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  • drdianehamilton 10:52 am on April 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , emotions, gamification, leaders, Sales,   

    One Key Word That Impacts Intelligence, Engagement, Sales, Soft Skills, Gamification, and Millennials 


    There is an emotional component behind most of the things that will make or break employees’ and leaders’ success.  When someone first hears the word emotion, it may suggest emotional intelligence.  Developing emotional intelligence is one important factor that has been demonstrated to lead to success.  However, that is just part of the picture.

    Emotions are a big part of engagement as well. Engagement is the emotional commitment the employee feels toward the organization and its goals.   Emotion creeps up when discussing soft skills, culture, sales skills, and just about anything regarding success at work.  Soft skills include components such as interpersonal skills.  Having strong interpersonal skills are a big part of emotional intelligence.

    Sales skills often require tapping into consumer’s emotions.  Sales skills are a big part of being successful as an entrepreneur as well.  Some of the top emotion-based issues employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs face, involve managing emotions, finding ways to become emotionally committed and having others become emotionally committed, and developing ways to improve emotional awareness in others.  What makes a top salesperson successful?  They find an emotional need or pain.  Sales are based on people’s greed, fear, envy, pride, shame, and a host of other emotions that lead to a feeling of emotional reward.  When creating content for consumers, marketing professionals consider the motions that design, color, and images will have on them.

    Gamification has been added to the workplace to develop employees on an emotional level.   Emotions are powerful and impact learning.  Training programs must have aesthetically pleasing aspects, or negative emotions could result. Gaming has become a strong focus for Millennials as they see it as a form of entertainment.  However, it can also be used to create positive emotions to improve training and productivity.  Plutchik’s psycho-evolutionary theory of emotion explained there are eight primary emotions which include anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy.  These emotions trigger behavior.  He suggested eight primary bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. Up to 90% of purchasing decisions are based on an emotional response.

    People in sales situations, at work, in school, or at home, may have difficulty expressing emotions or even understanding their emotions or those of others.  This difficulty has led to a multitude of problems that impact behaviors.  Most people are hired for their skills and fired for their behaviors.  This problem with behaviors is a big part of what employers call soft skills.  Soft skills can include a multitude of issues including lack of effective interactions with others.  The sooner employers realize that emotions are not just a part of emotional intelligence, but engagement, productivity, sales, and a vast array of outcomes that can be either positive or negative if employers find ways to capitalize understanding their value at work.

    To find out more about emotions, check out some of these authors and speakers.  All but two of them have been on Take the Lead (my nationally-syndicated radio show), and I have been part of events where I heard the other two speak.  I highly recommend looking into the work that these individuals have produced because all of them are very impressive:

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  • drdianehamilton 7:29 am on January 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Formularies, , , , Pharmaceutical lobby, , Sales,   

    Top 5 Reasons Why Big Pharmaceutical Companies are Failing: An Inside Perspective 

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported how drug companies are using cues taken from Disney to improve lagging sales.  I usually do not write opinion articles, but having worked as a pharmaceutical representative for 15 years, I witnessed a lot of mistakes in the industry that I believe should be uncovered.  While high pressured sales pitches may be causing some of the problems facing Big Pharma, there were plenty of other issues that I experienced.

