Is Your Pharma Sales Force Letting You Down?

 Pharma Sales letting you down?

Sales letting you down?

In the year 2013, pharmaceutical companies across North America and Europe laid off a large chunk of their sales force due to inflation. Layoffs across industries were rampant and plummeting revenues made it impossible for Pharma Organizations to sustain their entire sales force. In short, the Pharma Industry – suffered. Fast forward to 2015 and Pharma companies still suffer – this time at the hands of their own sales force. It’s true – when a sales force does not perform to its optimum best or fails to reach sales targets the team/individual lets the organization down. The reason is lack of efficient and cost-effective training.

The problem exists at the very base – at the first rung of the ladder. The Pharma industry suffers desperately from a shortage of skills, skilled labor and processing capabilities. There is a lacuna and an ever growing shortfall between output from universities and demand by the pharmaceutical and health care industries for science and engineering graduates who have the ability to rapidly contribute to success in the Pharmaceutical business environment. In the light of this disparity, it is essential for organizations to hand-hold their employees and provide them with proper training before they send them out into the word with a product to sell. For all the time wasted and hoards of money spent on hiring trainers to train their globally-dispersed sales force, the result is inconsistent training across geographies. The ever-changing landscape of the pharmaceutical industry does not make things easier. Indefinite job roles merge into one another and demand that the Pharma sales force is not only adept at sales but doubles up as an excellent marketing force as well. It’s no wonder that companies are let down by their sales force.

The need of the hour is successful training that will help build leadership skills needed to navigate the complex and changing landscape of the industry. Besides being a time-saving, cost effective solution for the Pharmaceutical Industry, eLearning provides consistency of content and delivery. It is available 24/7 and can be accessed from any location with suitable inter-/intra-net access. Given the mobile nature of the pharmaceutical sales force, classroom training is impossible; however, eLearning allows the Pharma sales rep to complete training programs at his own pace and in his own time. Online courses make use of interesting elements such as graphics, videos and audio along with text and make online learning learner-friendly and retention-friendly for the otherwise easily bored adult Pharma sales force learner. The changing needs of the customer requires the Pharma sales force training to focus on selling skills and strategies that must be updated at the speed of need to match the current needs of today’s customer – this again is made possible with online learning that allows speedy delivery of updated information.

The world is making the shift to online learning. Most of the Pharma giants are using some form of online learning to train their forces already, and those who have made the move are witness to the results. If your Pharma sales force is letting you down, our advice to you is to make the move to elearning now.

eLearning for the Banking Sector

The banking industry is increasingly growing in importance in view of the current business scenario. As a vertical market, where adoption of innovative technology is central to its growth, up skilling of employees in this sector is of utmost importance. A ‘Single Customer Relationship View’ is the key to success for BFSI companies as this enables them to ‘cross-sell’ and ‘up-sell’ their offerings. E-learning can be an effective way to bring the diverse set of people onto a common platform.The primary agenda of banks is to serve customers better. Product information needs to be taught to the sales personnel. This process can be made simple through e-learning.

Reasons necessary for e-learning to be adopted in the banking sector

  • For tracking compliance, banks use e-learning and learning management system software that support e-training
  • eLearning enables you to easily adapt the content and transfer to the learner, which could be done at any time and from anywhere. This is the main benefit of using this method in the banking sector
  • During active production, the learning approach is a very important factor to be considered. Training should be given in terms of daily basis, so that learners develop their skills to the professional extent. In order to achieve the required objectives, we use e-learning to train employees
  • Those employed with the banking sector can improve their administrative qualities. Online learning can effectively be used to improve their communication skills and interact with clients effectively. They are provided with ample scope to apply the concepts they have gained on a daily basis

It is imperative that banks focus on maintaining and developing their portfolio of customers. Important factors that influence the company’s strength and position in the market are the quality of client service and the variety and adaptability of the products to the customers’ needs. Human resources play a pivotal role in ensuring excellent service and customer satisfaction. It can be accepted that a robust e-learning strategy has a major impact on the organizational performance. ELearning is able to successfully address critical challenges in human-capital development: rapid induction of new employees, quick launch of new products, regular andconsistent testing of employees and a need for courses that are readily accessible for any employee regardless of the location.

