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All things Pharma

Lundbeck UK On a RADICAL Road to Success

WHEN JON HODGSON took up his post as Lundbeck’s UK’s Sales Director two years ago, he inherited a sales organisation whose shape sat a little uncomfortably on the recently re-sculpted NHS landscape.
What prompted you to embark on such an ambitious re-structuring of the sales organisation? “The existing set-up was un-sustainable. We had very large territories with independently managed, multi-disciplinary sales teams labouring under an overly-complex reporting structure. “ Jon told us. “Performance management was unsophisticated. Some teams did better than others but the complicated organisational structure thwarted detailed analysis and stifled the individual ambition and accountability of representatives and managers on the ground.” “Streamlining the sales structure and simplifying reporting lines were basic prerequisites for efficient resource deployment and improved sales performance.” Jon set up a project group and with the assistance of external consultants, formulated a multistrand strategy to re-align the organisation with its customers, deliver better organisational control and improve sales force effectiveness. Changes included:-

  • A reduction in territory sizes
  • Multi-disciplinary, integrated teams, including dedicated outsourced sales staff, were brought under the control of one manager
  • An increase in the numbers of Hospital Representatives and NHS Liaison Executives
  • Simplification of reporting lines
  • More autonomy and responsibility for representatives and managers

Jon however, had ambitions for the strategy which went far beyond simply tinkering with the nuts and bolts of the organisational structure. A new lean and agile sales structure demanded more individual responsibility and revenue accountability; better teamworking and leadership; improved performance management and real commitment to employee motivation and development. The new set up was the first step. Separate project groups were also working on addressing IT issues, training needs and career development.
How was the new set up received? Jon told us; “We consulted and informed employees throughout the project and in November 2003 we had the whole company together for two days where we explained everything and allocated the new roles and responsibilities.” “I think almost everyone welcomed the changes. We brought in 145 new people into the organisation at the start of 2004, many of them new to the industry. This brought a breath of fresh air into the company. It had the effect of re-energising everyone. We started 2004 with more high-calibre representatives, better resourced, targeted and motivated.” “We knew we already had skilled, committed employees who believed in the company. We believed they had a vital role in delivering Lundbeck’s vision. In fact they played an active role in its very definition.”

“Changing the set-up was key to empowering them. We hoped to enable them to really bring the vision to life; to give them more say in shaping their own and the company’s future.”

How are things now, 12 months on? A recent sales employee survey conducted one year after the re-structure suggests a high level of fulfilment in the workforce: –

  • 96% stated their job was interesting and satisfying
  • 94% stated their relationship with their manager was good
  • 84% stated the company culture, strategy and direction, reputation of the organisation, equal opportunities and general employment stability is good

Regional Business Manager Shilpa Patel is one who welcomed the new order; “Previously, I only looked after the Medical Representatives in my team, but now I’m responsible for Hospital Specialists and NHS Liaison Executives as well.” she said. “It was a steep learning curve for me at first but now I have a better understanding and awareness of the whole NHS environment.” “There is more individual accountability now and I think everyone has responded well to the responsibilities the changes have brought. People can see the real benefits. It is easier for someone to shine – get recognition for their achievements. “As a manager, it is easier to co-ordinate team goals. Teamworking is better, more coherent. Our work is more integrated.” Sue Tank a Medical Representative has no doubt that things are better now. She told PF; “I was frustrated before. I was never entirely sure what the other team members were doing.” “I’m really happy with the new structure: smaller teams, individual reporting. I like the fact that the team has just one manager. Work is much more rewarding now. I know what is expected of me. I am more focused, more motivated and get I more recognition for what I do.”
Was your sales performance affected during the re-structuring? “After only two weeks intensive training, our new sales people, (70% of whom were completely new to the industry), achieved benchmark standards for the industry, so they hit the ground running.” said Jon. “Since the launch of our new anti-depressant, Cipralex in June 2002, we have won a growing market share, which continued during and after restructuring. A better directed and coherent sales effort has certainly contributed to its continued success.”
What does the future hold for Lundbeck sales people? The company is well advanced on a major career development initiative, Project RADICAL (Realising Ambition, Developing and Improving Careers at Lundbeck). This will completely reconstruct the company’s promotional framework, enhance career opportunities, broaden training and development plans. Shilpa Patel, a member of the RADICAL project group revealed; “I think everyone sees Project RADICAL as a really positive step. Amongst other things, in the future there will be 6 levels of Medical Representatives, 4 levels of Hospital Specialists and NHS Liaison Executives. People will have the option to stay in their field but still progress through the different levels. There will also be more scope for people to move into other areas and into management.” “We have fantastic products and a vision I really believe in. Lundbeck has the ambition and ethos of the bigger companies. We are much more forwardlooking now.” Sue Tank again; “Although we are a company with big ambitions, I know that I can still walk into Head Office and people will know who I am. I like that”. Lundbeck is putting in place the building blocks to realise their vision; to be a global leader in psychiatry and neurology. They are walking a RADICAL road to that vision, and aim to take their workforce with them, every step of the journey.

Jon said: “Our future depends upon three key things – our people, our products and our strategy, all of which we have great confidence in. 2005 promises to be an exciting year for Lundbeck UK.
Jon Hodgson


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