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What is MSL Excellence?

In recent years the term “MSL Excellence” has become commonplace amongst many pharmaceutical companies.  Some Medical Affairs leaders have a clearly defined set of strategic projects that look at the MSL role, processes, and systems holistically.  Others see MSL Excellence as simply their operational functions supporting the MSL team.  Though definitions may vary, most Medical Affairs leaders are currently working on an MSL Excellence initiative.  Medical Affairs teams are investing more in their MSL teams by formalizing strategies and even specific roles responsible for MSL Excellence.  Over 50% of participants in our recent MSL Excellence Study stated that they have a dedicated leader for their MSL Excellence work.  MSL Excellence generally consists of a collection of projects or initiatives that are focused on improving the impact of the MSL team.

We define MSL Excellence as a strategy to align the people, processes, and systems of an MSL team to achieve medical goals, deeply engage with the medical community, and impact patient lives.  The work of MSL Excellence can be broken down into the six categories illustrated below.

A brief summary of these categories is as follows:

  • Role of the MSL – Aligning on role responsibilities, expectations, and standards
  • Metrics & KPIs – Creating the correct metrics that demonstrate activity and value
  • Processes – Simplifying, clarifying, and streamlining processes such as insight gathering, MIRs, and interactions
  • Systems – CRM, LMS, KOL profiles, document management, and insights
  • Training & Development – Programs focused on developing courses and curriculum for MSLs
  • Team & Leadership – Broader activities such as rewards and recognition, career path, and leadership development

A lot of effort, time, and investment is made in ensuring organizations have the right strategies for their science and brands.  The same amount of effort and discipline needs to be put into building the capabilities of your field team so that they remain able to adapt to the medical strategy as needed.

Keep watching our blog at for more tools and resources about each of these elements of MSL Excellence.

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