Responsive eLearning: The Future of Online Learning

One term very closely associated with responsive eLearning is Responsive Web Design (RWD). In a layman’s understanding, it is the creation of websites that are responsive to varying screen sizes of different devices be it a desktop or a tablet or a mobile, and provide an optimal viewing experience. Taking cue from the above understanding, responsive e-learning is the application of RWD to e-learning.

The phenomenal developments in the world of information and communication technology have transformed the way online medium is accessed. It is understood that for online training to be effective, needs to adapt to the changes as per the preferences of learners. In a research, morgan Stanley estimated that by the year 2015, internet usage will be more prevalent through mobile devices than computers.

The need to look beyond the use of personal computers to deliver online training courses was triggered by the astronomical increase in the number of people using mobile devices. A study conducted by Google reiterates the same point. It has been surveyed that 98% of Internet users switch between devices with varying screen sizes in a single day.

This results in two options. First, to have multiple versions of the same online course for various devices and second, to create one single responsive eLearning course that can be easily accessed by multiple devices.

However, the first option comes with some pitfalls in the road to learning. Higher cost and increased time is a natural corollary of creating multiple versions of the same online course, which also results in increased course development time resulting in a delayed turnaround time for the completion of the training course. The second hindrance is the difficulty in tracking the use of online courses which is essential for determining the ROI of the training. Using multiple versions of the same course makes tracking of these different versions cumbersome.

The aforementioned issues can be resolved with the help of responsive eLearning. The idea is creating a single course that can be accessed and used on any gadget and device on varying screen sizes and can be tracked easily with an LMS. The biggest advantage of responsive eLearning is the unprecedented learning flexibility it provides to its online learners.

Responsive eLearning comes with the advantage of sequential screening, wherein a learner can pause the online course on one gadget and resume it on another device exactly at the point where he/she has stopped. This makes learning highly flexible and user-friendly.

Still at a nascent stage, responsive eLearning will take some time before it evolves completely. However, there is not an iota of doubt when we say that the future of learning is responsive eLearning.

Prospect of eLearning in the Indian Scenario

Over the last decade, learning has experienced a sea change in India. The conventional mode of education has become a passé and education is all about learning, online training and education on the go. Indian education has had a metamorphic change over the years and the most prominent landmark has been the trend of e-learning.

With the growing impetus and proliferation in the field of internet commercialization has led to the growth of elearning. This unprecedented inroads in internet penetration, led online training pave its way within the country’s learning ecosystem. Not just limited to the educational industry, elearning is been adopted by the corporate sector as continuous training of employees has become imperative in keeping up with the industry’s growth.

In 2013, India had 167.2 million internet users. This figure is projected to grow to 283.8 million internet users in 2016. As a result, India’s potential as a market for e-learning is enormous. As per the Docebo report issued in July 2014, the worldwide market for self-paced e-learning reached $35.6 billion in 2011. The five-year CAGR is estimated to be 7.6%, so revenues should reach $51.5 billion by 2016. While the aggregate growth rate is 7.6%, several world regions have higher growth rates. The highest rate is in Asia at 17.3%, followed by Eastern Europe (16.9%), Africa (15.2%) and Latin America (14.6%).

According to a recent study in a global level online learning program, after the United States, India has been reported to have the second highest number of online course enrollments with more than over 1,55,000 students from the country. Of a total of around 1.2 million students worldwide, 32% are from the U.S while 15% are from India.

