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CASE - Building a winning commercial strategy and mindset in pharma

With 2 high-running therapeutic assets, our client has been a global pharma leader in advanced treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases for years. For one of these 2 medicines, our client was the first company to enter the market with a drug based on a new and promising mode of action. As a consequence, the entire commercial and marketing teams had been focusing on developing the global market, educating the ecosystem, and convincing the scientific domain and health care practitioners of the safety and quality of the treatment.


Challenge


In the last years, competition has been building up, while recently, the client’s leading position was being challenged by one of the company’s main competitors, entering the market with a novel drug that could change the structure of the entire market. Phase 3 studies have shown ‘superiority’ vs. the golden market standard and thus this might be a significant threat to our client’s market share.


While in other countries, the competitor was already launching its novel drug with aggressive tactics to challenge the matured market, the local launch was expected anytime soon. Venture Spirit was contacted to support the client in preparing its proactive and reactive strategy, with the following objectives:


  1. Gain an in-depth understanding of the competitor’s go-to-market strategy, learning from other countries’ field reps experiences, their anticipations and countermeasures, and respective success rates and rationales;

  2. Explore most likely scenarios of action-reaction to anticipate their potential behavior, where scenarios start from what is already known about the competitor’s tactics;

  3. Ignite a winning mindset across the local marketing and field reps to be creative about novel actions and initiatives that can be undertaken (e.g. in the unexplored field of Real World Evidence);

  4. Build the optimal competitive strategy (plans & contingencies) in order to protect the client’s market share.


The speed at which the Venture Spirit team scanned the market and translated data into market insights and a strong strategy was truly impressive - Project Lead

Approach


Venture Spirit’s approach was based on war gaming concepts where strategies and tactics can be proactively prepared by simulating the competitor’s behaviors. Our approach was based on two modules:


  • Module 1 - strategy development: Interviews with local experts in the market, and with other regional teams who had already been confronted with the competitor’s tactics, led to a full understanding of the context. This included the most important forces playing in the market, predictive directional scenarios, recommended choices, and implications.

  • Module 2 - war game: Together with the local sales & marketing teams, we developed tangible tactics using a war game concept. All sales reps and marketing team members were invited to participate in an online engagement journey. Based on Module 1, we developed multiple missions, putting participants in commercial situations pushing them to collaboratively develop tactics to win and protect market share.


Venture Spirit served as an advisor and orchestrator during both modules. On the one hand, our experience and market insights provided crucial strategic insights, laying the foundations for our client's strategic decisions. Further, using our tools and online platform, we successfully mobilized multiple regional teams who engaged in the exercise remotely. This online approach yielded unprecedented success in terms of team engagement and buy-in, something that was truly appreciated especially because of the challenging circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Results


The project was extremely well received by the company’s management team, and resulted in both a winning strategy and a winning mindset:


  • Winning strategy: By combining the brainpower of the Venture Spirit strategists, the experts at our clients, and the expertise of other regional divisions, we developed a strategy that enabled our client to arm the company against all most likely competitor moves, and as such protect its market share.

  • Winning mindset: By applying war game techniques together with the local sales and marketing teams, the whole commercial organization supported the developed strategy and all together translated it into tangible tactics. By involving them soon in the process, we built buy-in and engagement to collectively win the market. This also facilitated a switch in attitude in the field, from educating the market to protecting the company's market position against the competitor.


With Venture Spirit’s approach, we successfully engaged our complete sales force to carry out a winning strategy - Country Lead

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