The Role of Company Culture and Motivation in Field Force Transformation

Written By: Performance Development Group

June 15, 2023 – 6 min read

Over the past 20 years, the interaction between life sciences sales representatives and healthcare professionals (HCPs) has undergone a significant transformation. The traditional methods of wining and dining prospects or engaging in leisurely activities such as golf to foster long-term business relationships have become obsolete. The COVID-19 pandemic has further hindered in-person meetings, leading to a reliance on alternative communication methods such as phone calls, emails, video conferences, and other digital outreach platforms.

This transition has brought several challenges to the industry. Some sales representatives have opted to leave the field in pursuit of roles that offer more personal interaction. Meanwhile, others have “quietly quit,” doing just enough to avoid attracting attention. How can life science sales leaders overcome these seemingly insurmountable obstacles? The key lies in enhancing company culture and gaining a deeper understanding of the motivations driving their sales representatives.

The Influence of Culture in a Sales Environment

Company culture has a significant influence on the success of a life sciences sales rep. According to the Harvard Business Review,  there is often a gap between the existing culture and the desired culture needed to support and advance a company’s goals and strategies.

A strong sales culture should be exhibited from the first day of onboarding to have a positive impact on the sales reps, the sales leader, and the company.

A Strong Sales Culture and Onboarding Strategy Can Reap Big Benefits

A strong sales culture should be exhibited from the first day of onboarding to positively impact the sales reps, the sales leader, and the company. According to Harvard Business Review, a poor company culture can lead to decreased productivity in employees who may struggle without sufficient onboarding. It can also result in lower confidence in their new roles, worsened levels of engagement, and an increased risk of jumping ship when they see a new, more exciting opportunity elsewhere. Additionally, Forbes reports that a successful onboarding strategy that includes a strong sales culture reduces attrition and increases engagement, which can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction as well as the company’s bottom line.

A strong sales culture is comprised of several key elements that may vary depending on your company size, leadership team, and other factors. These elements include a collaborative and supportive work environment, a clear statement of goals and realistic expectations, and ample training and development opportunities. Additionally, consistent communication and feedback, a continuous improvement mindset, and a system for recognizing and rewarding employees are essential components of a robust sales culture. It’s crucial to tailor your sales culture to the unique needs and characteristics of your sales team and organization, ensuring the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders.

The Power of Motivation to Drive Sales Performance

There’s a distinct difference between a person’s ability to do their job and their desire to do their job. There’s also a debate among sales leadership about what it takes to motivate sales representatives to go above and beyond to consistently hit and exceed targets.

Individual Motivation is Not a One-Size Fits All Approach

Understanding the individual motivations of employees is crucial for enhancing their performance in the workplace. A one-size-fits-all approach to motivating sales reps is not effective, as different factors drive different people. What inspires one person to perform may not be the same for another. Therefore, it is essential to customize your approach to inspire their best performance by gaining insight into each individual’s motivators.

For instance, certain field reps might be driven by financial incentives, like bonuses or salary increases. For these individuals, providing monetary rewards can serve as a potent motivator to boost their productivity. On the other hand, recognition and acclaim could be the primary driving force for other employees. Appreciating their dedication and publicly commending their achievements can significantly inspire them.

As a sales leader, it is essential to comprehend the factors that drive team members, enabling you to establish a work environment that promotes optimal performance. By investing time to recognize each individual’s motivators, you can customize your approach and develop a workplace that supports their success.

As a sales leader, it is essential to understand the factors that drive your team members so that you can establish a positive work environment and promote optimal performance.

Strategies for Discovering Your Team Members’ Motivators

  1. Ask open-ended questions: Initiate conversations with your sales reps and ask open-ended questions to understand their interests, goals, and what they find fulfilling about their work. Encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas openly.
  2. Observe their behaviors: Observe the behavior and reactions of team members in various situations. Pay attention to instances when they appear energized, engaged, or passionate about their tasks. Additionally, take note of any recurring patterns or preferences in their actions.
  3. Review past successes: Consider your sales team’s previous accomplishments and determine the factors that motivated them in those situations. Did they respond to recognition, financial rewards, challenging assignments, autonomy, or another driving force? Utilize these past successes as a guide to comprehend their motivational triggers.
  4. Provide options: Present various options and opportunities for team members to discover their primary interests. For instance, give them alternatives in projects, tasks, or responsibilities, and observe which selections they are drawn to.
  5. Foster open communication: Foster an environment that promotes open communication enabling team members to comfortably share their motivations, aspirations, and concerns. Encourage frequent feedback and check-ins to enhance your comprehension of their forces.

Summing it Up

Tackling field force transformation might feel intimidating, especially when dealing with external factors outside your control. However, you can start using strategies right now to conquer these challenges. When employees feel appreciated, acknowledged, and motivated, they become more engaged, dedicated, and efficient. This leads to better sales performance, reduced staff turnover, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately, greater business success.

By investing in your organization’s culture and prioritizing team member’s motivation you will help your field force to reach new heights and drive transformative outcomes.

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