How Kowa Pharmaceuticals America’s National Field Training Program Evolved to Exceed Expectations
At the heart of Kowa Pharmaceuticals America’s National Field Training (NFT) initiative is to provide fulfilling opportunities to employees by developing skills and management development training while driving tangible results for the company.
For many years, Kowa chose candidates regionally by selecting the best sales representatives in each district and region and promoted them to NFT without any further evaluation.
Kowa moved to a different model that includes an interview process to evaluate motivational and positional fit, career discussions, a formal development pathway and a transparent monetary channel to compensate National Field Trainers for time spent out of their territory. A formal development pathway charts a learning plan, bridges the skill gaps, and drives a more consistent use of the Kowa Selling Skills model throughout the organization.
One of the most important considerations for the NFT role is the candidates’ desire to help others succeed. By providing motivation and support to their peers in learning and performance, NFTs helped drive important values and develop the future sales team of the organization. Kowa infused a sense of honor in the NFT appointment. Therefore, highly skilled salespeople who secure the NFT appointment consider it an honor and a significant investment in one’s professional career.
Through pre and post program assessments, Kowa gathered feedback from the NFTs to support evaluation and continued program improvement. Now the NFT program is focused nationally and is exceeding expectations.
Partnership with CMR Institute to Develop Strong Training Solution
The team at Kowa partnered with CMR Institute to develop, implement, and support a robust program for NFTs. The goal of the program is to support the continued development of employees and provide an environment that fosters professional growth and learning experiences for the NFTs during the assignment.
The program illustrated above includes pre and post assessments to measure and compare the learners’ knowledge and behaviors throughout the program.
Learners also complete a cadence of self-directed eLearning resources to advance their knowledge and build leadership skills. Each quarter the content focuses on a specific topic: Overview of leadership, self-development/management, leading employees, and leading effective teams.
The content was well received by learners, with one stating, “I really enjoyed completing the NFT monthly courses and I feel like I learned a lot regarding management versus leadership.”
Accompanying the monthly coursework is a learner workbook to track assignments, record notes and answer reflection and application questions. Additionally, the program includes a monthly cohort call facilitated by a team member to promote accountability, discussion and application.
NFTs further support continuous learning at Kowa by acting as cohort leaders, motivating and leading representatives in the career pathways program. Acting as cohort leaders for representatives has proven to be mutually beneficial, as one of the NFT participants states:
“To be honest, this was much more rewarding than I had anticipated. The opportunity for one-on-one training of the new hires really helped to sharpen my selling skills and really forces oneself to deepen their knowledge of all things pharmaceutical and Kowa.”
Live Summit for Reinforcements and Skill Development
Kowa conducts a three-day summit toward the end of the program year to bring together all the NFTs to participate in focused workshops on key skills identified as crucial for the role.
Regional sales directors and the national sales director attend this summit and assist with the facilitation of certain sessions. This additional visibility for the NFTs supports their career goals to potentially move up through the organization.
In addition to the learning and development opportunities, this summit provides team building and idea sharing to form long standing relationships.
NFT Program Results
The results of this NFT program are illustrated below.
Matt Krasnowiecki, director, sales training and development, for Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, said, “By combining the rigorous NFT selection process – focusing on the motivational drivers of the candidate, the extensive education provided by our partner and the hands-on learning at our annual summit – we have been able to make great strides in personal and professional development for the NFTs and their colleagues. The Kowa Selling Skills model has also been widely promoted and has become the foundation of our coaching reports; NFTs serve as subject matter experts at all our meetings.
At our most recent national sales meeting, we were able to celebrate 11 current or previous NFTs as they walked the stage for the prestigious Presidents Achievement and Circle of Excellence Awards.
We have seen four internal promotions to district manager, and one to the home office role of sales training manager.”
Kowa is in the fourth year of the NFT program and CMR Institute continues to support this highly successful development program.