Building internal strength

Sales & Marketing
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Creating certainty in a landscape still convulsed by the pandemic is a lofty ambition, but pharma companies can use the disruption to develop positive internal change, as well as shoring up sales.

While industry has variable influence over the reshaping of contacts with clinicians who have latched onto the benefits of telemedicine and virtual meetings, it has total control of how it structures and conducts its business.

The pandemic is a perfect opportunity to challenge established practice, introduce new ways of working and create synchronicity across departments. The silos that traditionally separated sales from marketing have been eroding in recent years, but the new climate lends itself to a united sense of purpose.

“In my 30 years of industry experience, there’s always been this gulf between the sales and marketing functions in an organisation, sometimes bordering on distrust,” says Rob Crossan, a pharma sales veteran with previous senior roles at MSD and Mundipharma.

“There has been a sense from the marketing department that they come up with fantastically-crafted plans with key selling messages and good results means the sales force applied them while bad results mean they didn’t. Wouldn’t it be good to have a clear idea of what happened; what worked and what didn’t?”

Stronger internal collaboration often tops pharma’s wish lish list with aligned sales and marketing divisions eliminating miscommunication, duplication and waste while also creating corporate harmony.

The need for focussed training and coaching is amplified in the whitepaper

Genuine Transformation: Preparing for Pharma’s New Sales Coaching Reality which examines sector dynamics and highlights practical solutions.

Crossan believes that having tools to practice and shape message delivery supercharges performances and can enhance or replace internal meeting or role-play sessions where technical and scientific data is often delivered in a sterile environment.

“By using simple technology to practice you can see how those crafted marketing plans sound. It can help identify key pieces of clinical information that people may have struggled with at the sales conference,” he says.

“It can, in some cases, reveal a better strategy and you can see how it's evolving as they talk to customers. This increases confidence and breaks down that gulf between the sales function and the marketing function in an organisation.

“What we have seen that change and improvement comes from everybody practising their messages and key clinical information.”

Luis Medina, marketing manager at Nestle Canada, who has a wealth of experience across pharmaceutical, healthcare and food industries, echoes the view that training and coaching increase value across a company’s ecosystem.

“There are benefits internally as well as externally,” he says. “2021 was a very eye-opening year where we indicated that if we brought the right tools with the right KPIs with an evolving strategy then our chances to succeed are going to be higher.

“One of the components we built in 2021 was our ability to keep the coaching and mentoring to a level that empowers them, makes them feel secure and confident that they are doing the right things. We need to leverage this going forward and 60 Seconds is something we will keep as a value for our teams.”

About the interviewees

Rob Crossan B.Sc. (Hons) MRSB is companion animal business manager at Virbac Australia. Following a brief career in Marine Biology, he has spent the last 32 years in Pharmaceutical sales, predominantly in Sales Management.  Currently combining a lifelong passion for animals with pharmaceutical sales and coaching as the Companion Animal Business Manager at Virbac Australia.


Luis Medina is marketing manager at Nestle. He has +13 years of experience in the Food, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical industry in the roles of marketing and sales. Based in 3 different countries in Europe, Latin America, and North America supporting the development of the Medical Sales teams and executing marketing strategies in the medical channel.

About 60 Seconds

60 Seconds is a remote coaching app designed to help users communicate with greater clarity through practice, coaching and measurement. It was built by a coach for coaches to deliver measurable learning momentum. For more information visit:

22 December, 2021