How to Make National Sales Meeting Workshops Matter

By June 30, 2020January 22nd, 2021LTEN Focus On Training


How to Make National Sales Meeting Workshops Matter

Selling Skills – By Steve Boller

National sales meetings (NSM) are a frequent, recurring investment most  organizations make in their sales force. Are you making the most of yours?

New representatives need support and seasoned reps need re-skilling. In person opportunities to connect and try new skills have obvious value. But it can be easy to do the same things year after year.  Before long, the national sales meeting cycle can become a closed loop and fail to adjust to changing business needs.

As you probably are aware, today’s reps find access to physicians extremely limited, if not non-existent. Physicians have probably already formed their opinion on your mature brand, and the access environment can make it challenging to get your new brand or indication in front of them at all.

The selling skills reps need in 2020 are undeniably different than what was required in years past. Objection handling, accurate detailing and vanilla sales tactics are still of use, but today’s reps need so much more to be successful.

With these challenges in mind, consider focusing on these themes for your next NSM.

  1. Empathy: Most of your reps were attracted to the field in the first place because they empathize with patients on some level. Physicians likely gravitated toward  medicine for the same reason … but their empathy can become buried by the constant influx of patients and their preexisting beliefs around what works and what doesn’t for a certain patient type. Plan sessions that help your reps connect to their own personal empathy while building skills such as storytelling so they can translate that empathy and sense of urgency to physicians and office staff.
  2. Strategic Thinking: We teach reps what to do once they get to speak with a physician, but what about when they can’t get a meeting or even get into the office? Today’s reps need to develop their ability to make a long-term plan, generate tactical options and adjust dynamically as conditions change. They need to see the big picture more than ever before, but they may not have been introduced to this type of thinking in previous sales roles.
  3. Replay-ability: This theme is not a selling skill, but it is an important consideration when thinking about how to maximize your NSM programming.  Sometimes, budget may be the factor that limits your ability to do something new or innovative. To remove this barrier, plan to reuse your national sales meeting session content for other purposes. For example, you might create an NSM experience that can later be integrated into new-hire training for a period of years. Doing so will exponentially enhance the impact of your training, as new reps who join the organization in years to come will benefit from the same experience your NSM attendees did the first time the training was used. The pace of change in our industry obviously limits replay-ability in many cases, but even one to two years of runway for an experience can make a big difference when it comes to ROI.

Steve Boller is a market development director at TiER1 Performance. He can be reached at


About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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