Decoding Indian Pharma Sales Managers’ Leadership Behaviour

The prescription medicines business in India is primarily driven by the field sales force of MedicalRepresentatives (MRs). These MRs regularly visit the doctors to update them about the various medicines their pharmaceutical company makes/markets with an attempt to convince them to prescribe it for the patients. MRs also make sure that the medicines are available with the nearby retail chemist shops. Thus the MR’s performance lays the foundation of his pharmaceutical company’s success. The pharma sales managers who lead the team of MRs need to achieve their monthly sales targets; to do this, they need to get their team of MRs to deliver the expected results consistently. The leadership qualities of these sales managers play a crucial role in the performance of MRs under their control and hence, in the success of the organisation.

This paper establishes a connection between the leadership theory published in Harvard Business Review and the leadership behaviour of the Indian pharmaceutical sales managers. Goleman’s six leadership styles theory is used as the base to study the self-perceived leadership behaviour of practicing pharmaceutical sales managers. Confirmatory Factor Analysis is employed using Smart PLS 3 and results are
analysed. It was found that Goleman’s classic leadership theory could not explain the Indian pharma sales manager’s leadership behaviour. The paper also covers the use of Exploratory Factor Analysis to establish a new model explaining the Indian pharma sales manager’s leadership behaviour and tests the model by employing the Confirmatory Factor Analysis.
Keywords: Leadership, Pharma Sales Manager,
Goleman, Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Indian
Pharma Industry, MNC, Leadership Style, Leadership
Behavior, Proficient Leadership Behavior

Globally, pharmaceutical sales management function is the backbone of the pharmaceutical companies, and if managed well, can bring about a sea change in the company’s top and bottom line performance. However, effective management of a pharma sales department to achieve the periodic sales targets is not an easy task for practicing sales managers. Amongst the many challenges faced by the sales manager of a pharmaceutical company operating in India is the high employee turnover and hence, the department never really settles down as a well-established team. Hence, leadership and team management skills of sales managers play a crucial role of keeping the team motivated and all geared up to achieve the preset team targets. To embark on the journey of decoding Indian pharmaceutical sales manager’s leadership behaviour, one must be well versed with the uniqueness of the Indian pharmaceuticals market and its related dynamics; hence, we dedicate the next few paragraphs to briefly cover essential and related

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