According to the research report, “India E-Learning Market Outlook to FY’2018 – Increasing Technology Adoption to Drive Future Growth, the market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.4% over the period FY2013-FY’2018 driven by many factors such as increasing government initiatives to promote e-learning, increasing adoption of technology, shortage of quality education, convenience and cost factors and others. With an inclination in the adoption of e-learning method to facilitate talent management in corporations, the demand of custom e-learning content and technology would increase, thereby increasing the overall growth of India’s e-learning market in future.

Moreover, online training is no longer the prerogative of the computer sector alone. The impact of such training is all-pervasive and presents attractive opportunities in diverse segments. The growing number of public and private sector initiatives on the incline, the changing mindsets of people, and the unprecedented rise of technology are reflective of the promising future that e-learning in India holds. The prospect of making education available to anyone, any time, anywhere is becoming increasingly appealing to students, the corporate world and the populace at large.


How gamification in eLearning is impacting the Financial Industry

The potential of games in imparting training in the financial sector is increasingly being realized. Serious games could be effectively incorporated into online training. The science being gamification in learning has over the last few years gained tremendous importance from the industry experts and analysts as a scientific method for effective learning. For example, Deloitte Consulting described “gamification… [as a] top 10 technology trend.” Additionally, Gartner has predicted that “by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one ‘gamified’ application.” The analyst firm also noted, “While the current success of gamification is largely driven by novelty and hype, gamification is positioned to become a highly significant trend over the next five years.” To differentiate offerings in the market, early adopters are quickly seizing this opportunity with the growing popularity of gamification within the finance industry.

Make compliance training interesting and more effective

Online training is profitable, worthwhile and a convenient method of imparting effective compliance training to the personnel of the banking and financial services sector. To make such trainings attract attention of the learners, inclusion of games in eLearning programs is a recent phenomenon, which has the potential to change the perception of employees who view compliance training to be a harrowing and wasteful exercise.

With the use of attractive games, the Sarbanes – Oxley Act or explaining the implications of violating the SEC guidelines, could make deeper impact on learners, and learning can be made exciting and lively.

Game-based training have alluring attributes such as gripping storylines, attainable challenges, rewards and recognitions and the control over the learning process make learning of monotonous subjects such as anti-bribery laws or FINRA regulations fun-filled and rewarding.

Help the workforce learn complex financial concepts better

Employees can be effectively educated on complex financial concepts through games. The use of games in online training courses can simplify the understanding of complicated concepts like the implications of various developments for the interest rates, dynamics of the stock markets, the impact of recession on the global economy and so on. Such education can make learning effective and leave a lasting impact simultaneously.

Provide customer education and increase sales

With the ever increasing number of people accessing financial products online, organizations are heavily relying on eLearning to provide customer education to increase sales. Financial companies use games to engage and explain busy customers the intricacies of their products.

Impart effective training on financial modeling

Ideal means of imparting training on financial modeling, games in online courses are effective in imparting the knowledge needed to construct an accurate financial model, as games help encourage analytical capabilities and logical thinking. They help simulate real job situations, by which these models could be efficiently tested.

The ideal means of imparting training on financial modeling, games in online courses are effective in imparting the knowledge needed to construct an accurate financial model.

Use of MOOCs – A Boon for Corporate Training

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have offered multitude of online learners the opportunity to learn new skills and expand their knowledge base. However, in recent years an increasing number of employers have turned to MOOCs to train their staff online and improve their bottom line. Here are just a few of the most notable benefits of MOOCs for corporate training.
• Employees can access training on a 24/7 basis
Employees need not wait for a scheduled training and can access their training anytime anywhere. MOOCs can be offered to unlimited number of employees without incurring any additional costs, be it material cost or instructor cost. MOOCs come with the flexibility of being accessed anytime by employees at the ease and convenience of their time without conflicting with their personal and work responsibilities. This ideally means that the employees are most likely to reap the maximum benefit from the online training material.

