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Creating an environment of value for pharmaceutical sales reps

Three factors changing the pharmaceutical and healthcare Industries that impact the traditional pharmaceutical sales rep model.

With reimbursement models, changing buyer profiles and digital impacting the traditional role of the pharma sales rep, some believed these trends could mark the beginning of the end for the sales force. However, there are new, significant opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to improve sales when they invest in bringing their sales teams to be more responsive and relevant to today’s customers and influencers.


Accenture research found that nearly one in four direct sales force interactions targeting doctors have been replaced with digital interactions.

Three new imperatives are taking center stage:

  • When sales reps understand the objectives and address the “new” needs of the doctors with whom they interact, they can deliver product messages in ways that better speak to the doctor’s needs.

  • Sales reps can help deliver “new” value to doctors by offering tools and solutions such as patient-focused services, access and discharge programs, and other patient-oriented solutions that go beyond the product they are selling. This allows them to become advocates committed to improving patient outcomes.

  • Doctors, patients, payers and institutional administrators are all now invested in outcome-focused care and a pharmaceutical companies’ sales force can put new talent structures in place to align to their needs when selling to these “new” customers. This broader set of byers and influencers all expect to be part of the conversation regarding approved therapies and treatment protocols.

To navigate this transition toward a sales and service model that helps stakeholders achieve their objectives, pharmaceutical companies need to:

  1. Address the needs of a broader network. By shifting the sales culture focus to address the needs of the new buyers mentioned above, pharma companies will need to evaluate the marketplace to identify opportunities for the sales organization to add value, while ensuring they don’t introduce regulatory and compliance risk. It is also critical to add a level of collaboration from the sales resources with marketing and other functional areas to develop new tools, services and programs.

  2. Evolve skills of existing reps. Re-thinking the former sales roles means now is the time to “upskill” existing sales reps so they are able to have more relevant and current conversations with doctors and other stakeholders. A comprehensive understanding of new assets, digital tools, messages and trainings in strategic areas are necessary to build-out their new portfolios.

  3. Introduce new sales talent. New sales resources with unmatched B2B skills are key. These individuals work with intermediaries, channel partners, customers and even competitors to extend a company’s reach. They can also help identify or create new sales opportunities, and managing those opportunities through the sales pipeline—a skill set few pharmaceutical reps currently have.

  4. Amplify the impact of human sales interactions with digital technologies. Using digital technologies can make pharmaceutical sales teams more relevant than ever. The existing applications that track customer accounts, trigger alerts and manage relationships can be tailored to enhance the face-to-face experiences and deliver even more value they bring to the table by going to market with a multi-speed sales approach that not only addresses the preferred interaction methods of unique buyers, but also continually optimizes the customer experience.

For more information, visit: The Rebirth of the Pharmaceutical Sales Force