New Sales Models for European Pharma: Building Partnerships in Solution Selling

Video Transcript – Chris Morgan, Principal

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about becoming a trusted partner to our customers. And that’s a very worthy ambition. But the question is, how do we go about achieving it?

So obviously there’s a lot going on here, but here’s a few thoughts. One of them is about what it is not. So you don’t become a partner to someone by saying, “I want to become your trusted partner.” It’s a bit like saying to someone, “I want to be your friend.” It’s scary and off-putting. Instead, you have to earn that partnership. How do you do that? Well, one idea is to be interested rather than interesting. The important thing for the customer is that they believe you are genuinely interested in what their problems are, and interested in solving them, rather than just trying to push your agenda.

Related to that is a thing not to do. Don’t jump in too quickly with a solution. So a lot of pharma people have been trained to do this for years. We’ve been trained to sell the solution very quickly. But if you do that too quickly, the customer doesn’t really believe that you’re trying to address their problem. They think you’ve got something to sell.

The third thing is around creating discontinuous events. So there’s a long history of the relationship between the pharma industry and their customers, which has established the way that people think of you. The necessary thing here is to create some discontinuity in there, something which disrupts that flow—so some new face to the account, a new idea, something which is going to cause them to stop and think of you a little differently.

The final thing is about managing internally. A partner expects you to represent them to your company as much as you represent the company to them. They want to feel like you’re on their side. So there’s a few thoughts in there, but the key thing, I think, is that to become a trusted partner, we don’t get that just by wanting it to happen. We have to earn it. And we earn it through listening and through authenticity.