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Perspectives on Field Force Mapping

Posted by Matt Breese on Mar 7, 2017

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Determining when and how to deploy a sales force is a critical component of a pharmaceutical marketing strategy. Whether a company is launching a new drug or simply refining their sales resources, multiple factors go into an effective field force strategy.  

The Impact of Access on Field Mapping

Many pharmaceutical experts predict the structure of sales forces will be more flexible in the future. In Pharma Times, Ryan Wooller, business development director at Star, predicts future pharma sales teams will be made up of many different roles, tailoring their behaviors and messages to meet local health requirements.

In some cases, entire geographies can be excluded from a manufacturer’s plans due to the nature of patient populations, prescriber personas, or competitive penetration. In particular regions, it is more impactful to use reimbursement specialists and patient support personnel than traditional sales reps.

Furthermore, if a drug has extremely restricted access, the company won't be able to contract with payers. In this case, pharma reps simply need to provide call numbers and marketing collateral to prescribers and patients. This material should include information on restrictions and the treatment process.

Pharma Sales Operations

Even if pharma can achieve favorable market access through contracting or payer reimbursement methods, a sales strategy is essential.  

According to Optymyze, having defined sales procedures in place allows pharma companies to:

  • Adapt faster to market demands
  • Automate business processes
  • Integrate, validate, and manage data
  • Design and maintain territories
  • Improve sales effectiveness
  • Identify consumer trends
  • Forecast expenses

Data Supports A Field Force Foundation

MMIT’s market access data can be used as a solid foundation for understanding field force needs at a granular level. Pharma organizations can use this information to find gaps they need to fill to ensure prescribers understand access and make it easier for them to prescribe.

Defining Sales Territory

One critical sales exercise is the mapping and deployment of a field team. Market access and lives data should be used proactively to understand where field resources are needed. This process should be completed as early in the commercialization process as possible. When done well, mapping helps sales teams seize opportunities for available scripts.

A strategy, developed by MMIT, defines field sales territory mapping:

Field Sales Territory Mapping.png

When implementing a sales strategy, pharma management should avoid making common mistakes. For example, pharma should not automatically maintain the same resources in a territory each year or assume all major regions need a standard number of reps. Pharma must evaluate the geographic access situation on a consistent basis.

To learn more strategies for mapping, download MMIT’s playbook: 5 Ways to Map Pharma Field Sales Teams.


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Topics: Market Access, Branding & Marketing