Create the plan. Execute the plan.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Yet, if you’ve launched a product in healthcare, you know the reality. Even with a well-conceived plan and full organizational buy-in, effective execution can be a daunting challenge.
Launch excellence means overcoming countless obstacles, everything from predictable amounts of procrastination to a wide range of entirely unpredictable events.
Of course, successful launches do happen—statistics say about 50% of launches achieve peak sales. The question is, “How?” CMK Select has developed a tried and true process that can dramatically increase your odds for launch excellence.
Preparing for excellence: Accountability and readiness
A truly optimized launch must operate on a solid foundation. That means achieving complete alignment across the entire launch team, including all of the cross-functional teams (also known as “work streams”). An optimal launch also requires continuous communication, ongoing consensus-building and organizational transparency in every aspect of the launch.
But that’s simply not enough. Reaching true launch excellence also requires verifiable accountability. That means establishing milestones for each individual workstream that are both directly measurable and highly visible.
And then we take accountability even further. Peer-to-peer accountability has repeatedly proven vital to achieving high levels of success. So we find that the best way to keep teams accountable is by holding recurring launch readiness meetings. We use readiness meetings to:
- Determine the critical path
- Drive the project schedule
- Monitor issues, risks, and key decisions
- Prepare for senior management updates
- Ensure operational readiness at product approval
A typical meeting brings together 10-20 cross-functional teams to discuss what’s been accomplished and what’s upcoming. The meetings also serve as a forum to discuss risks, anticipate problems, and develop mitigation strategies when something arises that could negatively impact a successful launch.
This approach increases the likelihood that tasks will actually get done, strongly supporting accountability.
Executing for excellence: Atypical timing
In addition to accountability and readiness, we also find that launch success is enhanced by an important wrinkle—an atypical approach to timing.
When organizations plan, they plan annually—annual budget cycles, annual performance reviews, annual sales meetings, etc. And annual goals are, of course, important. However, many high performers can lose focus when there’s too much distance between setting and accomplishing goals. They need to keep short term targets unerringly in their sights.
That’s why we recommend chunking your year into smaller pieces, a concept called “periodization.” Breaking the year into chunks, specifically 12-week blocks, provides enough time to accomplish key tasks—and yet each chunk is short enough to give team members a sense of urgency.
Importantly, a 12-week block shouldn’t include too many tasks. It’s actually far more effective to focus on a limited number. We recommend leveraging the focus created through short term chunking by producing a specific plan of action for each task. We find that this approach can drive massive results.
Applying the 12-week planning concept, each cross-functional team or work stream should select the two or three initiatives it will achieve during the next 12 weeks. These initiatives will have already been aligned to the objectives of the launch; and those, in turn, are based on the product’s vision and market position.
Once each workstream’s initiatives are selected, the 12-week chunks should be further subdivided into smaller periods—dividing activities into monthly, weekly and daily assignments. Even the most complex tasks can be managed using this approach.
Progressing toward excellence: Readiness reports
As we’ve noted, readiness is one of the central factors needed for any successful launch. At CMK Select, we find that by tracking and reporting on the following six readiness factors, you can quickly and easily supply a 30,000-foot view of your launch progress to all key stakeholders and senior management.
Marketplace Readiness: Are you ready to establish your brand in the marketplace?
Report on the status of preparations for arrival of your product in the commercial marketplace and the status of specific launch preparations.
HCP & Patient Readiness: Is your medical/patient community ready?
Report on the status of preparations affecting the medical and patient communities.
Supply Chain Readiness: Is your supply chain ready?
Report on the status of supply chain preparations, specifically progress toward stocking that will match the uptake based on forecasted demand.
Access Readiness: Will your product be ready for reimbursement?
Report on the status of connections to a broad base of payers, and efforts to promote the benefits of the product that will lead to reimbursing the product at launch.
Organization Readiness: Is your organization ready?
Report on the status of operational adjustments to add this product to your portfolio.
Approval Readiness: Is your brand ready for approval?
Report on the status of regulatory submissions approvals needed for launch.
Become accountable for excellence
Over the years, dozens of leading organizations have relied on CMK Select to achieve launch excellence. To see how our proven methodology can optimize your product’s trajectory, contact CMK Select today.