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Pharma Is Not Unique

March 15 |

No doubt the pharmaceutical industry is intricate; there are complexities and third parties that directly affect the success of your product, and for corporate strategy teams working cross-functionally, it can be labyrinthian to navigate.

From our perspective at AlphaSights, corporate strategy teams — especially those supporting M&A and licensing initiatives — tend to overlook the fact that they can turn to peers in other verticals and seek advice. By looking at the big-picture issues that affect all corporate strategy teams, whether in software, consumer products, insurance, and so on, it becomes easier to synthesize and implement best-practice that isn’t entrenched in one particular use case.

I saw this first hand just last month when AlphaSights hosted our Strategy Leaders Breakfast event for several corporate strategy teams across industries. The purpose of the event was to create an open forum and spark discussion about common challenges facing corporate strategy teams as they think through the strategic planning process, aligning post-merger/post-acquisition strategies with newly acquired business units, developing C-Suite Support, and more.

One of the participants shared a challenge he recently faced. He works at a tech company that acquired a very large data product manufacturer a few years back. His role was to align the CEO’s vision with each business unit and help them design KPIs that would enable the entire company to achieve its annual goals. The problem was that it was difficult to approach leaders of the recently acquired company, whose strategy team was successful as an independent entity, and immediately tell them how they should work and function for the coming year.

Just minutes later one of our participants from a large biopharmaceutical company raised the same issue. After acquiring another player a few years back, his team was tasked with aligning the strategies of a newly acquired team in a therapeutic area they’d never worked in. The strategist relayed that it was difficult to demonstrate his team’s value to another team that had never worked with them or seen the work they’d done with other brands.

On paper, the examples are wildly different, but conceptually they’re quite similar. Company X acquires company Y and neither know how to work together. It seems far more complicated when you add in details about the industries themselves, but that’s easy to do when you’re too close to the situation.

The ultimate solution was straightforward. Both participants agreed that it would be beneficial to have the executive team endorse their group as a centralized function supporting all business units, regardless of whether the business units were just brought on, and that it was incredibly important to staff the appropriate resources to over-deliver on the initial assignment with the new team.

This demonstrates just one example of what was discussed at the event. Admittedly, I sensationalized the headline of this a bit, but I hope it illustrates my point; regardless of the problems your team faces and the market you serve, it can be deeply helpful to hear what someone else is doing to overcome their problems.

At AlphaSights, we’re in the business of connecting our clients with their industry peers, KOLs, and customers from whatever market they serve. If you’d like to learn more about how we help our clients accelerate their progress and overcome the obstacles associated with modern-day market research, please reach out.

Christian Anderson joined AlphaSights in July 2015 and was a Client Development Executive for our Corporate accounts.