Bausch & Lomb Case Study: Sales Manager Development Programme

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Client Profile

Industry sector: Healthcare

Number of employees: 13,000

Location: International – EMEA & USA


A high proportion of Bausch & Lomb RSMs have been promoted from sales representative, an indication of the company’s commitment to succession planning.  However, like newly appointed sales managers in many organisations they faced limited development platforms to support this move, creating a risk that, without these tools, managers would simply rely on their selling skills instead of their sales management skills.

Bausch & Lomb’s recent acquisition by Warburg Pincus, a private equity business with an impressive history of profitable growth in the Healthcare industry, sets the improvement of RSM effectiveness in a wider commercial context.  Prevailing trends in the global market and a business-wide transformation project both prompted this global initiative towards assessing the current EMEA RSM population before determining specific training and development initiatives.

All of these factors contributed to a clear Bausch & Lomb objective: to build for the long term and make changes with the future in mind.  The RSM Development Centre would not only allow the Bausch & Lomb sales function to benchmark current standards of performance but, from a wider sales effectiveness perspective:

• Ensure RSMs have the right capabilities and are focused on the right activities
• Ensure all RSMs have a development plan in place
• Identify talent within the RSM community
• Ensure all new RSMs are selected against the required capability standard

From an a&dc perspective, the challenges were clear: to assess up to 50 current RSMs across three Bausch & Lomb business units and 15 EMEA countries, each in local language and to provide a realistic and challenging series of assessment activities that would benchmark current standards of performance and identify clear strengths and development priorities.


a&dc began by conducting research with key stakeholders to identify what the key success factors were for RSMs within Bausch & Lomb.  Through understanding the key behaviours which differentiated effective performance from less than effective performance, we were able to determine the key capabilities to measure during the Assessment Development Centre.  This research informed the design of the Assessment Development Centre, which consisted of a number of off-the-shelf simulation exercises selected for their relevance to the demands of the RSM role.  These included a roleplay, which simulated a one to one meeting between the Manager and a direct report and a written analysis and presentation exercise in which Participants were asked to undertake some business planning activities.  Additionally, Participants were asked to complete a personality questionnaire.

Following the design of the Assessment Development Centre, a&dc worked with Bausch & Lomb to manage the communication process, implementing phased communications to Senior Managers and other key stakeholders and to the Participants.  These communications detailed the rationale and purpose of the RSM Assessment Development Centre, gave key information required by the different audiences and set out clearly the communications cascade plan and process.  This ensured that key messages were delivered to the relevant audiences in a timely manner by local HR Business Partners, a key factor in ensuring that all parties were involved and understood what was expected of them.

The Assessment Development Centres were initially rolled out across EMEA in nine countries with five further to follow.  Participants were asked to undertake the written exercise, which was completed online in advance of the Assessment Development Centre along with the personality test.  This allowed the Centre itself to be administered in half a day, with Assessors and Centre Managers completing all assessments and the wash-up by the end of the day.  Each Assessment Development Centre was run in local language, drawing on a&dc’s extensive catalogue of translated exercises and using our professional network of International Partners.  The initial Centres have been delivered to Participants from 10 countries including the UK, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Portugal and South Africa with further Centres planned for France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Russia and Sweden.  Each Centre was run with between 1 and 12 participants depending upon location and observers were a mix of a&dc trained Bausch & Lomb senior managers and a&dc Consultants.  The quality and consistency of each event was ensured by conducting a number of Assessor Training workshops with each of these groups, during which consistent benchmarks for assessment were agreed.

Following the Assessment Development Centre, each Participant received a personalised feedback report, highlighting key strengths and development priorities.  This feedback report was shared in a one to one feedback discussion with one of the Observers from the Assessment Development Centre.  Following this, Participants were invited to discuss their feedback with their Line Manager and create a personalised development plan to support them in capitalising on their strengths and developing the areas identified.  Subsequent to these feedback sessions, individuals were provided with a range of learning and development options to enable them to build and develop in the key skills required.


The initial training by a&dc of internal assessors gave them confidence to assess and left them in no doubt that the Exercises chosen and Centre format would work well.  The use of professional role players provided a high level of credibility and realism for Participants and the feedback from Sales Managers has been very positive.  In particular, being able to participate in their local language enabled them to feel comfortable and to perform to the best of their ability.

Bausch & Lomb are confident of the successful rollout of the remaining five Centres and will blend the final results with internal analysis of future KPI performance.  A preliminary review of the Centre results has given positive reassurance that the process is working as planned, giving the Bausch & Lomb OD team an opportunity to determine development needs and next steps.

a&dc and Bausch & Lomb will continue to work together on future enhancements to the Sales Managers Development programme.  The whole experience of the Assessment Development Centre process has opened up a new dialogue within Bausch & Lomb, with the Managers and Sales Managers moving away from a singular focus on sales targets to now building individual developmental plans with an awareness of strength and opportunities for the individual.  The interim results and qualitative data provide by a&dc has given quality Training Needs Analysis data to build training modules and on the job suggestions for development.

What the client says

“Our partnership with a&dc has proved to be highly successful; they have been advising us every step of the way with best practise for an effective Assessment Development Centre. a&dc delivered a quality experience in each of our markets, with the a&dc Centre Managers supporting each Centre to ensure that they were robust and credible” Donna Mason – Organisation & Talent Development Specialist, Bausch and Lomb