Changes in government healthcare policies are having a profound impact on how healthcare products, services, and solutions are being bought. Life sciences companies must also change how they engage with healthcare buyers in order to drive business results.


A number of leading research firms have identified the critical sales competencies that have emerged as a result of the seismic shifts occurring in the pharma/biotech space. Healthcare organizations are beginning to recognize the positive impact that sales professionals who approach their clinical and/or organizational challenges with a solution-oriented mindset, have on their business and patient outcomes, compared to those who are still clinging to the features and benefits selling model.

The President and CEO of a reputable healthcare organization stated in an online article, “Selling to ACOs (and IDNs in general) requires a more educational approach, meaning life sciences companies need to consciously shift from a manufacturer mindset and develop a solutions-oriented outlook” (2015). Many segments in the healthcare market have already adopted a shift in thinking, including a few of the forward thinking pharma companies. However, the pharma industry can no longer afford to lag so far behind other industries in honing the B2B skills of its sales force.

Solution Selling® for Pharma enables salespeople to work collaboratively with healthcare providers (HCPs) to identify and create brand-specific solutions to clinical or organizational challenges. Solution Selling® for Pharma is a collection of methods that includes tools, job aids, techniques, and procedures that help salespeople and team members align their selling activities to the needs of healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders.

Intended Audiences

Solution Selling® for Pharma is designed for sales representatives, account managers (including national account executives), sales managers, sales support specialists, and marketing leaders who want to implement best clinical selling practices at each verifiable step of a dynamic sales process. The following key roles should anticipate an increased proficiency in critical sales competencies related to a solution-centric sales approach:

  • Primary Care Sales Professionals
  • Specialty Sales Professionals
  • Regional/National Sales Managers
  • Group Practices Account Managers
  • Hospital Sales Professionals
  • Medical Science Liaisons
  • Sales Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Product Marketing Managers

What is included in the Solution Selling® for Pharma program?

Program Objectives

Solution Selling® for Pharma enables life sciences sales and marketing professionals to:

  • Align to how healthcare buyers buy
  • Effectively target healthcare decision-makers and stimulate their interest
  • Win competitive opportunities
  • Engage in a consultative, diagnostic, clinical conversations
  • Differentiate and quantify the value of therapeutic solutions
  • Access decision-makers
  • Leverage a common selling process and taxonomy across the organization

Pre-Workshop Preparation

Solution Selling® for Pharma begins with a set of five MicroLessons, an eLearning module about completing a critical appraisal of a clinical study, and a critical appraisal activity to familiarize the participant with essential concepts of how healthcare buyers buy.


Interactive Application Workshop

Solution Selling® for Pharma is a hands-on application workshop facilitated by a highly qualified life sciences consultant. Each SPI Solution Selling® for Pharma facilitator has been certified to rigorous standards, and they each bring over a decade of life science industry sales experience to ensure their credibility and enhance facilitated discussions. Alternatively, SPI can certify client instructors for in-house delivery and coaching, at the client’s option.

Workshop Topical Agenda

Solution Selling® for Pharma is a modular program, designed to be tailored to the unique requirements of each client. The standard instructor-led workshop is a three day, highly interactive program, and incorporates in-classroom application exercises and tools.

