Tuesday, 24 August 2010

20:20 Selection Ltd – Crucell Team expansion

In 2009, Crucell – the largest independent vaccines company in the world – launched a dedicated Sales & Marketing function in the UK. Since the establishment of its own dedicated sales team, Crucell has been able to focus on expanding market share for its portfolio of travel and respiratory vaccines in the UK. Recent changes to the reimbursement status of oral vaccines by the Department of Health mean that Crucell can now further expand this sales team in England.

The expansion of the sales team is a reflection of the successful first year of the UK Sales & Marketing function, and represents an excellent time to join the team as they capitalise on their achievements to date. Crucell firmly believe that investing in their people is investing in the future, and is dedicated to developing employees’ competencies and promoting individual performance.

Brand new opportunities now exist for Territory and Regional Business Managers to join the company throughout England and Wales. These are senior sales roles where you will be responsible for the cash and market share growth on your own territory. You will also play a major part in developing Crucell’s reputation as a trusted partner in the provision of vaccines to general practice. If you have previously sold vaccines, this may be an advantage: however, it is your attitude, drive, tenacity and enthusiasm that will be the key qualities you will need to succeed.

On offer to successful candidates will be a highly attractive basic salary, company car or car allowance, excellent bonus potential, 25 days holiday, pension & private healthcare. Crucell UK Ltd is a growing organisation with
full investment from their headquarters in Holland. This is a genuinely exciting opportunity for you to develop your career within a company that is dedicated to bringing meaningful innovation to global health.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Health White Paper - Lansley's Health Reforms

The new Health Minister announced the White Paper that lays out the future of the NHS over the course of this parliament (which is now a guaranteed 5 years). He described this as a ‘blueprint’ for Health Policy up to the next General Election. The main aim is to cut £20bn from the Health Budget over the next 4 years. One of the main issues is the end of the current PCTs, which means that GPs will have direct control of the commissioning of services. NHS Management costs are set to reduce by 45% as a part of this reduction.

This is considered by many to be the most radical NHS White Paper to date, and is expected to be well received by the Conservative back benches. As for the Lib Dems, they had the abolition of StHAs as part of their 2010 manifesto, so this should sit well with them also.

Lansley said ‘the provision of healthcare service will be led by patients and professionals and not by politicians’.

The basics of the White Paper are set out below:

More power to GPs
The most contentious issues will be the compulsory devolvement of huge commissioning powers to GP and GP Consortia and the abolition of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). None of this was proposed by the Conservatives when they were in opposition. These decisions emerged after the General Election. There is concern that a large number of GPs do not want to take on commissioning functions, and in fact are ill-equipped to do so.
It is interesting therefore to note that the British Medical Association has welcomed today’s announcement.

More power to patients
The Government is going to launch HealthWatch England, a new ‘consumer champion’, which will sit within the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The White Paper provides an ethos for structural change; the NHS must be patient led and choices must be led by those at the frontline of delivering those services to patients, i.e. clinicians. On a national level, it will be able to propose CQC investigations of poor service. This organisation will help to strengthen the patient voice and ensure that patient feedback is heard at a local level. Patients will not only have power over the choice of GP they would like to attend (regardless of where they live), but will also have power over who has sight of their patient record.

Abolition of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)
The complete removal of PCTs, instead of simply reducing their numbers, came as a big surprise when compared to the proposals contained in the Conservative manifesto from January 2010. However, it is in keeping with current measures when you look at the plan to reduce admin costs by 45%. Some form of supervisory role is of course required, particularly in respect of GPs and other primary care services, and it is a role which Monitor (the body currently responsible for the regulation of Foundation Trusts) may find challenging.
Abolition of Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs)
SHAs will be abolished as early as 2012. Their functions will be taken over by Monitor. Monitors’ remit will extend to establish it as the key economic regulator in healthcare.

Foundation Trusts
All NHS Trusts will become or be part of a Foundation Trust and this will be the preferred governance model for the health service. Trusts will be given more freedom to innovate to improve patient care. NHS staff will have the opportunity - where appropriate – to manage these organisations as ‘the largest social enterprise sector in the world’.

