Three-Part Harmony

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“This is one of the biggest launches we’ve had in years,” says a senior manager of sales operations.

The drug is in a new and competitive therapeutic area for a global, top 10 pharmaceutical company, and it hired a large, new sales team. It also meant that excitement was high, the stakes were high, and a whole lot of people needed to be prepared to support the product when it launched.

The Problem

The company’s sales operations team must deliver the right analytics to the field, and given the importance and excitement level for this launch, they wanted a new and innovative approach.

A typical approach involves providing data to the field, sometimes accessible via a mobile dashboard or a series of reports that reps are invited to leverage to find their own useful insights. Depending on a rep’s abilities and time, results can be uneven.

The sales operations team wanted a new analytics dashboard, believing that if it didn’t do something new to capture each rep’s attention, it would lose an opportunity to leverage the excitement this launch had generated. But building a tool for a new product launch can present challenges, especially because of extremely dynamic and fast changing business priorities.

Before a product launch, a new sales team is focused on discovering its geography, and planning its first steps. At launch, reps need to focus on executing their strategy and plan to drive immediate sales impact. When the product is more mature, reps’ competitive focus becomes more important, and other insights help identify growth opportunities.

Building three separate dashboards to meet these needs might have led to lost opportunities, as reps would have had to spend valuable time learning new tools.

The company wanted a tool that could handle all three phases, was easy to use, only displayed the information that reps needed, and could evolve from pre-launch to post-launch. But no such tool existed.

The Solution

The sales operations team partnered with ZS to develop just such a dashboard. Together they worked directly with reps to design a user-friendly mobile dashboard with a tile interface that:

  • Consumes multiple data sources, makes complex calculations and surfaces only the most helpful analysis for reps
  • During pre-launch, helps reps understand the market landscape and potential customers
  • Provides accurate and timely sales performance info at launch and guides reps with actionable insights
  • Provides post-launch insights for competitive advantage
  • Acts as a one-stop portal for the many apps and reports that reps need

“We were very thoughtful about what info would be required,” the senior sales operations manager says. “We built out the road map in a way that allows the tool to be agile. Something that was relevant in the second half of last year and is no longer required can easily be taken out and replaced with something new. We have the ability to make changes while not overcrowding it.”

The Impact

The new tool has been deployed to the sales team, which is now well into its launch. According to the sales operations team, results have been encouraging.

The tool has been very enthusiastically received by the field and HQ. “I’ve had the same role at a couple previous companies,” says a division manager, “and I haven’t seen a tool like this that evolves. It really is flexible, so we can even request changes to it. But it’s not just the adjustability. It’s also the new pieces that were made available over time. Pre-launch market insights were extremely helpful. Post-launch performance metrics were added. Both right when we needed them.”

Reps have more time to strategize. According to the team, reps have been asking higher-level, more strategic questions, indicating that more basic needs have often already been met by the tool.

The company now has a future-proof solution that can continue to evolve and be used with other products and teams. Once a system is in place, it can be difficult to make changes to it. The sales operations team made a conscious decision to plan for future changes to happen in a more agile and affordable way.

The success of the design has set a new standard. The company is now making the design innovations from this project standard for field dashboards for all other products in its portfolio.

The business takes its lead from the tech. “In the past, we had business planning templates and then connected our tools to those,” the senior sales operations manager says. “But in this case, it’s the reverse because we were able to influence the business and how people should be aware of information. The leadership team really saw value in this tool and was behind.”