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Products & Services Sales Leadership Sales Training

Factors That Drive Results for Biopharmaceutical Sales Training Programs

ID: PSM-355


43 Info Graphics

32 Data Graphics

290+ Metrics

34 Narratives

50 Best Practices

Pages: 88

Published: 2019

Delivery Format: Shipped


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More than ever, strong field sales training is a "must" for biopharma manufacturers seeking to place knowledgeable, productive and effective reps in front of physicians and other key customers.

Best Practices, LLC undertook benchmarking research to identify successful technologies, delivery approaches, performance measurement processes, resource levels, organizational structures, and critical training venues that drive effectiveness in high-performing sales training departments within leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

This report will enable pharma sales and training leaders to evaluate and compare the performance of their sales training organizations with those of industry peers, identify improve opportunities, and defend investment decisions in pursuit of a best-in-class field sales force.

Industries Profiled:
Biotech; Pharmaceutical; Medical Device; Manufacturing; Consumer Products; Diagnostic; Chemical; Health Care; Biopharmaceutical; Clinical Research; Laboratories; Professional Services

Companies Profiled:
Allergan; Arbor; Astellas; AstraZeneca; Avion Pharmaceuticals; LLC; Baxter Healthcare; Bayer; Biogen; Celgene; Dr Reddy's Laboratories; Eisai; Eli Lilly; EMD Serono; EryDel; Genentech; Grifols; Ipsen; Janssen; Jazz Pharmaceuticals; Johnson & Johnson; Lundbeck; Merck; Novartis; OTSUKA; Pernix Therapeutics; Pfizer; Sanofi; Shire; Strategic Outcomes; Sunovion; Takeda Pharmaceuticals; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd; UCB Pharma; Valeant; Verastem Oncology; Zydus Cadila

Study Snapshot

Best Practices, LLC engaged 56 sales training leaders from 36 pharmaceutical and biotech companies through a benchmarking survey. Research analysts also conducted six deep-dive executive interviews with selected benchmark participants.

Key topics covered in this report include:

  • Sales training budget and resources management
  • Formal sales training curriculum
  • Sales training collaboration with various stakeholder groups
  • Sales training content development and delivery by internal staff and vendors
  • Technologies used to deliver training
  • Trends in sales training

Key Findings

Select key insights uncovered from this report are noted below. Detailed findings are available in the full report.

  • Training via mobile devices is gaining popularity: Learning management systems (LMS) with e-learning portals are mostly used by training departments. However, mobile devices deliveries are claimed to be more effective for pushing out sales training with nearly 80% of the companies either currently using or planning to deploy the technology within the next year.

  • Sales training budget averaged $5.2M: Total sales training budget for participated companies averaged $5.16 million (US) in 2018. Participants allocate an average of 37% of the budget to train new talents and 25% for ad hoc training and POA meetings.

  • Patient centricity is the top training concern: Over two-third of participants rated patient centricity as the major issue in sales training. Around 60% of the participants expected to focus on building sales force business acumen and developing programs for post-training reinforcement in a coming year.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary3
Research Overview
Hallmarks of Excellence
Key Metrics at a Glance
Key Trends at a Glance
Benchmark Findings
Sales Training Program Operations & Models12
Sales Training Content, Delivery & Development26
Technology Issues & Applications39
Sales Training Budget & Resources50
Organizational Structure & Scope61
Trends in Pharmaceutical Sales Training67
Best Practices of the Benchmark Class72
Participant Demographics81

    List of Charts & Exhibits

    I. Sales Training Program Operations & Models

    • Extent to which sales training function focuses its efforts on training each of the listed employee groups
    • Attributes of sales training program
    • Level of collaboration that the sales training function has with each stakeholder group
    • Case study: Training model driving full stakeholder partnerships
    • Interview narrative: Train the training team to build empowered partnerships
    • Sales training function's performance measurement process
    • Aligning program with corporate objectives and values
    • Leader-led sales training model
    • Sales training leaders sharing their viewpoint on management development
    • Learning development continuum as a sales training framework
    • Interview narrative: Continuous learning maximizes investment in sales force
    • Effective metrics for evaluating the quality of the sales training function
    • Percentage of sales rep trainees achieving their first-year sales goals

    II. Sales Training Content, Delivery & Development

    • Kinds of sales training included in an organization's formal curriculum
    • Understanding physicians and patients to improve future engagements
    • Voices from the field: Developing team skills by advanced training
    • Percentage of formal (scheduled) sales training content developed and delivered by internal staff, external vendors, internal partners & SMEs, and external co-promotion partners
    • Interview narrative: Internal content development
    • Training delivery approaches
    • Best practice from interview narrative on determining the best channels for different types of training
    • Additional effective sales training approaches
    • Drivers and challenges of virtual classroom usage
    • Lessons learned in virtual classroom training
    • Venue used for sales training
    • Percentage of total time typically allotted for sales training at annual and regional meetings (such as POA)

    III. Technology Issues & Applications

    • Applications of technology currently in use or to be deployed within the next year to deliver sales training
    • Interview narrative on adoption of emerging technologies
    • Interview narratives on innovating to fully exploit existing technologies
    • Effectiveness of each of the technologies currently in use or to be deployed within the next year for delivering or pushing out training
    • Effectiveness of each of the technologies currently in use or to be deployed within the next year as a pull-through training tool
    • Interview narratives on online modules
    • Percentage of core training delivered by iPad or mobile devices, and the successful use of mobile training applications
    • Interview narratives on the rising interest in gamification
    • Best use, pros and cons of different types of training technologies
    • Interview narratives on sales training’s relationship with IT

    IV. Sales Training Budget & Resources

    • Anticipated change in company’s sales training budget over the next two years
    • Successful or innovative practices used to stretch the sales training budget in times of flat or reduced corporate funding
    • Sales training budget per $1M in revenue, sales training budget per rep trained, and sales training budget per new hire
    • Total number of FTEs working in the sales training function (including contractors who report to the head of sales training)
    • Sales training budget for recent fiscal year (USD); and percentage of total sales training budget allocated to training new hires, outsourcing training services, and ad hoc training and POA meetings
    • Percentage of all sales training devoted to products
    • Average number of days of sales training provided per employee
    • Number of training days required per rep for a new product launch
    • Total number of employees who received sales training during most recently completed fiscal year
    • Average number of products carried per rep

    V. Organizational Structure & Scope

    • Organizational structure of sales training
    • Job titles of the persons heading the sales training function within benchmarked companies and the persons to whom the heads of sales training report
    • Global regions covered by sales forces
    • Proximity of sales training team to marketing
    • Interview narrative on building strong internal partnerships

    VI. Trends in Pharmaceutical Sales Training

    • Level of attention to be paid to sales training issues in the year ahead
    • Interview narratives on reinforcement training
    • Interview narratives on the challenges faced in measuring the impact of sales training

    VII. Best Practices of the Benchmark Class

    • Best practices of benchmark participants for effective sales training - Alignment and engagement
    • Best Practice: Training focuses on needs of learners and internal partners
    • Best practices of benchmark participants for effective sales training - Reinforcement and effective models
    • Interview narrative on video practice sessions
    • Best practices of benchmark participants for effective sales training - Management effectiveness, curriculum and customer focus
    • Interview narrative on acting on external feedback to make improvements to training
    • Best practices of benchmark participants for effective sales training - Measurement, continuous learning and technology
    • Interview narrative on continuing education

    VIII. Participant Demographics

    • Job title of benchmark participants
    • Therapeutic areas covered by the sales force(s) of benchmark companies
    • Revenue and products supported by benchmark companies’ sales force