Magazine Article | May 11, 2006

SFA App Improves Productivity For 400-Strong Sales Force

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, April 2006

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada is one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in Canada and a subsidiary of the Novartis group, a $21 billion global company. The company had recently experienced rapid growth; its sales force had expanded by 75% in 18 months, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada’s outdated sales systems weren’t keeping up.

The company’s sales force of 400 relied on disparate methods for tracking sales, which prevented sales management from collecting comprehensive customer information. Also, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada wasn’t able to easily identify top customer targets or develop coordinated business strategies. In a recent internal survey, 82% of the company’s sales force said they were dissatisfied with their existing sales systems.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada realized it needed an SFA (sales force automation) solution and looked at several different vendors, landing on Siebel’s (now part of Oracle) Pharma Sales solution. “We chose Siebel because it offered a CRM (customer relationship management) solution explicitly for the pharmaceutical industry that could be modified over time,” says David Rylett, director of field operations for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada. To plan the most effective CRM development strategy, the company organized a 40-member team with representatives from the sales, marketing, sales operations, and IT departments. This team identified and organized the business processes affecting the CRM solution.

Once Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada chose the platform and planned the approach, it took the company just five months to develop a pilot project, and the sales force has seen improvements. The Pharma Sales system provides open visibility of different sales groups’ target market lists so the groups can coordinate efforts with one another to better fulfill Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada’s marketing strategies. “Our groups are no longer competing for the same customers,” says Daren Wilson, sales force automation manager for the company. “We improved our collection and sharing of customer profile and contact information, which has led directly to increased sales force efficiency and productivity.”