Choosing the Right Training Program for Your Sales Team

The last few decades have been a time of tremendous change for sales professionals working in life sciences. The sector has faced political pressures, witnessed the movement of doctors from private practices to hospitals and larger health center settings, experienced the infiltration of mobile devices into both our work and leisure time and seen the emergence of new treatments for conditions like Tardive Dyskinesia and other ailments. And they’ve experienced all of this alongside sales teams that are now comprised of everyone from Baby Boomers to Millennials.

Amidst this myriad of changes and challenges, finding the right training program will be a key factor differentiating successful curriculum from those that struggle. There are several different types of programs. Which is best for you?

A custom-designed program, thoughtfully developed to address your specific needs and requirements, is a popular option. Often the process begins with a comprehensive information-gathering session with a project director who is well versed in sales techniques, training protocols and the overall life sciences landscape. The resulting program, custom-designed for you, will also include whatever supplementary materials you need, from curriculum for mobile devices to e-learning courses, workshops, and more.

There are occasions, however, when an off-the-shelf option makes more sense. These time-tested programs address a broad range of issues and offer a host of solutions, and because they are readily available and don’t require additional content development, they are usually a faster and less expensive option. Look for a partner company that has a deep library of readily available training options that successfully address numerous scenarios.

Sustainment programs are typically added to either custom or off-the-shelf programs as a reinforcement solution to improve learning and knowledge retention (studies have shown that a majority of trainees forget between 50 percent and 90 percent of what they’ve learned within one week.) Sustainment programs can also be used to give your existing campaign a boost, injecting fresh energy, sharpening skills and improving results. Many solutions offer retention tools, gamification, microlearning and assessment options that make learning a continuous process.

A “blended” approach to training provides the best of both worlds and is an increasingly popular and effective choice. Illuminate and CMR Institute recently launched an alliance that allows clients of either firm to do just that: tailor a training program that mixes proven, existing solutions with innovative custom features.

Whatever your situation, in today’s complex environment, investing in a training program is the best way to ensure that your sales team is operating at its highest level.

Shaun McMahon is president and founder of Illuminate. Email Shaun at

Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network

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