    1. Too Many Reps – The biggest problem I saw was the number of sales representatives hired.  When I began selling pharmaceuticals in 1985, I had my own territory.  It consisted of several zip codes.  My job was to call on doctors within those zip codes once a month.  In that sales call, I presented information about my drug.  As time went by, leadership decided that if one person could do so well calling on doctors, having two people delivering the same message would just improve sales.  They began to think it was inspired to just double the amount of reps.  By the time I left in 2002, there were eight of us in my territory all delivering the same message to the same doctors.  It is no wonder that doctors began to stop seeing reps.  Doctors were tired of being overwhelmed by the same information.  While it may sound bad that a company like AstraZeneca is laying off 24% of its sales staff, perhaps it is important to realize that they may have had too many sales reps in the first place.
    2. Rewarding Mediocrity – The commission structure was set up in way that did not inspire motivation.  My company set up forecasts so that reps would attain around 105% of projections.  If a representative came in at 100%, the next year, their forecast would be decreased.  If the representative came in at 120%, the next year, their forecast would be increased.  There was no real incentive to do well, because it would catch up in the next cycle. Reps also were paid most of their income as a base salary.  Commissions were a smaller part of their income.  In the Wall Street Journal article, it mentioned that companies are now considering changing the way they pay commissions.  In the past, commissions were based on number of sales.  Companies like Glaxo are now considering basing commissions on physician satisfaction.  Now that I am just a patient and not a rep, I would rather a doctor wrote me a prescription for a drug because it is the best drug and not because they are satisfied with a drug rep’s performance.
    3. Lack of Control – A pharmaceutical rep either sold a drug that was or was not on a formulary.  A formulary is the list of medications an insurance company will pay for if a doctor prescribes it.  If the drug he or she sold was on the insurance company’s formulary that the doctor used, then the rep had a fighting chance of convincing the doctor to prescribe the medication.  If not, the rep had little effect because patients would not be willing to pay cash for their prescriptions.  The reps had no control over getting drugs on the formularies.  That was someone else’s job.  The lack of control led to low sales and poor performance.
    4. Training not Realistic – Pharmaceutical reps go through intense training before entering the field.  In that training, they are taught sales scripts.  These scripts were things they should say when they were in the doctors’ offices.  When a rep would get out into the field, they quickly saw that the training was not realistic.  They did not have the kind of time to say the kinds of things they were taught.  Doctors were too busy.  My boss basically told me to forget everything they taught me and just be conversational.  This is interesting to me now that the Wall Street Journal article claims that this style is now being embraced by Lilly.
    5. Doctors’ Preferences – Like it or not, many of the reasons people are given the medications are due to doctors’ friendships with and preferences for their reps.  I had a doctor tell me that he wrote a medication for a rep he hated just because he saw him so much it was “just in his mind” to do so.  He did not choose the drug because it was better.  The Wall Street Journal article explained that a psychiatrist deliberately wrote for a competitive product just because he did not like the rep.  It was disturbing to me to see the reasons why a doctor prescribed what they prescribed.  It usually was based on familiarity and friendship rather than anything else.

    I was fortunate that I was successful in my 15 years as a pharmaceutical rep.  I was a multiple winner of their coveted “Presidents Circle of Sales” award. However, some of my success was based on luck.  If my drug was on a formulary, it made my job a lot easier.  Now that I am a Professor of Business, I see many problems with their business model.  It may have worked for a while, but over time, there have been cracks in a less than solid foundation.

    I believe that a lot of the problem in that industry is due to the lack of time doctors put forth in terms of researching their medications.  I have witnessed a lot of scary things that doctors have done over the years.  I witnessed a lot of doctors who only obtained information about medications based on a sales pitch.  I would rather have a well-informed doctor that has done his research prescribe my medication, than a physician who liked the lunch or “performance” delivered by the rep that was just in his office before I arrived for my appointment.

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  • drdianehamilton 9:17 am on October 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Academia, , , , , , , , , , Sales,   

    Women Dominating Sales Positions 

    Women are becoming a dominant force in sales positions.  In the article 10 Most Lucrative Industries for Women it was noted, “A recent study found that women are coming to dominate certain areas of sales, a traditionally lucrative field for those who excel. In fact, the study seemed to show that women tend to have better selling skills than men, translating into substantial earnings for saleswomen.”

    When women were asked what their top 10 more desired sales careers would be, they chose:

    1.    Pharmaceutical Sales

    2.    Biotech Sales

    3.    Dental Sales

    4.    Insurance Sales

    5.    Healthcare Sales

    6.    IT Sales

    7.    Medical Sales

    8.    Advertising Sales

    9.    Medical Equipment Sales

    10.  Real Estate Sales

    This is good news for women in the current questionable economy. Monster reported, “In 2010, more employers were willing to invest in their sales forces, having some faith that customers could be cajoled into buying. In October 2010 there were 145,000 more workers employed in sales and related occupations than a year earlier.”