NHS Commissioning Board
A review of existing quangos is due to report in the autumn but the White Paper makes provision for a number of new bodies which will help implement this new, patient led vision of the NHS. The most vital is the NHS Commissioning Board which will act to ensure quality in commissioning and be responsible for commissioning certain services, such as community pharmacy, which GPs cannot commission. It will also be responsible for increasing patient choice through helping patients manage their personal health budgets. The intention is for this body to be fully operational in April 2012. The underpinning concept is to reduce the number of quangos but those that do exist will be interlinked and more accessible to patients.

Value based pricing
The White Paper confirms that the Government intends to move to value based pricing when the current Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) runs out at the end of 2013. A reference is made to the Cancer Drugs Fund, which will operate from April 2011, but no further details are provided.

In a further strengthening of its powers, NICE will be in charge of developing new quality standards for all the main pathways of care. The paper estimates that NICE will develop up to 150 new quality standards over the next five years. This will position NICE as the key quality regulator building on Lord Darzi’s work on quality improvements, under the previous Government.

Scrapping targets
As mentioned in the NHS Operating Framework, targets with ‘no clinical justification’ will be scrapped (although not as many as were discussed in Opposition). There is a concession that some targets do work but the paper is not clear on which ones and a consultation is promised on new measureables.

Long Term Care
A Commission will be set up to look into long-term care from the Department of Health. This is in keeping with the move to strip away the Department’s NHS functions and replace them with longer term social care objectives.

A number of consultation papers will be published in the near future, getting stakeholder views on policies including; commissioning for patients, freeing providers and economic regulation, the NHS outcomes framework, the framework for transition. This process will be an important part of the transition to the new system as will the proper management of the financial risk.

Primary legislation will be required to make many of the proposed changes in the White Paper. The Health Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech provides for many of these reforms and is due to be introduced in late 2010. The main legislative reforms in the Bill will include: Making improvement in outcomes central to the NHS; Reforming NICE; creating the independent NHS Commissioning Board; creating a framework for a comprehensive system of GP consortia; establishing HealthWatch; reforming the Foundation Trust model; developing Monitor’s role and reducing the number of arms length bodies in health. The Department of Health is taking comments on implementing all the changes in the Health Bill, which must be submitted by 5 October 2010. We can therefore deduce that the Health Bill will not be laid before Parliament before this date.
The Health Bill will also support the creation of a new Public Health Service, which will streamline existing health improvement and protection bodies. Another White Paper, this time on public health will be published later this year. In addition, the public health budget will be ring-fenced and local Directors of Public Health will be responsible for health improvement funds allocated according to local need.

Sources: white paper and Mr Lansleys press release.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Securing your next role – What NOT to do!

Landing a job is never easy, as the industry is now in a state of flux it is more competitive these days. There are fewer vacancies and more people chasing them than in more than a decade. But even now -- more than ever -- it's still on you. Despite the fact that the job market is everything but easy right now... have you ever stopped to consider that the reason you're still sitting there unemployed ... might in fact be ... you?

It's a hard concept that most job seekers have trouble wrapping their heads around, but applicants frequently -- inadvertently -- raise red flags to recruiting managers that immediately scream, "Don't employ me!" You might not be raising them on purpose, but there are ways to avoid them.

Not sure if you're unknowingly blowing your chances at securing your dream position? Here are 10 red flags to be wary of during your next job hunt:

Red flag No. 1: Your CV is lacking any specific achievements that distinguish you from other Medical Representatives
When you're crafting your CV, you should focus on highlighting relevant skills and accomplishments that are in line with the position for which you are applying. Highlighting your sales successes is key!

Red flag No. 2: You have long gaps between jobs on your CV
Even if your long departure from the work force is valid, extended lapses of unemployment might say to an employer, "Why weren't you wanted by anyone?" Anytime you have more than a three-month gap of idleness on your CV, legitimate or otherwise, be prepared to explain yourself.

Red flag No. 3: You aren't prepared for the interview
There are many ways to be unprepared for an interview: You haven't researched the company, you haven’t researched the products & therapy area, you don't have any questions prepared, etc. Plain and simple, do your homework before an interview. Explore the company online, prepare answers to Competency Based questions and have someone give you a mock interview. The more prepared you are, the more employers will take you seriously.

Red flag No. 4: You didn't provide any evidence of success
In today’s competitive market use of evidence/brag file can be the difference between progressing to the next stage and being told that there ‘where stronger people on the day.’ You need to prove how successful you have been (the more specific you can be the better) and differentiate yourself from other candidates. Do not wait to be asked for your evidence, use it as a sales aid to illustrate your answers. YOU are your product!

