 AM

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Commercial Operations Leaders Gather to Share Perspectives, Solutions

Note: TGaS can provide additional data and insights for each solution.

November 16, 2016. E. Norriton, Penn. The TGaS® Advisors 2016 Fall Summit, “Becoming Indispensable Business Partners: It’s Easier (and More Fun) Than You Think,” brought together a record 183 clients representing 51 companies to discuss the changing landscape, share concerns and help sort fact from fiction with objective, actionable information. Attendees included strong representation from both Top 50 large and mid-tier pharmaceutical companies and the company’s Emerging Life Sciences Network. The day long invitation only event, held November 3, 2016, in Philadelphia, featured breakout sessions in the firm’s client solutions, including Executive Commercial Operations, Contract Management, Digital and Multichannel Marketing, Incentive Compensation, Managed Markets, Marketing Operations, Marketing Sciences, Medical/Regulatory/Legal, Sales Operations and Training & Development.

Kevin Kruse, best-selling author of books on time management and employee engagement, spoke on the topic, “7 Things Ultra Productive People Do Differently.” He used humor to focus on ways to increase and expand individual performance and organizational output.

Summaries of breakout session highlights:

Executive Commercial Operations: Decision Support Ecosystems; Customer Engagement; New IC Approaches; Sourcing Strategies

Executive commercial leaders from 18 companies explored a wide range of topics and challenges facing their complex and varied teams, including building powerful decision support ecosystems, the evolution of customer engagement strategies and tactics and incentive compensation approaches to galvanize new generations and new sourcing strategies. Along the way, leaders extracted “outside in” perspectives on individual issues of the day, such as experience with interactive video/digital vs. paper sales aids, mix of career vs. developmental staff in learning & development functions and approaches for embedding patient focused thinking and problem solving throughout their commercial organizations. Leaders universally valued the generative interaction with and learning from peers.

Contract Management: Outcomes based Contracting & Industry Pricing Trends; Contracting Strategy and Administration; Proposal Development; Government Pricing

The Contract Management Solution engaged attendees in a robust and detailed discussion on topics that included Pricing & Contracting Strategy, Proposal Development, Contract Administration and Government Pricing. One highlight was a panel discussion jointly led by an OptumInsight Executive and a Managed Markets Leader on the topic of outcomes based contracting and industry pricing trends, which provided an informative back & forth from the perspectives of both the biopharmaceutical manufacturer and the payer.

Digital & Multichannel Marketing: Being an Indispensable Business Partner via Effective Support for Marketing, Skill Development and Continuity; Patient Health Literacy

Digital and Multichannel Marketing Centers of Excellence (COE) continue to be a centralized hub responsible for creating efficient and effective marketing campaigns, upskilling their organization and providing a point of continuity between brands and agency partners. Many MCM groups are experiencing growth and exploring new methods to align talent to task. The session also focused on the importance of patient health literacy and how some organizations have fundamentally changed their process, approach and content development to be more understandable to patients at any literacy level. The group also participated in the TGaS Advisors annual COE trends study, which explores planned changes to budgets, resources and capabilities for 2017.

Incentive Compensation (IC): Need for Framework and Discipline; IC Sales Adjustments

As the TGaS client network prepares to launch 30 products in 2017, experienced IC leaders underscored the need for a clear framework and discipline in order to develop effective launch IC plans. Sales adjustments continue to be a challenge for IC leaders. Network members discussed methods for better managing those adjustments, from proactively reaching out to the sales teams for changes prior to the close of the period to not accepting any adjustments at all.

Managed Markets: Best Practices and Concerns; Value Added

The Summit provided an opportunity for high level management to share best practices and concerns about the evolving healthcare landscape. There was a lively discussion about the value added activities that account management and payer marketing, as well as their support departments of HEOR and training, must engage in to address customers’ demands. The group identified and prioritized the top issues, determining ways to address the challenges.

Marketing Operations: External Agency Management; Promotional Materials; Speaker Program Effectiveness; the Customer Experience

The interactive session addressed relevant Marketing Operations leadership issues and solutions and how to best manage external agencies and optimize promotional materials production. The discussion included solutions to improving overall speaker program effectiveness and the customer experience. According to attendees, the session provided peer to peer industry best practice sharing by “understanding what our company does not have and suggesting roles that need to be considered…where we rate in industry advancements and what we need to improve upon or put into place” and “sparked ideas we can look to implement.”

Marketing Sciences: Balancing Lean Resources and Demand for Innovation; Evolution of Capabilities

Marketing Sciences session attendees focused on this year’s theme, “Striking a balance between lean resources and the growing demand for innovation and evolution of capabilities.” Leaders are learning to “live lean” and recognize resourcefulness as a critically important skill for leaders in today’s biopharma environment. The call for data driven decision making has placed demands on leaders of Insights and Analytic organizations to evolve their group’s capabilities and fortify their infrastructures (technology, systems and processes) and capabilities to answer this need. For many, the use of alternative resourcing models, whether outsourcing or offshoring, have become standard practice and provide an important means by which to solve for headcount and budgetary shortfalls.

Medical/Regulatory/Legal: Optimizing the MRL function; Challenges and Trends; Live Team Meeting, Offline Review

MRL Leaders interacted on a variety of topics related to optimization of their MRL function. Topics included a “top 10” list of 2016 MRL challenges and trends, best practices associated with MRL live team meeting and offline review, and strategies to improve MRL resource allocation, enhance stakeholder adherence and optimize process efficiency. One client called the MRL breakout “incredibly insightful and relevant” and “a great forum for networking and idea generation.”

Sales Operations: MDM and IC Landscapes; Account Based Selling, Managed Markets, Specialty Pharmacy; Field Technology; Enterprise Data Management

Sales Operations leaders discussed hot topics, ranging from master data management challenges; impacts of account based selling, managed markets and specialty pharmacy; developments in field technology and innovative approaches to reporting and analytics. Attendees received highlights from the 2016 Incentive Compensation Landscape, the 2016 Data Management Landscape and TGaS’s expanded support for enterprise data management focused on challenges, roles and responsibilities for these teams. Also discussed were alternative approaches companies have deployed for white space or vacancy coverage, with best practices and lessons learned with direct to prescriber sampling, contracted or inside selling teams.

Training & Development: Learning Metrics; Advanced Learning Technology; Leadership in an Evolving Marketplace T&D breakout sessions featured three segments exploring Learning Metrics, Advanced Learning Technology and Leadership in an Evolving Marketplace. The 17 T&D executives attending the sessions described the content as “very valuable” and were particularly appreciative of the interactive peer discussions.

About TGaS® Advisors

TGaS Advisors is the leading benchmarking and advisory services firm for commercial organizations in the life sciences industry. With a roster of top 50, emerging and precommercial life sciences companies, TGaS provides robust comparative intelligence and collaborative network membership services. The team includes more than 60 experienced professionals, most with senior-level experience in the life sciences and related industries. To learn more, visit

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