Introduction to Solution Selling® for Pharma

Day 1

  • Introduction to Collaborative Selling
    • Exercises: Video, key positioning questions, and expectations
  • The New Healthcare Buyer
    • Distinct Buying Phases and related concerns of buyers
    • How the Buyer landscape has dramatically changed
    • How to align your selling efforts to today’s informed, expert buyer
  •  Situational Fluency, Sales Personae, & Dynamic Sales Process
    • Three emerging sales personae and related skills you have to put into practice
      • The Micro-marketer, the Visualizer, and the Value Driver
    • How building situational fluency is essential in succeeding with today’s buyer
    • What makes sales process dynamic and why it’s important in today’s environment
    • Executing the right sales process for the right sales situation – one size doesn’t fit all!
      • Exercise: Critical appraisal & linking findings to messages
  • The Micro-Marketer Persona
    • How to create your own personal brand and the value of it in today’s marketplace
    • Generate leads with modern approaches to pre-call planning and demand creation
    • Identify the business issues and missed opportunities that drive opportunities
    • Use a framework for effectively creating demand in your marketplace:
      • Targeting – Identify high potential prospects with compelling reasons to act
      • Listening, monitor, and research– Set targeted keyword searches to be alerted of trigger events and leverage social media to build knowledge
      • Networking and participating – Use social media to build connections, have conversations, influence perspectives and provide insight
      • Creating demand – Craft and deliver various, targeted messages to stimulate interest
    • Exercises: Create your own personal brand
    • Exercises: Select one of the live opportunities among the team to use for case work
    • Exercises: Identify critical business issues among individuals in your chosen account
    • Exercises: Depict how individual critical business issues in the account are interrelated
    • Exercises: Craft a demand generation plan and supporting, targeted messaging
    • Exercises: Identify specific social media activities you can put into use after training
  • The Visualizer Persona
    • How to effectively research the account and individuals before the meeting
    • Open the meeting with actions that address initial concerns of the buyer
    • How to get buyers to share their most pressing critical business issues
      • Exercise: Prepare questions and positioning for the opening portion of a sales meeting
      • Exercise: Role-play the opening portion of a sales meeting
    • How to conduct consultative sales conversations that educate buyers
    • How to effectively prepare questions to explore during a consultative sales conversation
    • How to position the capabilities of your unique solution
    • How to position the potential, quantifiable value and differentiation of your solution
      • Exercise: Align your capabilities to the account situation
      • Exercise: Create a meeting/call plan
      • Exercise: Complete all day 1 team related assignments

Day 2

  • How to apply a conversation model for educating buyers on the scope of their situation and the required capabilities to address it (“vision creation”)
  • How to apply a conversation model for challenging buyers to explore different capabilities than that of their initial approach or specific requirements (“vision re-engineering”)
  • How to apply a conversation model that focuses on enhancing an existing vision of a solution
    • Exercise: Prepare diagnostic questions that could be used in a consultative sales conversation with your target prospect
    • Exercise: Role-play a consultative sales conversation (diagnosing an admitted business issue and creating a vision of a solution)
    • Exercise: Role-play a consultative sales conversation (re-framing or re-engineering an existing set of buying requirements)
  • The Value-Driver Person
    • How to tactfully uncover sponsorship and decision-making authority
    • How to negotiate access to decision-makers
    • How to effectively use email to qualify and control sales cycles and next steps
    • How to uncover and influence a prospect’s approach to evaluating your solution
      • Exercise: Determine the benefits of next step/collaboration plans
    • How to mitigate buyer risk through proof and value
    • Identify and preemptively address issues with the implementation of your solution so it doesn’t kill your deal
    • Sell and close with value by using formal value analysis and success criteria approaches
      • Exercise: Create a next step/evaluation plan for your opportunity

Day 3

  • How to effectively reach a “win-win” outcome
  • Identify common buying and procurement tactics of effective negotiators
  • Employ key seller considerations when trying to close a deal
    • Exercise: Create a Buyer bommunication email, Draft collaboration plan, Success
      Criteria, and prepare for team presentation
  • Team Presentations
    • Finalize Presentations
    • Conduct Presentations and Debriefs
  • Getting Started
    • How to begin using the process, tools and language
    • Employ “above the funnel” and “in the funnel” activities on all new opportunities
    • How to conduct opportunity reviews for maximum results

WorkshopInstructional Materials

The Solution Selling® for Pharma workshop is designed with adult learning principles in mind. The program’s instructional materials facilitate participant understanding by using a mix of media to transmit and reinforce key learning points. SPI provides full-color training content in electronic interactive workbooks, for use on participants’ mobile devices or laptop computers, as well as color reference charts, animated presentations, and video content, where appropriate.


Clinical Selling Competencies Gap Identifier

Download this helpful tool to determine if your sales team is ready to sell in the emerging age of evidence-based medicine.