• Customization and Adaptive Learning
MOOCs have the advantage of being customized. Many such courses are created using open educational resources (OER) or a mix of OER and proprietary content. Training and learning is made more interesting and relevant and responsive to real-world problems as instructors can remix, reuse, and redistribute content based on the current and changing needs of the organization. Relevant research and information can be added into a training program and can reach all learners in real-time. As a corollary a major criticism of this form of training is that it is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to a many-sized problem. However this idea is contested as new technologies are available to allow MOOCs to adapt to the needs of the user.

• Boosts employee productivity and profits
MOOCs are effective for employees to develop new skills and hone their existing skillsets, which acts as a boost to their on-the-job productivity. Reasonable in its approach, such courses are void of investing in onsite instructors or more complex eLearning course design and development as it widens the profit margin while giving the employees the requisite information for their professional development. MOOCs for corporate training give organizations the chance to streamline work processes and ensure that every employee is a valuable member of the team.

• Improves employee retention rates
Well trained and informed employees are content employees. When corporate employees are given the necessary information to effectively carry out their daily chores, they are more likely to remain longer with the organization. MOOCs for corporate training leads to increased employee confidence and self-esteem, which gives them the power to face on-the-job challenges and feel a sense of personal satisfaction with their performance.

• Learning Analytics
Online learning is revolutionary in that it allows instructors to collect data about how their students learn, how long they spend on task, what areas of content are the most engaging, the most challenging, and so on. In the same vein, companies can easily collect data about their training programs and employees. The advantage of MOOCs is that they can provide massive amounts of data, which can help organizations understand how their employees learn and interact with the content so the businesses can improve their training programs. Learning analytics can also help companies predict employee performance and identify potential problems.

Will Technology Make Learning Redundant?

Talking to my father recently, we spoke about how much things have changed in his lifetime. We talked in particular about his schooling and how everything was based on the three Rs – Reading wRiting and aRithmetic. In those days the educational system was doing what it was intended to do – to churn out employees for the type of jobs that existed at the time.

It is difficult today for people in their twenties and thirties to imagine what the world was like at that time – for starters, there was no computerisation. As a result, every small and medium sized business had to issue their receipts, invoices, delivery dockets, monthly statements, payroll slips, trade orders, to mention nothing about back office aged debt lists, monthly accounts, balance sheets and bank reconciliations, all largely handwritten!

Although technical advances had arrived in industrial production, the administration side was still doing business much the same way as in Dickens’ time – with pen and paper, and this required an army of clerical staff, not just in industry, but in retail and in the civil service as well. This was the market that a lot of school leavers went into and they were pretty well equipped with the required skills for the job.

This situation continued through the sixties and also the seventies. Electric (as opposed to electronic) machines made some of the processes easier, but business still remained a mainly manual operation with the number of clerical staff often equalling the sales staff in a company! In the late seventies, business computers had appeared and were developed to run business and accounting programs, but their inroads into the market was slow as they were expensive, and needed an expensive expert to program and run them and they were unreliable.

But in the early eighties something happened that was to have repercussions that are felt to this day. In early 1982 a company called Microsoft released an operating system called ms-dos, specifically targeted to cater for the ‘home computers’ that were starting to appear and were becoming popular. In addition to the operating system, they released a front-end system (Windows 3.1) that appeared on screen as a window with icons, coupled with a ‘mouse’ they developed which moved a cursor around the screen and could click the icons to access the various programs, taking the mystique out of the process and making it totally user-friendly.

To say it was a game changer is an understatement! By the early nineties, personal computers, or PCs as they subsequently became known swept the board. Not only did homes have them, small businesses bought them by the million and used them for clerical and accounting purposes, in the process forcing an awful lot of people out of work via redundancy or, for those companies who resisted the change, via company closures.

It was a period of profound change, the largest change since the Industrial Revolution, which was the first time that man had built and harnessed machines to replace labour, this time it was the Electronic Revolution, but it was just as profound.

During this explosion of technology, in the middle nineties, another game changer arrived on the scene. Since the seventies, computer experts had been developing ‘packet technology’, which allowed the transfer of data between computers over a data link. In 1994 Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web consortium and released a functioning Web editor on an unsuspecting world. It was to become as big a communications revolution for the man in the street as the Windows 3.1 had been to computer technology, and again its effects are felt even today.

