Success Story in Brief

This case study illustrates how Purdue Pharma’s sales representatives are applying thinking-based tools and skills to make every second with their customers count.

2000

Total members of the sales organization who have taken the HBDI® Assessment

About Purdue

Purdue Pharma L.P., is a privately held pharmaceutical company founded by physicians and now headquartered in Stanford, Connecticut. It is a member of a network of independent associated companies engaged in the research, development, product and marketing of prescription and over-the-counter medicines and healthcare products. An industry leader in pain medication research, Purdue is distinguished by its pioneering research, products and medical programs directed toward alleviating pain.

objective

Objective

To shorten the sales cycle and increase sales in an increasingly challenging selling environment.

In a selling environment that hinges on making a quick connection, Purdue Pharma recognizes that every second a sales representative spends with the healthcare practitioner is critical. But from gatekeepers limiting who can meet with the physician to the increased number of physicians working within hospitals or integrated health systems that have strict administrative dictates on how doctors spend their time, making those quick connections has become both more challenging and more important.

Adding to the pressure, each Purdue representative now has a larger geography to cover than ever before. To continue to increase sales, Purdue needed a way to help its sales representatives quickly engage, educate and move their customers to a decision so everyone’s time is spent productively.

Challenge

Find a way to help sales representatives quickly engage, educate and move their customers to a decision so everyone’s time is spent productively.

Like many sales organizations, Purdue Pharma’s sales team operates in a challenging, ever-evolving environment. The world of pharmaceutical sales has been rocked by a series of changes—both internal and external—over the past decade. In the boom years, the ranks of the profession had swelled into the hundreds of thousands, creating not only more competition but also a somewhat inevitable customer backlash—as they grew tired of being inundated with sales calls and visits, many physicians began giving their gatekeepers strict instructions about who could see them and for how long.

Eventually, the market retracted and the numbers of reps began to shrink considerably, but the pattern was set: Doctors now had a routine response to pharmaceutical sales professionals: “I’m busy. I don’t have time to see you today.”

Today, Purdue recognizes that radical changes in the healthcare industry are only making this tough selling environment even tougher. With more group practices and a larger number of physicians working within hospitals or integrated health systems, even if the doctors want to talk to the salesperson, there are strict administrative dictates on how they spend their time.

Solution

Give people the tools and skills to recognize and adapt to their customers’ thinking preferences for faster, more productive and more targeted discussions.

Looking at how someone thinks goes deeper than their outward behaviors and personality to the thought processes that drive their communications and buying decisions.

The company realized that staying competitive in this new environment would require a sophisticated yet practical method their sales professionals could easily apply to prepare for their calls, quickly connect with their customers and make the most of every interaction.

The brain-based premise of the HBDI® and Whole Brain® Model was appealing because thinking preferences impact how someone behaves, focuses their attention and makes decisions. Looking at how someone thinks goes deeper than their outward behaviors and personality—which may be affected by external factors—to the thought processes that drive their communications and buying decisions.

Results

“Sales representatives are finding they can connect with a customer they’ve been up against a wall with for years.” –Tiffany McMacken, Senior Manager of Sales Training Development, Purdue Pharma

More than 2,000 people at Purdue, including the entire sales force, district managers, regional managers and area managers, have now completed the HBDI® assessment and subsequent training. McMacken says the sales organization is reporting a significant increase in their effectiveness since they began applying a Whole Brain® approach to selling, specifically by:

  • Making the most of each interaction
  • Increasing the amount of time the healthcare practitioner is willing to spend with the sales representative
  • Shortening the selling cycle
  • Improving overall sales results

Because the entire sales organization is applying Whole Brain® Thinking, they have also seen improved internal communication between the sales representatives and their managers, and between managers and their team.

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