In this series, PDG’s Ann Stott, a 20+ year veteran of the Life Science industry, shares her perspective on how to become more strategic in product launch planning. In the first installment, Ann discussed how Life Science Product Launch had changed; in this post, she shares strategies for succeeding in the new environment.
Q: What are some tips for thriving in this new product launch environment?
Ann Stott: It is beneficial to take a portfolio view, looking at all product launches over a three-year period. Not only do you create a launch plan for each product but you create an overall launch portfolio plan for all of your products. A launch portfolio plan helps to optimize your events and balances activities across all launches. It helps to maximize messages to your audiences and minimizes the time your sales representatives have out of the field. Launch portfolio optimization helps ensure adequate funding, supports a better commercial strategy, and can help get launch events to market more quickly.
Q: What is a Launch Toolkit, and how does it help manage the launch portfolio?
AS: The loss of intellectual and organizational knowledge is a common challenge in the life science field. As people move on or get promoted to different positions, companies lose knowledge of past product launches. To gain continuity, they need to retain information from employees about previous launches.
Creating a Launch Toolkit is a big help in retaining knowledge. A Launch Toolkit describes the process of a product launch and captures information when the launch is complete.
Another way to combat knowledge loss is to develop a Launch University. The Launch University can be a one-day meeting or a virtual meeting. It is a time where you bring people together who have done product launches within the past three to four years. The Launch University is a venue to discuss what went well what didn’t go well and get the expertise of lessons learned from previous launches. You can pull that knowledge from employees who have moved on to other positions in the organization. Experience is the best teacher, but that information needs to be shared to make a difference!
Q: Are there any additional challenges you would like to highlight?
AS: Another challenge in product launch training is the tendency to view a product launch as a one-time event. I think successful launches involve continuous training; there needs to be pull-through and post-launch guidance. It is also helpful to capture objections that reps hear in the field; this can give you new material on how to handle objections about the product. Often times training falls off once the initial launch is complete, and pull-through and performance support are not provided. Continuous learning helps to keep people engaged and sharpen their skills.
In the next entry in this series, Ann will cover the role of the Learning Team in product launch. For more information about PDG's Life Science offerings click here.
Ann Stott is the Vice President, Advisory Services at Performance Development Group. She leads the life sciences practices, focusing on pharmaceuticals, health care, biotechnology, and medical devices. Her extensive consulting experience is used to grow the PDG advisory services capabilities. Ann is an accomplished, respected, and energetic leader with more than twenty years of experience in the corporate training environment.