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Slumps in Pharmaceutical Profitability Tied to Insufficient Management Training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to slumping profitability in the current pharmaceutical sales industry, it is easy to point a finger at a shrinking sales force, the economic downturn and strict government regulations. But new data from the 2009 Leadership Skills Survey, conducted by pharmaceutical consulting firm DELTA POINT, Inc. (, indicates that the root of the problem actually rests with the productivity of sales associates. More importantly, their productivity directly depends on the robust training of selling and relationship-building skills of new and seasoned managers alike. According to the survey results, without such development, managers cannot properly empower sales associates to meet and exceed their goals.

"Through the 2009 Leadership Skills Survey, we discovered that the success of a pharmaceutical sales rep is determined by this person's ability to foster meaningful customer relationships and create beneficial dialogue with customers -- which then generates results," says Jerry Acuff, DELTA POINT's CEO. "Yet all this stems from the manager's abilities as a skilled leader and trainer. In fact, over 90 percent of our survey respondents said it is the manager's responsibility to improve the sales representative's skills."

Specifically, the 2009 Leadership Skills Survey explored the training needs of sales associates and their managers. Various professionals within the pharmaceutical industry completed the surveys -- from district sales managers to marketing directors to vice presidents. The pool of respondents represented 20 different pharmaceutical companies, including eight of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies nationwide. Officially released this week, the study's key findings include:

  • Over 90 percent of respondents believe it is the manager's responsibility to assist the sales reps in building customer connections.
  • Approximately two-thirds of respondents think their companies don't provide adequate training around sales skills and relationship building for managers.
  • A significant gap exists between the importance placed on skills that enhance customer relationships and the training structure and opportunities that pharmaceutical companies are currently providing managers.

Despite the need for stronger managerial training, as well as greater education among the sales force, only 32 percent of respondents indicated that their companies offer a formalized program for improving sales skills. Meanwhile, a mere 34 percent receive training that is dedicated to the specific concerns related to improving customer relationships, and particularly those of a more challenging nature.

For more information about the 2009 Leadership Skills Survey, email


As a consulting company that works mostly with pharmaceutical companies, DELTA POINT focuses on improving outcomes to help brands that are facing challenges whether it is launching a new product, underperforming due to a noisy marketplace and/or facing stiff competition, or having difficulties in communicating the brand message. DELTA POINT works with marketing, sales management, sales training and sales operations as a partner in attaining business success through improving sales messaging and providing its clients with a proven method of building, sustaining and growing substantive business relationships.


    Jerry Acuff

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