The World-Wide-Web or www. as it became known, initially ran slowly and erratically on telephone lines, but literally everyone recognised its potential – businesses, politicians and individuals flocked to it in their millions, and by the millennium, helped by dedicated data lines and faster computers, was surging through the world in a truly exponential growth spurt that has not ceased to this day.

Maybe Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs dreaming in their bathtubs in those heady days in the eighties, dreamed of something like the World Wide Web, something that created an almost insatiable desire for their products, for better, quicker, less expensive computing power, but surely even they could not have dreamed of the world as it is today. Those two technologies, computer power and the World Wide Web, changed the face of the world that we live in today. In two decades – from 1980 to 2000, the world had changed utterly and irrevocably – someone from 1980 dropped into the world today would find it difficult to cope with the changes – and I haven’t even touched on mobile phones!

I realise I am a long way from the title of this piece, but bear with me a little. The children of the 50s were educated to prepare them for the marketplace that faced them, and so presumably the children of the present are educated likewise? Today’s schooling has changed a lot since my father’s time and I know that there is less emphasis on the rigid learning of past times and more emphasis on the development of the individuals personal development to prepare them for a very varied world that they will face. I also know that beautiful handwriting and amazing mental arithmetic skills are not as prized as they once were and presumably this is a reflection of the fact that not a lot of writing is done in these days of iPads and tablets of all sorts to store our every thought and word and deed. Even schooling is being delivered by eLearning technology.

So, if there has been a shift in emphasis in the education of our children already – will this change accelerate as technology progresses at an ever-increasing rate? Today, it is perfectly feasible to go through life without ever having to lift a pen and a piece of paper. Appointments are stored in a phone or tab, messages sent electronically (even to and from our six year olds!), recipes are looked up and bookmarked on the web, money paid and moved electronically, even the humble shopping list is now in a phone or a tab.

In the morning, walk out of the house, start the car and tell it what radio station to put on, what volume, what temperature the ac is to be at, and tell the satnav where you want to go. In work, communication is by email, notes are filed electronically, and even the holiday calendar is there on your desktop to keep you up to date on your holidays. You go to the doctor, and when he finishes, he appends a voice note of your visit to your electronic file, and if medicines are required an email goes to your pharmacy.

So we are already in a paperless, writing less world – but we still need to be able to read – right?

Scientists in Europe have just developed a computer chip that mimics the human brain, complete with neurons and synaptic connections – so it works just like the brain. The exciting part is that they have grown the functioning parts – that means that cheap nano computer chips of immense power will be available in the future which will revolutionise the world we live in. The limitations of mobile and tab technology will become a thing of the past with cloud computing being used as a huge data bank to store even the most mundane information. Is the next big game changer just around the corner? Machines that can read, write and think for us?

So, what do we read now? Newspapers and magazines are dropping in circulation and becoming online publications and even they are under pressure from live news visual broadcasts. Operating manuals for electronic equipment are no longer supplied – videos demonstrate setup and faultfinding procedures, and even mundane appliances like washing machines are going the same way. Road signs – research has shown that roadside beacons will transmit information before each junction, but maybe even this will be obsolete with improvements in Satnavs. Even the humble can of beans will no longer have instructions for opening and cooking, there will be a Neocode to be read on your phone and the instruction video is there for you. Yes, some of this seems fanciful, but is it really too much of a stretch of the imagination to see a time when reading and writing become obsolete? If you told someone in 1980 that in 25 years (a generation) all the recorded music on the planet would be available on a device smaller than a cigarette packet, and that on this device you could also call any telephone number on the planet, would he have believed you?

There is no doubt that technological change will continue at a furious pace and the requirement to read and write will diminish. Schooling will adapt to the demands of the workplace up to a point where we will be asking – not if – but when we will stop teaching our children to read and write.

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