Under the Influence - Pharmaceutical Executive


Under the Influence

Pharmaceutical Executive

Invent the Future

Pharmaceutical companies have the tools, talent, and energy to evolve and prosper in this changing, challenging environment. Many already are methodically deconstructing the traditional sales model as they experiment with, test, and revise new sales paradigms for optimum success.

The evolution that is occurring in this new share-of-influence world is a major paradigm shift that affects every area of the pharma industry. There are no easy answers. Fully evolving to this brave new world will take some time as we map the influences, prioritize the impact, respond with innovative initiatives and selling models, measure and test those initiatives, allocate resources accordingly, and continually improve the process based on ROI—efficiency, effectiveness, and better serving customers.

We can succeed in the new, evolving share-of-influence world. To do so, however, requires active acceptance of the changing marketplace—by inventing our own future. Companies that are embracing the new share-of-influence world are those that are aggressively employing adaptive experiments of various sales models to measure and evaluate the sales-force blueprints that best fit their needs based on the influences affecting their markets.

Group Dynamics Group physician practices are growing in both size and number within the United States. The number of doctors in physician groups of 100 or more, more than doubled in the past 10 years. The number of doctors in physician groups of 15 to 49 has increased almost 90 percent since 1988. This trend showcases the importance of local influence mapping because group practices increase the complexity and importance of interrelationships, and the sheer number of doctors who are influenced by group-practice dynamics.

Source: Health Strategies Group

The world of managed care is helping to usher in the share-of-influence approach. For physicians, managed-healthcare markets are generating the need for more paperwork, more staff, and more administrative costs—all the while reducing revenue for physicians. New pharma reps recognize this in the following ways:

»They have a clear and full understanding of the market they work in and the influences affecting the physicians they see.

» They help physicians and their staff navigate formulary restrictions, tiered co-pay structures, and prior-authorization requirements.

»They understand the type of information physicians want—clinical studies, evidence-based medical protocols, or educational opportunities—and are experts in providing it, allowing physicians to better manage their patients' health. »They are well connected to local thought leaders and related specialists, and therefore can facilitate sharing of this information in their medical communities.

» They stay up-to-date on current events that affect physicians and their patients—such as HIPAA and Medicare Part D—and can articulate the impact to their customers.

»They forge strong, lasting relationships with their customers based on trust and respect.

Mike Iafolla is chairman, and Steve Greco is president of Publicis Selling Solutions. They can be reached at


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