Sales Management: The Education Equation - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Sales Management: The Education Equation
Build credibility and sales by making education a daily practice.


Pharmaceutical Executive


The right information for the right rep. Companies should teach reps the way they teach physicians—with customized information. Every rep should have access, in conjunction with their manager, to an individualized and customized learning plan for their professional improvement as part of an every day performance execution program. In that way, companies are delivering information to reps they understand, on a level they could understand, and in a way that is most appropriate to the region or demographic of physicians the rep is serving.

Create a dialogue with management. Companies can use LMSs to "close the loop" with their reps by giving field forces a centralized location in which to report feedback as well as other intelligence they pick up in the field. Reps can also funnel questions through the platform that may come up during training sessions.

Evolve the sales call with timely information. Because LMSs are easy to update—especially compared with websites, which often result in broken links when old information is replaced with new pages of information—companies can easily send reps topical information that is more likely to engage physicians in conversation. It also allows companies to post a list of difficult questions sent in from field reps with well-researched and authoritatively sourced answers provided by the company. It is that timeliness that evolves canned pitches into interesting and dynamic interactions that build relationships.

Know what the reps know. Your biggest asset is to know what you don't know. Traditional methods of training don't allow managers to monitor, in detail, what reps read and what they understand. LMSs can provide records of training sessions that track reps' comprehension and success rate at conveying the information.

Static training programs or "after-the-fact" reactions to changing market conditions simply will not yield the best results. In today's competitive marketplace, companies cannot afford to take risks or make assumptions about what their reps are saying to doctors. They must make knowledge transfer a daily activity or pay the price in lost sales and credibility.

Did You Know? Of the $1 billion budgeted by pharma companies for sales force training in 2001, 15 percent went to content and almost 85 percent went to travel.

Source: Per Lofberg, president and CEO, Merck Capital Ventures


David R. Carlucci
PeopleIMS Health named David R. Carlucci CEO of the company and a member of the board of directors. He succeeds David Thomas, who remains executive chairman of the board of directors.

Launches Publicis Selling Solutions (PSS) launched Oscient Pharmaceuticals' first sales force in support of its flagship antibiotic, Factive (gemifloxacin). The company expects to continue the partnership with PSS and double the 106-person sales force by next year. Verispan released new research that found more than half of physicians surveyed rate e-promotion as the same or superior to face-to-face details. In a separate sales force effectiveness survey, Verispan found that 63 percent of physicians said they consider rep-arranged meeting and events to be more or much more effective than a traditional detail.

AccountsVentiv Health struck an agreement with Watson Pharmaceuticals to support Watson's new sales force automation platform and pharmaceutical sales software suite through its total data solutions division.

Results Innovex's Health Management Services presented a poster abstract at the 62nd annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology that demonstrated that its specially designed asthma program, developed to help providers assess and manage their patients through a systematic implementation of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program guidelines, can lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for asthma patients. Medsite Pharmaceutical Services reported increased prescribing for a six month pilot program it conducted on behalf of Wellspring Pharmaceutical's Dyrenium (triamterene), a 40-year-old diuretic. Using a multi-channel marketing approach, Medsite targeted a group of physicians responsible for 15 percent of all prescriptions and generated a 40 percent increase in new scripts.

Preston Dodd is vice-president of strategic development at Vuepoint. He can be reached at
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