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Key Success Factors for Sales Force Readiness - A Study of Product Launches in the Swedish Pharmaceutical Industry

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This research identifies a set of key success factors for sales force readiness, for drivingthe success of a new product launch within the pharmaceutical industry. Drawing fromthe analysis of fifty product launches in the Swedish pharmaceutical market, the studyhas succeeded in discriminating between four types of key success factors: the keyfactors that are important and crucial for a successful launch; the key factors that areimportant yet not necessarily crucial for a successful launch; the market conditions thatare most ideal for a successful launch, and finally the type of newness of the product thatis most suitable for successful launch. The overall aim of the research project was toprovide guidance in optimizing the sales force readiness during the launch of a newpharmaceutical product. The research question is driven by the great importance and highcost of the sales force, together with the need for the pharmaceutical companies tocontinuously launch new products in a marketplace with increased challenges for all partsof the business. The research approach divides the research into two main parts. The firstpart reviews earlier studies/findings in the literature, collects empirical data in the form ofsix case studies and conducts six expert interviews with the purpose of formulating aResearch Model. In the second part, the Research Model and its variables arequantitatively tested against fifty launched pharmaceutical products in Sweden. The studyemploys a bottom-up analysis method with Partial Least Squares Analysis, beingpredictive in nature, rather than the more conventional top-down and hypothesis-testingapproach that typically employs regression analysis methods. In order to provide bothpractitioners and researchers with guidance on the results, its interpretation is presentedin terms of its managerial implications as well as proposals for further research.

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Stefan C. Fraenkel

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