    For additional resources about women and sales positions, check out some of the following links:

    Women Turning to Cosmetic Sales

    Community of Women in Professional Sales

    50 Best Careers of 2011

    Sales Jobs for Women Search Site

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  • drdianehamilton 2:05 pm on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bob Newhart, , Danny Gans, Digital Marketing, , John McCarthy, Kenny Loggins, Larry Miller, , Martina McBride, , Sales   

    Pharmaceutical Representative Jobs Being Replaced by Computers 

    Ask anyone about a pharmaceutical sales job and you are likely to hear something good about it.  People have this conception of the job being glamorous, well-paid and well-respected.  It can be glamorous working in a sales division of a large manufacturing company.  There may be company cars, plenty of perks, some traveling and even entertainment at events.  In my years in pharmaceutical sales, my company paid big bucks at meetings bringing in high end entertainers including:  Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Kenny Loggins, Martina McBride, Danny Gans, Harry Anderson, Larry Miller, Huey Lewis and many more.

    Those days of big spending on the sales force are changing.  In fact, the drug makers are not only cutting back on entertaining their sales force, they are actually getting rid of them, replacing them with digital tools.  Wall Street Journal reported, “Tens of thousands of pharmaceutical sales reps have been eliminated in the U.S., creating a void that drug makers are now increasingly filling with websites, iPad apps and other digital tools to interact with doctors who prescribe their treatments.”

    I was going on my 20th year at AstraZeneca when I quit in 2002.  When I first started with the pharmaceutical division of the company in 1987, sales reps didn’t even have computers.  Notes about conversations with doctors were handwritten.  A sales rep was given certain zip codes as their territory and they had a lot of control over their day and how they interacted with doctors. The plan was to call on each doctor once a month and explain the products.

    Fast forward to the early 2000s and by that time, the reps all had handheld computers.  Instead of one representative calling on the doctors once a month, sometimes there were 5-10 representatives all calling on the same doctor with the same message every month.  Somewhere along the way, big pharma management decided that if the doctor heard a message two times, they were more likely to remember it.  That changed to 3 times, 4 times and so on until they hired so many representatives per doctor that when I left, these poor doctors had to listen to the same message delivered to them at least twice a week. 

    It turned doctors off to the idea of a pharmaceutical sales representative calling on them.  Many of them became “no see” doctors which meant they would no longer allow representatives to call on them.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “In 2009, one of every five doctors in the U.S. was what the industry calls a “no see,” … Just a year later, that jumped to one in four.”

    Before I left AstraZeneca, they were already beginning to work on some computer-based sales presentations.  Doctors were not really catching onto that idea a decade ago, but the digital market has become much more popular since then.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “AstraZeneca set up a digital marketing group in 2009 and substantially ramped up its work last year, says John McCarthy, vice president of commercial strategy and operations in the U.S. The group, which is primarily focused on marketing to health-care providers as opposed to consumers, created “AZ Touchpoints,” a website doctors can use to ask questions, order free samples and ask about insurance coverage. The site also contains brochures and other “educational materials” that doctors can print out.”

    What does this mean for the pharmaceutical sales representative job?  “Last year, AstraZeneca said it planned to eliminate 10,400 jobs by 2014, including thousands of sales positions in Western markets. The company said the cuts, amounting to about 16% of its work force, would help it save $1.9 billion a year by 2014.” 

    Looks like I left at the right time . . .

  • drdianehamilton 2:17 pm on August 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , College Degrees, Cost of Sales, Degrees in Sales, , , , , , Sales   

    Lack of Specialized Sales Training in College Business Degrees 


            Have colleges and universities prepared future sales professionals with enough skills and knowledge to be successful?  Most graduates, who find themselves in sales positions, have had very little sales training.  There are some colleges that do offer sales programs.  However, many students may have received a business degree in marketing or management thinking this would be enough.   Unfortunately often times those majors did little to prepare them for the challenges that a sales job offers. The nature of sales has changed.  There are now more women in it than ever, there are more technological challenges, there are social media options, the competition is more complex due to the international impact of the Internet . . . the list of challenges goes on and on. As more and more companies are requiring that their sales people have a college degree, especially to advance into management, colleges need to reassess what courses they offer in order to better prepare their graduates.  Perhaps courses in database management, cold calling, self-marketing, networking, male/female communications and others could be integrated into the current core curriculum.  There are plenty of colleges and universities that offer marketing degrees that have some sort of emphasis on sales training.  However, the majority of marketing classes do not teach the skills a sales person needs on a day in and day out basis.  In 2009, companies spent over $100 billion on sales and training. Should universities improve their sales programs, companies may find that they eliminate a lot of the training time and expenses they incur in order to get their new hired sales people up to speed.  Sales people also might just find that with specialized training in college, they can be more successful and earn more once they get into the real world of sales.

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