Staying in the Game - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Staying in the Game


Pharmaceutical Executive


Because reps are encouraged to rack up enough points to reach the Top Ten Leader Board, they generally play the game over and over again. The game is arranged so that players receive new questions and new situations whenever they play.

Rep Race evolved from an earlier gaming platform that Concentric Rx had designed for another client. Because Concentric Rx constantly tinkers with the format, the latest version of Rep Race is far more complex and involved than the initial version of the game.

Since January 2007, when the Betaseron sales force first began playing Rep Race, the Concentric Rx team has settled into a relatively predictable schedule with regard to developing each new version of the game. During the three weeks prior to a new Betaseron sales meeting, Sanzen and his team burn the midnight oil in order to generate a new and improved version of Rep Race. Three different writers divide the workload and churn out questions, explanations, and other content. Editors run the new content through the fact-checking process, sometimes relying on a field advisory board for advice.

According to Sanzen, one of the most challenging aspects of the project is keeping content short. "In training pieces, we're used to giving people every single bit of information they could possibly need. But online, you really have to limit yourself," he explained. After the new content makes it through Concentric Rx's team, it moves on to the regulatory team at Bayer. Added Sanzen, "It takes a long time to review this much content. But we're very process-driven; if you follow the process and hit your timelines, things get done on time. That's really the only way to do it."

Whether or not Rep Race has inspired the sales force more than previous programs is a matter of conjecture. But the numbers are favorable. When Pharm Exec interviewed Liss in late 2007, he noted that Betaseron had been the fastest growing interferon for the previous three months.

In one version of Rep Race, Sanzen and his team even incorporated real-life Bayer managers as characters in the game. "The managers sort of taunt them throughout the game. You're playing against their high score," Sanzen said.

Concentric Rx has plans to come up with other features for the next version of the game. Sanzen has tentative plans to turn the game into a more multifaceted destination. "Right now we're talking about evolving this into more of an intranet, so that instead of just a game it becomes more of a knowledge portal," he said. Possible additions include a best practices chat room and a virtual suggestion box. It's all part of the effort to keep the sales reps playing—and selling—well into the future.

Sara Donnelly is Pharmaceutical Executive's associate editor. She can be reached at


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