Red flag No. 5: You only have negative things to say about previous employment
If you feel aggrieved or down-beat about your current/prior employer, it could be very tempting to want to tell anyone who will listen how much of ‘bad time’ you have experienced-- but a recruiting manager for a coveted job is not that person. There are hundreds of ways to turn negative things about an old job into positives. Thought your last job was a dead end? Spin it by saying, "I felt I had gone as far as I could go in that position. I'm looking for something with more opportunity for advancement."

Red flag No. 6: You've held seven different jobs -- in the past six years
Job hopping is a new trend in the working world. Workers are no longer staying in a job for 10-20 years; they stay for a couple and move on to the next one. While such a tactic can further your career, switching jobs too often will raise a prospective employer's antenna. Too many jobs in too little time tells employers that either you can't hold a job or you have no loyalty. Be prepared to explain your reasoning/rationale

Red flag No. 7: You give inconsistent answers in your interview
One tactic recruiting manager’s use during the recruitment process is to ask you the same question in several different ways. This is mostly to ensure that you're genuine with your answers and not just telling an employer what he or she wants to hear. Keep your responses sincere throughout the entire process and you should be good to go.

Red flag No. 8: You lack flexibility
Most people know what they want in a job as far as benefits, basic salary, bonus, etc. If you're unable to be flexible with some of your (unrealistic?) expectations, however, you're going to have a difficult time finding a job. Have a bottom line in terms of what you want before you start the job hunting process and be willing to bend a bit if necessary.

Red flag No. 9: Your application was -- in a word – lazy
Only doing the bare minimum of what's asked of you won't get very far -- in life or in your job search. Applying to jobs with the same CV and the same cover letter (or none at all) is pure laziness. And, if you won't spend extra time on yourself and your application materials, you probably won't do it for a client either.

Red flag No. 10: You lack objective or ambition
If you have no long-term goals, then you really have no short-term goals either. Long-term goals may change, however you need to have some concept of where you want to go. Know where you want to go and how you plan to get there. Otherwise you seem unfocused and unmotivated, which are two big no-no's for an applicant.

We are specialists in Medical & Pharmaceutical Recruitment, to secure your next role in this sector call us at 20:20 Selection Ltd on 0845 026 2020 and speak to one of our consultants or visit www.2020selection.co.uk to view our current Medical Sales vacancies

(Adapted from CareerBuilder)

Friday, 23 April 2010

Pharmaceutical Sales – A spark of interest

Having embarked on a career as a medical representative in 1987, I still reflect on the route that led me to the pharmaceutical industry. Being a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative doesn’t often appear in the list of careers that we aspire to as teenagers hence it is invariably something people come across coincidently. For me I spent five years in a hospital Biochemistry Dept completing post graduate studies and developing a strong clinical understanding of various diseases and illnesses. It was here I met Sales Representatives selling laboratory diagnostics and equipment which sparked an interest in sales (I have to admit to being initially impressed by the suit, car and perceived flexibility of their job). In fact what did appeal to me about a sales role was the inherent challenges working towards targets and ultimately being rewarded (bonus) and recognised for exceeding goals (working in the NHS could not fulfil that need) as well as selling products which genuinely make a difference to people’s lives.

Hence I started buying the New Scientist and Daily Telegraph; there was no internet job searching in those days! Quite quickly I secured two interviews for Laboratory Territory Manager positions before seeing an advertisement for Trainee Medical Representatives with a major pharmaceutical company.

Have to confess at that stage that pharmaceuticals was a bit of a mystery to me, but my Dad said that company was great (blue-chip), and there was a number to call to apply. Two interviews later, including being flown to head office, I was offered a GP/Hospital Representative position.

Looking back I do wonder how I got that job as these days we expect entry level candidates to know so much more about the day to day practicalities of the role, the NHS and how the business works. Clearly the company were looking for the basic ingredients which they could then train, develop and mould to reflect their values and culture in the eyes of their customers; GP, Nurses, Pharmacists, Consultants, Registrars, SHO etc.

Over twenty years later in a different NHS landscape I still believe this to be true so what are some of those basics;

Personal Qualities – An inner drive, self-starter, the ability to work on your own initiative, enthusiasm, can-do attitude, tenacity, the ability to problem solve, good interpersonal skills, the willingness as well as aptitude to learn.

