Cooper Pharmaceuticals Case Analysis
On the surface, the issue of Bob Marsh’s firing from Cooper Pharmaceuticals appears to be an open and shut case; he did not adhere to the repeated warnings by management to alter his performance and selling style, therefore he was fired. However, other considerations are in play when you analyze this case further. Bob was an employee of Cooper for twelve years at the time of his termination, and had seemingly improved his performance when prompted to do so. Bob was also exceptionally well received by physicians, office receptionists, and hospital personnel, which is a vital attribute when being a “detailer.” His persistent downside, though, was his lack of organization, planning, and follow-up, and a tendency to question some of the company’s major promotion programs. The central question to this case is, “how could this happen to someone like Bob Marsh in a company like Copper?” In my opinion, while Cooper Pharmaceuticals was not entirely without fault, Bob’s termination was primarily the result of his own actions, or lack thereof. Cooper Pharmaceuticals was a major manufacturer of prescription drugs for the medical and dental professions and had a reputation throughout the industry for having “excellent” management practices. The company fielded a sales force of over 500 detailers whose job was to persuade medical personnel to use and prescribe Cooper Pharmaceuticals’ drugs. Initially, Bob fit the mold of what was desired by Cooper in prospective employees. He was rated highly in his sincerity, aggressiveness, attitude, enthusiasm, learning ability, judgment, character, affability, and appearance; Bob seemed like the perfect fit. He was hired about a month after his initial interview and, much to his delight, was assigned to a territory in his hometown, Toledo. From there, Bob was seemingly ready to start his training and begin a long and prosperous career with Cooper. An effective sales training program is vital to the success of a company’s sales force. A training program should have a finite set of objectives: increased sales productivity, lower turnover, higher morale and sense of purpose, improved communication, improved customer relations, and improved self-management. It is also important that companies provide a method for systematically reinforcing their training programs. Otherwise, salespeople are unlikely to change their behavior. The training at Cooper Pharmaceuticals, in principle, should have worked quite well. Employees, including Bob, showed signs of increased sales performance on a year-to-year basis, and in 1989 sales exceed $1 billion. Turnover was low for their industry, around 8%. Also, 60% of detailers had ten or more years with the company, and 25% had fewer than five years. Each employee received a company car, generous benefits, and reimbursement for normal business expenses. Bob, while maintaining the same position as detailer, went from a starting salary of $35,000 in year one to a salary over $60,000 in his twelfth year. Bob received a month’s training in product characteristics and selling, or detailing, skills at Cooper’s headquarters. Aside from this training, both new and experienced detailers received regular training from the 35 district managers. This reinforcement was done so to ensure that all detailers maintained the level of expertise and professionalism requisite of a Cooper Pharmaceuticals detailer. From these facts, it becomes more apparent that the necessary skills to be successful were properly trained, informed, and reinforced in Bob by Cooper. Even from his initial interview with Cooper, there was one glaring fault Bob possessed: his seeming indifference to organization. His first district manager, John Meredith, felt that Bob gave little advanced thought to the physicians he hoped to see. Then, upon seeing the physicians, he had no definite plan or approach once in the physician’s office. From the beginning of this class, we...
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