In Sweden, Huthwaite International is working with the Respiratory Diseases and Infectious Diseases, Cancer and Dermatology divisions of GlaxoWellcome to develop their sales skills. The introduction of a new asthma product was the focus for reviewing current sales methods, and for the decision to ask Huthwaite International to work with the sales teams to encourage a more consultative sales approach.
GlaxoWellcome’s salespeople are presenting products to doctors who will choose whether or not to prescribe them for their patients. The aim was to differentiate the company from its competitors through developing a better understanding of the patients’, and also the doctors’, needs.
Huthwaite has delivered SPIN® Selling training in the local language and has reinforced this with SPIN® Coaching, as well as the Market Oriented Products Information Programme for the sales managers and also production managers.
Martin Kurwelly, sales manager of the Respiratory Diseases Division, said: “Our mission is to meet the needs of our doctors and patients. Huthwaite’s SPIN® techniques have developed our skills to focus on the doctor’s needs and also the skills to discuss the benefits of our products to the patients.”
Commenting on the training Rolf Wifstrand, sales manager of Infectious Diseases, Cancer and Dermatology Division said: “The training has made a tremendous difference to the way that we approach sales calls. Whereas, several years ago doctors might spend an hour with a sales representative, nowadays this is more likely to be ten or fifteen minutes. It is important that this time is used effectively. Huthwaite’s training has changed our approach, rather than purely talking about the product features, sales people are focusing on uncovering the doctor’s needs.”
“Sales calls are now much shorter, but are accomplishing a lot more because they are concentrated in the areas of interest to the doctor. We are finding that because of this, doctors are more inclined to be receptive to sales calls. In addition, the sales representatives find the increased responsibility more rewarding. They are encouraged to structure their own conversations and ask questions so that they can focus their sales conversations, rather than just talking to a set product presentation. After I had experienced Huthwaite‘s training, I was surprised that we could have approached sales in any other way.”
A vital role in Finland
In Finland the market is also highly competitive and, because of the increasing workload of the doctors, the time available for sales representatives to discuss products with them is very limited.
In order to compete with others in the market and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, GlaxoWellcome decided to focus on sales effectiveness.
“Focusing on sales effectiveness we wanted to concentrate on critical skills which have maximum impact on the customer. We carefully studied different training providers and their training programmes in order to find a partner capable of helping us to make these critical changes happen. Huthwaite’s SPIN® Selling programme meets our needs,” says Mr Kaj Storbjörk, the head of training department of GlaxoWellcome, Finland.
To date all the sales teams have participated in the SPIN® Selling programme and the feedback has been very positive, both in terms of the content of the programme and the way skills are learned in customised roleplays during the training. Shortly after, the SPIN® Manager programme was launched to reinforce the skills.
The roleplays have become a vital part of sales meetings where people brush up their skills, and the concept has been used successfully during the process of launching new products when sales teams have planned their first sales calls.
Mr Storbjörk comments: “The one-to-one selling situation is only a part of the sales job. Representatives also have to be able to effectively influence groups of people as they often meet doctors at various social occasions where they again have possibilities to discuss and promote the business. SPIN® obviously provides a solid foundation from which we can continue to improve our effectiveness on these areas in the future.”