It’s like an argument over whether
football or basketball is the greater
sport. Michael Jordan vs. Jim
Brown? Makes no sense. Naturally,
sales and marketing have different
perspectives on the world, based
on their different skill sets and
experience. As leaders we have to
help them see the other’s point of
view...and play the same game.
In 2012 we were wrestling with
this situation in the Specialty Care
North America division of Pfizer.
The regional president of the division, had experience working in a
franchise model in which sales and
marketing report to the same leader.
She brought those insights to Pfizer
and we put the model into practice.
The franchise model allowed sales
and marketing to have a seat at the
same table and work through business challenges together.
Was it an immediate success?
Few initiatives are. Think about
it. You’re telling a lot of high-per-forming professionals (and pharma
attracts many of the best) to think
about the business in completely
new way, put aside some of their
long-held attitudes and practices
and play by a somewhat different
set of rules. And, in a way, you’re
telling them to play on a team they
considered their rivals. Of course
there’s going to be some resistance
and friction. There always is when
a new team comes together.
So, no surprise, the first year for us
was an adjustment. Sales and mar-
keting may have worked together
before, but to operate under one
head, following the same rules and
aiming at the same goals, they went
through the traditional phases of
unification: storming, norming
and, finally, performing.
We had to build bridges, teach
them to work as a cohesive unit,
using trust and transparency. The
leaders had to set expectations
and hold people accountable. And
that meant the leaders, too, had to
learn to work together. This helped
everyone align, even if that had to
come after a lot of discussion and
Eventually – actually, in a fairly
short period of time – it paid off in
a high-functioning group of sales
and marketing pros all playing the
And I mean “paid off” in a literal
sense, too: by 2013 our products
were exceeding business and
financial goals for the first time.
We ended the year at 107% of our
budget! And exceeding goals is
important to the company and to
individual performance awards. It
is also good for morale.
At its core, the idea is simplicity
itself: streamline (don’t silo) the
organization so you have a mutual vision of where you’re going,
and how you’ll get there (instead
of “This is my budget and I’m not
sharing!”). Do what is right for the
business, and enlist everyone in
seeing things that way.
Hey, we all work for the same
Does that mean we’re happy with
where we are? Well, we still have
many challenges, as everyone does.
Access to HCPs. Using digital
capabilities efficiently, and keeping
up with what’s happening in that
realm. Analyzing data. Developing
SALES AND MARKETING
is Vice President of
and Institutional Sales
Specialty Care Business
Unit, at Pfizer. Kristen is
an experienced business
leader with 20 years
of experience in the
She has a strong track
record of delivering results
in highly competitive
and complex markets.
Starting her career in sales
at Eli Lilly, she then held
positions of increasing
responsibility at Lilly,
Neurogen, and Pfizer.
Today she is responsible
for sales and marketing
in a franchise business
model. In her spare time
she volunteers, serves on
the leadership committee
for her church, and enjoys
aggressive but achievable targets.
Facing competition head-on. Pipeline, product life cycle, regulation.
But now we’re facing all of that
together. And I can tell you – it