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During the 2017 eyeforpharma annual conference in Barcelona, “The future commercial team” track considered the optimal future model for sales and marketing, with a particular focus on the benefits and roadmap to a truly integrated commercial function. Gemma Pfister, Senior Vice President, recounts what stood out for her as chair of day one.

“I had the pleasure of chairing this session with keynote speakers and a panel discussion, where we heard from expert global commercial excellence leaders sharing their personal experiences of advancing the performance of their pharma organizations’ sales and marketing teams at global, regional and local levels.

What struck me from the delegate participation and feedback during our discussion, is that there’s quite some way to go at regional and local levels in integrating sales and marketing in shared cross-functional objectives, and developing best practice.

For example, when asked about how advanced delegates are with integrating sales and marketing at global versus regional levels, there was notably less advancement in country versus global.

On the subject of capabilities building and performance management, which the panel considered fundamental for driving the future commercial team’s performance, it appeared that very few delegates currently have capability frameworks, or self-assessment programs in place, to determine knowledge and skill levels in order to direct training and recruitment.

Further insights from the panel focused on the requirement for greater orchestration of business strategy and tactical planning, and market and customer knowledge management through CRM systems with other pharma functions – most notably with customer-facing medical affairs.

Clearly, there’s a need for pharma to commit to further synchronising strategies and activities across global, regional and local levels in the pursuit of one brand team across all relevant business functions. Pharma aren’t quite there yet, but are making strides in the right direction in their quest to have a truly integrated commercial function.”

If you would like to understand more about how pharma is integrating customer-facing teams in order to become more customer-centric, download the “Goodbye sales and marketing. Hello integrated commercial models” whitepaper from eyeforpharma.

About the author
Gemma Pfister is Senior Vice President for InterPhase Consult, an Ashfield Healthcare Communications’ agency part of UDG Healthcare plc. Gemma has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Prior to joining Ashfield Healthcare Communications, Gemma worked in marketing in a global life sciences company. Gemma’s areas of expertise and interest are commercial and operational leadership, innovative business transformation, and product and portfolio strategy. Gemma can be contacted at

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