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Aligning for Impact: Amplifying Your Life Sciences’ Commercial Success

Written By: Ed Gutshall

November 21, 2023 – 4 min read

As someone who’s helped life science organizations develop high-performing commercial teams, I’ve seen the negative impact of misalignment between marketing and sales.  Despite everything that’s known about the critical importance of alignment, it still surprises me how many life sciences organizations still operate in silos, either partially or fully. They have all the data, research, and best practices at their disposal, yet they fail to operate in lockstep, neglecting the impact of their unified power. It’s like they’re standing there with the key to success in their hands, but can’t unlock the door to realize their full potential.

By now you’ve got 2024’s strategy locked in. A perfect time to examine how you can create better alignment between marketing and sales to enable execution excellence and meet those goals.

Alignment of Systems, Culture, and Accountability for Sales Execution Excellence

Integrating Marketing and Sales Technologies

I don’t think anyone would argue the benefits of interdepartmental alignment. There is plenty of research that points to the fact that when brand and commercial teams are tightly linked, they are more likely to meet revenue goals. A recent study underscores this, finding that 81% of companies that exceeded revenue objectives had alignment between these functions.

One of the core drivers of alignment is integrating technologies for brand awareness and demand generation with commercial operations and sales tools. Shared systems allow seamless integration of healthcare professional (HCP) data between groups to coordinate high-value customer interactions.

Connected marketing and sales systems make commercial teams 77% more likely to hit revenue goals. Extensive integration between awareness-driving and sales-focused technologies also strongly correlates with overall sales-marketing alignment. Systems are also integral components of your sales reps’ personalized learning journeys, facilitating a deeper understanding of crucial product, regulatory, and competitive data and enabling enhanced performance and engagement with HCPs. APIs and interfaces should enable real-time data flows between systems to coordinate targeting and engagement.

81% of the companies that beat their revenue goals describe their sales and marketing groups as “somewhat” or “completely” aligned.

Act-On software

Fostering a Unified Culture

Culture is the invisible force that shapes an organization. Fostering a collaborative culture cannot be understated—it is the catalyst for game-changing business transformation. Building a strong culture is about breaking down silos, ensuring both marketing and sales teams speak the same language, and empathizing with each other’s roles.

Leadership plays a pivotal role by clearly communicating and cascading expectations to their teams and keeping them accountable for collaboration. Cross-functional workshops, roleplaying, and secondments can go a long way to enhance mutual understanding. Documenting and optimizing engagement processes together also builds unity.

By building a strong culture of cohesion and collaboration, commercial teams will be better able to execute high-impact campaigns and improve HCP engagement.

Instituting Shared Ownership and Accountability

The third, but arguably most essential alignment pillar is shared ownership and accountability between brand and commercial teams. Historically, these groups have operated with separate objectives and reporting. However, when brand and commercial teams have joint metrics and standards tied to business goals, they are more successful.

Accountability emerges as the linchpin that drives the transformative behaviors required for success. Without accountability permeating every level of the organization, life science sales teams face substantial risks, including a potential erosion of trust within the industry, ultimately putting their own success and reputation on the line.

Mutually defined KPIs for awareness, access, conversion rates, and sales performance must be instituted. Both functions should be held accountable for results through connected planning, measurement, and reporting processes rather than the customary finger-pointing.

This unified approach to measurement and accountability will motivate peak execution across brand and commercial teams to deliver compelling omnichannel campaigns and customer experiences.

The Bottom Line for Life Sciences Organizations

The key takeaway for life sciences organizations is clear: strategic alignment of marketing and sales is a proven path to reaping substantial benefits. To excel in execution in 2024 and beyond, prioritize the alignment of systems, culture, and accountability.

Integrated marketing and sales systems empower both teams to engage customers with precision and consistency. Fostering a collaborative culture and mutual understanding facilitates seamless hand-offs between functions, while connected planning and shared accountability ensure adherence to agreed-upon standards, motivating peak performance.

With these core elements in place, brands and commercial teams will seamlessly execute omnichannel campaigns, engage HCPs effectively, shorten sales cycles, and consistently achieve their business objectives.

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