Case Studies

Pharmaceuticals: Lean Sales and Marketing Management Process Transformation Delivers $10m in Savings

A Top 10 Global Pharmaceuticals Company Sales Group
North America
Operating cost
Annual savings
Capacity improvement
Sales uptime
Break even point
4 mos.
ROI (12 month)

CLIENT Situation

Implementing Lean Sales and Marketing to Reduce the Cost While Increasing Sales Productivity and Performance

The pharmaceuticals manufacturing division could meet the explosive demand for the company’s blockbuster new products. But a dysfunctional sales management process was unable to increase sales productivity and performance to fully capitalize on the breakthrough market opportunities.

  • Sales collateral was often unavailable or incorrect.
    Product samples were outdated, unavailable or delayed.
  • Compared to forecasts, order patterns were volatile.
    Customers complained of confusing, multiple points of sales contact.
  • Productivity metrics were inconsistent and unreliable.
    Individual sales rep performance was impossible to assess accurately.
Project Sponsor


Non-technology, self-funding operational
improvement implementation:
  • No new core technology
  • End-to-end product sales and support
  • 6-month implementation

Client Description, Project Scope, Objectives

How To Implement Standardization in Sales

The firm is a Top 10 global pharmaceuticals company producing multiple, billion-dollar drugs. Field sales engages customers in more than 100 countries. Management’s continuous strategic transformation efforts concentrated on operations in the Americas involving 2,500 employees.

Executives demanded immediate, end-to-end adoption of lean sales process management capabilities. Although the internal lean consulting team delivered small-scale continuous improvement, this large scope required a new approach. They saw The Lab’s standardization improvement templates as the fastest solution. Sales management process transformation began with a 7-week Phase I analysis. A self-funding work plan launched a 6-month, Phase II implementation.

The Lab implemented lean sales process management improvement templates to resolve many of the sales productivity and performance problems. These helped eliminate out-of-date inventories for product samples and sales collateral materials. Standard work for lean sales templates ensured that the right samples and collateral arrived on time at the right location. 

Project Objectives

– Operational efficiency
– Lean sales management
– Improved service levels

Project Scope

– Sales
– Product support
– Product literature development
– Shipping and distribution
– Operations support

Lean Sales Transformation Implementation Examples

The Lab implemented more than 300 non-technology sales management standardization process improvements. Examples:

Increased Sales Performance Through Greater Uptime — The Lab’s sales process-management transformation reclaimed roughly 40 percent of sales rep time, previously squandered obtaining samples and collateral. Lean standards for sales methods boosted productivity and performance. These incremental improvements enabled the sales team to transfer administrative activities to support teams, resulting in sales cost reduction. Time spent with clients (uptime) doubled.

Reduced Selling Expenses by Solving Avoidable Sales Errors — Field sales’ poor adherence to standard sales work policies and procedures generated avoidable errors for sales support teams. Missing customer and product information required several rounds of follow-up. Error reports, work quality KPIs, effective feedback loops and lean sales management controls helped to reduce this low-value, high-cost sales process work by nearly 80 percent in 3 months.

Lean Sales Management Process Liaison Team — Marketing launched campaigns without adequate training notice to the sales force. Manufacturing created packaging that complicated sales efforts. Compliance requirements could easily be overlooked by sales reps. The Lab implemented a standard work process for sales to coordinate across the enterprise and reduce the downstream impact to the sales team.

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