In-house or consultancy for commercial excellence - what’s right for you?

With commercial excellence growing in popularity, we’ve put together a number of articles to help businesses work out which option is right for them. We started with “What is commercial excellence?” followed by “What does a typical commercial excellence team look like?” And now we’re looking at an in-house team vs consultancy. We spoke with Max Eldridge, a Team Manager at Real, to find out more.

Choosing based on company size

The size of a company can often have an impact on whether they choose to build their own in-house team or opt for a consultancy. This may be due to budget restrictions or a lack of requirement.

Generally speaking, smaller pharma companies have fewer/smaller portfolios, and have less launches and affiliates that they need to ensure remain consistent. For this reason, there’s a tendency to use a consultancy. As Max explains, “Whilst some smaller companies are hiring a commercial excellence director from the get go, some are hiring a consultancy to do the groundwork, letting someone in-house implement the outcomes.”

But, for medium to large organisations with larger portfolios, it’s more effective and beneficial to hire an in-house commercial excellence team. Otherwise it could prove costly to hire consultancies to work on strategic projects. “Although consultancies find a solution, it’s then up to managers to take that on if they want to. With an in-house commercial excellence team, they’re able to work across the business on various projects and implement change,” says Max.

Things to consider with commercial excellence teams

  • Price. Using a consultant can prove to be more costly than hiring a full team, as consultancies often charge premium prices. One of our clients used to hire consultancies to work on strategic projects but it ended up proving more expensive, so they put in place their own consulting team. As a result, they saved money and found that things were being implemented, instead of just suggested.
  • Implementation. Consultants are great at finding a solution but then it’s typically up to existing managers to take that on-board and implement the changes. Quite often, it’s a case of mind sets needing to be changed and so, as a result, this method doesn’t always work. Hiring an in-house team ensures there are permanent members of staff, ready to help educate senior staff members on the changes that need to occur. Not only will they be able to come up with solutions to problems, they’ll also be there to make sure actions are taken.
  • Longevity. Consultants are able to provide short term solutions for current issues, but they’re unable to keep a consistent eye on the situation long-term. Should you wish to revisit your processes in the future, you’ll have to either keep the consultancy working a few days a week, which could prove costly, or re-hire them in the future. So if you want a solution that’s going to work for you for years to come, hiring a commercial excellence team may prove to be the better option.
  • Company Fit. With an in-house team, you’re able to select people that fit in with the company – both in terms of sharing the company’s beliefs and company culture. You’ll be able to find people that will get along with the senior team, helping to make changes happen. And you’ll be able to do all of this without sacrificing the experience and knowledge you’re looking for. For many candidates, getting the culture fit right is key to whether they’ll take a job and how long they’ll stay in a position.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to your commercial excellence team; it’s simply a case of choosing what works best for your company. With our commercial excellence series, we hope we’ve given you enough information to make an informed decision. If you have any further questions or are looking to develop your commercial excellence team, please contact Max – just click here to email him.

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