Earlier this week, we shared some perspectives on personal promotional in the pharmaceutical industry that focused on some of the unique strategies that manufacturers implement to combat increasingly restricted physician face time. Check out part 1 here.
Reinventing your Sales Force
It is time for pharmaceutical companies to reinvent their sales forces.More than 85 percent of patients expect their healthcare providers to give them information about their medications, so interaction with providers — albeit a different type of interaction — is still a vital service and sales representatives are still relevant.
To achieve relevance in today’s healthcare environment requires:
- Being strategic
- Delivering value
- Harnessing technology
Being Strategic: Limited access to physicians is a fact of life, so how, when and why to deploy a sales force is a critical consideration. Rather than relegating sales representatives to a lesser role, re-think their responsibilities and how to use them most effectively. Each healthcare organization is different, but decoding the supply chain might be a valuable first step in breaking down new barriers. Nurses, procurement officers and C-suite decision makers may be more accessible than physicians, and open to presentations that deliver clinical and financial outcomes-based data. Developing this channel might also provide an eventual pathway to personal interactions with groups of providers.
Delivering Value: It is important to be respectful and recognize that interactions with physicians are also intrusions in direct patient care. Personalized messaging that speaks to the needs of providers adds value to in-person or remote interactions, and turns intrusions into beneficial interruptions. Successful sales representatives frame their interactions around products and services that help physicians and healthcare organizations achieve their goals, whether focusing on improved patient outcomes, clinical efficiencies or financial stability. Specialized services, such as dynamic formulary cards and online patient and provider education, give physicians tools that help them care for their patients.
Harnessing Technology: There’s no turning back — we are living in the age of technology. Identifying preferred methods of information-gathering opens the door to enhanced communication. Webinars, Skype calls, email, apps and other online tools are the technology components in the sales representative’s modern tool kit, which, in the past, often included just a one-on-one visit and printed leave-behind materials. Merging technology and traditional communication methods further empowers the sales representative. For example, digital information, downloadable apps and streaming patient education presented at a professional conference blends the traditional methods of communication (one-on-one interactions) with the newest methods of technology-driven communication.
Be creative. The successful pharmaceutical sales force is still viable, but must be adaptable. When one door closes, it is time to open a new one.
How does your company view the future of personal promotion and pharma field force strategy? Tweet @MMITnetwork to have a conversation!