Clinical Foundation – This means an interest in medicine, the ability to learn and apply technical information. You will need to communicate this knowledge to customers of all levels. ‘A’ level standard Biology should help with ABPI.

Business & Selling Skills – Understand you are there to increase sales; it is a sales job & not a promotional or educational position. Have a consultative selling style, i.e. probe to understand the customer needs and agenda before offering solutions. Key Account Management & Networking Skills. Understanding local NHS politics, targets, agenda and how these may impact on your business.

Clearly a lot of clinical and business skills can be taught as long as you have the right positive attitude. In summary I would describe the role of a Medical Sales Representative, whether that be GP, GP/Hospital, Hospital or Generics as the opportunity to run your own local business.

I have enjoyed a varied, challenging and satisfying career in the pharmaceutical industry. I also know others, who embarked on their career at the same time, who have had similar experiences and taken their careers in to different functions in the industry including: Marketing, Senior Sales Management, Training, Consultancy as well as others who are now Senior Representatives such as Hospital Specialist Representative or Healthcare Development Manager.

If this sparks an interest in you fantastic! To discuss your background and transferable skills then contact 20:20 Selection Ltd on 0845 026 2020 or visit www.2020selection.co.uk . We have current opportunities Nationwide with hot-spots in London, Kent, Sussex, Essex, Somerset, Wiltshire, East Anglia.

April 2010

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Many articles have been written about the best way to engage with our customers in the NHS. How best to partner with this new breed, made up of payers, commissioners, and medicines management gurus. How best to tap into their agenda. In fact, many careers have been built on telling us just how to sell to our customers, and an awful lot of consultancy fees have been paid to experts so that we can all be scared to death about this ‘new’ customer group who we are told work hidden away, been firmly shut doors in an increasingly complex and confusing NHS maze.

In my simple world view, yes, of course we do need to speak the same language as our customers, but we also need to ensure that we are getting the balance right, to ensure that our customer partnerships are mutually beneficial. We need to be truly customer focused, but we also need to achieve the win:win equilibrium, to avoid promising the world in value added services for very little commercial return.

Over the last few years, Key Account Management has been the new pharma industry term that seems to be bandied about on a daily basis. It is used often and widely and it seems to mean different things to different people in different companies. Every hiring manager seems to be looking for the elusive KAM. Does it mean a hospital representative? Does it mean an NHS Liaison Manager? Is it a bit of both? Or is it just a very good salesperson with the right attitude, the right skills and the common sense to convince key influential customers to sit round a table, to weigh up the pros and cons, and to agree on decisions that will help them to achieve their desired outcomes, but that will also grow product sales for their company?

In many ways, Key Account Management is a philosophy; a way of thinking, rather than some magical process. Account plans and systems can of course help to keep business on track, but they cannot be the golden ticket on their own. People still, and always will, buy from people. Outstanding KAM’s need to be outstandingly talented sales people. In the ‘good old’ days, when sales people were autonomous, and they had full accountability for their results, the successful ones managed their own business and they managed it well. Naturally, they identified and involved all key stakeholders, naturally they engaged with clinicians, and non clinicians alike, and naturally they engaged the people who ultimately held the purse strings. They were unblocking the clinical and funding barriers that KAM’s and Market Access Manager’s do today, whilst always remembering to sell.
This breed are driven, competitive, innovative, competitive, hardworking, flexible responders to change and above all, as superb net workers and communicators, they can be relied upon to consistently achieve results.

At 20:20 Selection Limited, we know that recruitment agencies are mainly fishing from the same pond. The skill we use to catch the KAM’s is to recognise the specific species, and to know which bait to use.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Interview Guidance

Interview Guidance

PRIOR TO the Interview

Look committed and find out as much as possible about the company.

Visit their web site for more information on the company.

Find out who will your competitors be and as much as possible about the market/customers you will be selling to

Job Description
Make sure you are fully aware what the role is you are being interviewed for. Your consultant at 20:20 Selection Ltd will have fully briefed you on this.

Be confident that you are technically qualified to do the job. We would not have spoken to you about the role if we didn’t think your profile matched the client’s criteria!

Have examples from your previous roles to demonstrate your ability to do this job and evidence in your brag file to back this up


Personal Presentation

Look your smartest and show your most professional side during the interview. A company is more likely to employ someone who is well presented and who will therefore best represent their company to customers.

