An Integrated Approach to Developing Business Acumen

Developing Business Acumen Skills

There is an ongoing debate as to whether business acumen can be taught or if it is an intuitive savvy that one inherently possesses.  Either way, it is critical for organizations to develop and implement an integrated strategy for developing customer-facing roles' business acumen to meet the evolving marketplace demands.    This strategy must: 
  • Impart the importance of effective business and account planning with clearly defined planning and review processes
  • Develop business acumen skills and related competencies such as decision making, strategic thinking, problem solving, planning, resource allocation, and team collaboration skills  
  • Create a culture that values and practices ongoing coaching and feedback
  • Leverage the learning and development function to create blended learning solutions which enhance account management knowledge and skill
  • Focus development planning efforts to include the identification of knowledge and skill gaps related to the evolving healthcare marketplace
Building Business Acumen Skills Requires a Blended Approach
As with other development initiatives, no one learning activity provides the "quick answer." Organizations must leverage different methods and on-the-job experiences coupled with ongoing coaching and feedback to improve skill development.  Programs and tools must:
  • Turn generalities such as "business acumen" or "strategic thinking" into tangible behaviors and practices for sales professionals to execute
  • Maximize participants' time together during on-site sessions for experiential learning and provide feedback that increases competence and confidence to apply skills back on-the-job
  • Leverage the collective knowledge and experience of participants to share lessons learned and practical approaches
  • Include pre-, during, and post-program assessment
When the commitment is made to take customer-facing roles out of the field for a training workshop, the program needs to leverage adult learning principles and include interactive exercises.  

Organizations also need to design sustainability tools that support customer-facing roles.  It is important to include a variety of learning and coaching tools, such as:
  1. Ongoing distance learning webinars that reinforce critical concepts and provide skill development. 
  2. Performance toolkits that bring together all of the required content, process models, templates, and skill development. 
  3. "Leader-led Learning Modules" to be used by leaders and account managers to help their teams practice, apply, and continuously improve processes and skills over time.  
  4. Coaching Guides for managers that include "Instant Assessments" or questions that help determine the level of knowledge and behaviors typically performed in the field. 
WLH Consulting, Inc. ("WLH") can work with you to develop the appropriate learning programs, and supporting tools to drive desired results. For more information on how WLH Consulting, Inc. can help you customize a Business/Account Planning Framework or support a Business Acumen Learning Program, please email, or feel free to call (954) 385-0770.

Wendy Heckelman, Ph.D., and Team
(954) 385-0770 

WLH is pleased to announce we will be presenting and exhibiting at the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network (LTEN) on June 11-14 in Phoenix, Arizona. Please be sure to visit our Booth #411 to learn more about our Rx for Retention, Account Management, and Change Agility offerings.

Complimentary Webinars from WLH Consulting, Inc.
Defining an Account Management Strategy
for Life Science Companies

Thursday, June 21, 2018  11:00 - 11:45 AM EST

In response to the evolving healthcare marketplace and reduced access, life science companies are redefining their account management strategies. This webinar provides best practices for effective strategic account management.

Leading Change, Navigating Transition
The 5C's of Transition Leadership®

Tuesday, June 26, 2018  12:00 - 12:45 PM EST

Research indicates that 70% of large-scale change initiatives fail. Join us to learn the best practices for leading a successful change effort. This webinar will help close the gaps related to two primary factors contributing to change failure.  Read More


Best Practices for Business and Account Planning
Thursday, July 12, 2018  12:00 - 12:45 PM EST

As the healthcare ecosystem evolves, BioPharma companies must put consistent business and account planning processes in place to ensure effective execution. This webinar offers a framework including best practices to assist you in these efforts.  
Retaining High Performing Talent:  Specific
Strategies to Retain Women in Your Organization
Tuesday, July 24, 2018  12:00 - 12:45 PM EST

This webinar highlights the latest research on retention factors for women in the workplace.  Leaders and managers will learn best practices for creating a culture of gender parity and recommendations for implementing talent retention strategies.

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