Don’t work in the dark – establish your priorities

Working out your priorities – as beautifully illustrated in this fantastic LinkedIn post by Steven Bartlett – is a fundamental key to anyone’s success and it is as important to the Pharma, MedTech and Devices industry as it is to anyone else.

One thing I learned a long time ago from my own mentor is that not everything can carry the same priority. When you work in that way, as I once was, everything is haphazard and gaining focus feels impossible.

There comes a point where you must take some time out, sit down and work out everything you have got to do.

Then you need to prioritise – rank those tasks in order of importance, execute the most pressing ones first and then drive through your list, ticking your jobs off as you go. This simple process helps you get through your to-do list so much more quickly than when you’re wading through chaos.

Treat every case on its own merits

So, how can we apply this process within the industry? For example, there are 42 Integrated Care Systems, 300 Places and 1,307 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and, from my vantage point, the Pharma, MedTech and Devices industry basically treats them all identically. They put the same amount of effort into every single one of them and prioritise them all at the same level.

If we focus on the PCNs the issue with that approach of course is that some PCNs are performing better than others. If we were to plot it out on a bell curve we’d probably see the top 20 percent flying along, a rump of 60 per cent which are running along nicely and a bottom 20 percent struggling along and not quite getting to where they need to be.

So it stands to reason that if we treat all 1,307 in exactly the same way, we won’t get the optimum results we’re looking for.

Do your homework

In an ideal world, we would be able to identify that top 20 percent – but that involves researching their track record, which takes a bit of work. In the workshops I deliver, I actually teach a piece of work around that very process. It’s all about identifying the best networks through a series of simple questions that you can ask at ground level, and you do a bit of research online and then you can start to understand what’s going on.

Fundamentally, you want to know what sort of track record of working with the industry they have. Have they implemented projects resulting in change? What about redesigning pathways? Or working in an integrated manner with other system providers?

Answering these questions tells you everything you need to know about a network’s likelihood of engaging with you. You can then isolate the good ones and make your approaches.

Time is tight

The key thing to remember here is that unless you prioritise, you will spend as much time sat in front of the wrong customer as you will the right one. Time is our most precious and valuable asset, particularly when you’re working in a sales environment.

When you are targeted to grow sales, increase market access or get a product into a formulary position, you have to prioritise all the time. You have to be dealing with the right customers and executing your most important tasks every day.

So take a step back and ask yourself:

  • Are you are engaging with the right people?
  • Have you got the right Integrated Care System to work with?
  • Are you operating at place level?
  • Have you identified all the networks within the system and at place?
  • And do you know who the key stakeholders are? Not just the clinical directors but also the people who sit on the board of the network – they are equally important, and you are much more likely to get an audience with them.

It’s the same for the NHS

From an NHS perspective, it’s much the same clarion call. So much is being asked of the Primary Care Networks at the moment and also the NHS as a whole. General Practice, community service providers, hospital trusts, mental health, the voluntary sector and even the private sector – it’s just not possible for them to deliver everything they’re being asked for.

That means they will also have to prioritise and drill down into where they should put their efforts for the best possible return for the patients and the service provider.

So it’s a lesson that we can all learn – look at what the ask is and work out where you’re most likely to get the best return by focusing on the right priorities within your workload.

Scott McKenzie is an NHS management consultant who helps pharmaceutical, medical technology and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision makers. If you want to get your products fully embedded into treatment pathways we can help you. Scott has doubled revenue for his clients and can share these processes with you too.