Arrive to start the interview on time (be early if possible)

Obtain clear directions for the location of the interview and plan your journey, allowing plenty of time to arrive.

Introduce yourself courteously (first impressions last!)

Express yourself clearly.

Show tact, manners, courtesy, and maturity at every opportunity.

Be confident and maintain poise. The ability to handle your nerves during the interview will come across as confidence in your ability to handle the job.

Be prepared to show how your experience would benefit the company.

Ask questions concerning the company or products and the position for which you are being interviewed for. An interviewer will be impressed by an eager and inquisitive mind. You will also be able to demonstrate that you can contribute to the company or industry if you show an interest in its products and/or services.

Take time to think and construct your answers to questions to avoid rushing into a vague and senseless reply.
Demonstrate that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well and that you will fit in with the company's organisational structure and the team in which you will work.

Show willingness to start at the bottom and work up.

Anticipate questions you’re likely to be asked and have answers prepared in advance. Uncertainty and disorganisation show the interviewer that you are unprepared and unclear what your goals are.

Be assertive without being aggressive (ensure you close – remember you are a sales person & ‘you’ are your product)

Thank the interviewer for their time

Interview Don'ts

Be late for the interview. Tardiness is a sign of irresponsibility or disorganisation and the employer could take it as what to expect in the future.

Arrive unprepared for the interview.

Say unfavourable things about previous employers.

Make excuses for failings.

Give vague responses to questions.

Show lack of career planning - no goals or purpose could convey the impression you're merely shopping around or only want the job for a short time.

Show too much concern about rapid advancement.

Overemphasise money. Your interviewing goal is to sell yourself to the interviewer and to get an offer of employment. Salary discussion is secondary.

Show any reservations you may have about the role/company. You can always turn down second interviews and job offers after you have had time to appraise your concerns in the cold light of day.

Express strong prejudices or any personal intolerance.

Leave your mobile phone on during the interview.

These are general tips that can be applied to any interview situation. Part of the service we offer at 20:20 Selection Ltd is to help you prepare for specific client interviews. We have key account managers specifically working with clients & members of the team who come from a pharmaceutical sales management background so you will get personalised expert advice relating to your interview! To find out more about 20:20 Selection Ltd visit www.2020selection.co.uk

Monday, 25 January 2010

New Addition to the Recruitment Team at 20:20 Selection

The New Year brings a new addition to the Recruitment Team at 20:20 Selection Ltd.
In the summer of 2008, Samantha Harrison, was the proud winner of the prestigious Pharma Times Senior RBM of the Year Award. At the start of 2010, she has begun the New Year with an exciting new challenge, by proudly joining the 20:20 Selection team as their new Recruitment Consultant.
Sam joined the pharmaceutical industry over 20 years ago as a Medical Sales Representative, and since then, she has worked in a wide variety of roles in her career, in both pharmaceuticals and in the CSO marketplace. Sam has extremely wide experience to bring to 20:20 Selection, having been an Oncology Hospital Specialist, a Field Trainer, a Regional Business Manager, Management Trainer, National Sales Manager, Operations Manager and most recently, as a Project Director at Innovex (UK) Ltd, managing multiple vacancy management teams for major clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
Karen says, “Sam has built numerous teams for pharmaceutical companies in her time at both Innovex and Ashfield, so she has a great deal of experience and expertise in the field of recruitment. Sam understands exactly what kind of candidates our clients need, in order for them to compete in an increasingly demanding market. I know from first hand experience of working with her in the past, that she has the skill set to do a great job, and also a superb attitude that will help her to fit in perfectly at 20:20 Selection. She is talented, professional and extremely hard working. Those factors are crucial in recruitment.”
Sam has always kept an eye on the successful growth of 20:20 Selection since Karen Forshaw, 20:20’s Director, started the company. Sam and Karen have known each other for a long time, as they were colleagues together at Roche Pharmaceuticals, back in the mid 1990’s. Formed in 2002, 20:20 Selection Ltd has built a reputation for providing unrivalled recruitment services in terms of its commitment and dedication to both candidates and clients. “The reputation for quality that Karen and the team have developed within the market place is the main reason that I was so keen to come on board”, explains Sam. “I am delighted to be part of the team at 20:20 Selection”.