Just over a decade ago, the job of a medical sales representative was desired by healthcare professionals. Direct to physician advertising did most of the heavy work while all was required from a rep is to finish the job, because there were less competition and fewer sources of convenient information access. Physicians enjoyed welcoming sales reps in their offices for a prolonged chat.
In today’s business, it's hardly the case. With a rise of competition and quality research pharma companies started investing heavily in marketing and branding strategies and sales reps aren’t so welcomed any more with generic information. And ever since then, feeding information to physicians and convincing them to prescribe your product have been getting more difficult than ever.
But, why ?
Physicians decline access to medical sales reps
Excluding the physician's negative attitude towards medical sales reps with whom they have no relationship, there are several additional obstacles to accessing physicians. With the rising number of patients to consult and layers of administrative work to coordinate, physicians simply do not have time for medical sales reps.
Data proves it. The number of rep- accessible physicians, meaning that they meet more than 70% of medical sales reps who try to approach them, was at 46% in 2016 and 44% in 2017 compared to 80% back in 2008. With the same rate, it might go down to less than 40% in 2020.
One of the main reasons why physicians are not welcoming reps is because the number of reps is still fairly high. Statistically though the numbers are shrinking almost every year, but from an HCP’s point who on average gets about 2,800 visits per year from a pharma sales rep- it is a lot to handle with busy schedule, especially when considering the fact that every working hour you get a visitor trying to feed you information and sell.
Printed detail aids don’t make the cut
One of the common complaints received today from physicians is that sales reps don’t deliver any relevant to the data, in fact, some of the data is even outdated. Medical reps presentation is mostly scripted because printed brochures allow very little personalization. As a result, most of the visits seem to be repetitive and vague and brochures get thrown in the bin.
It’s time to take control over the ineffective routine if you want your rep access to the physician to be effective:
The most effective strategy of ensuring your sales rep spends goes trough physician door and creates value, is only by offering the physician exactly what he wants to hear, rather than bombarding them with scripted detail aid, which offers the same information that physicians are already aware of.
What is doctor specialty? What is he interested to hear the most about the product? What would make him prescribe your product? What key message did he pay attention to? What was detailed to him previously? All of these metrics need to be considered to improve the marketing message.
Yes, we’ve mentioned this before, but another nudge won't hurt. If you have a fresh set of data about your product or your competitor’s product, make sure to highlight it to the doctor. This is especially relevant to a new product launch, physicians will be significantly more open to hearing about the latest medical advances instead of the repetitive information.
However, it's not all rainbows and unicorns from there on. The data needs to be updated frequently, for instance, oncologists prefer having fresh data delivered to them within six months from product launch itself, it is not a rule for all the practitioners and the preference varies between the therapeutic areas. But for instance, when the swine flu epidemic kicked in, doctors demanded fresh data on all relevant products.
Making sure that the rep has new data available instantly and presenting it to the doctor in an engaging format is a necessity in today's detailing. An interactive presentation, with visuals and videos, has proven that physicians tend to remember as much as 95% from the video compared to the printed material.
1+2 = Technology
Plenty of pharma already using digital tablets to detail. However, a tablet with the same material doesn't make a great difference, besides cutting the printing costs in the long term possibly.
An effective sales call one hand means being able to show the right information at the right time, and not scrolling through your presentation on a tablet. Technology, on the other hand, is another part of a successful sales call, the artificial intelligence gathers all the critical information from the sales call, like call duration, the information physician focused on in addition to other slightest details to generate in-depth analytics and control the level of marketing message personalization.
Want to compete effectively & efficiently? See how tecnology can improve your processes and benefit from day one!