Advice for territory twins

May 1, 1998
Vince Peters

Pharmaceutical Representative

As a result of expanding sales forces, many companies have multiple sales representatives calling on the same physicians with the same products.

As a result of expanding sales forces, many companies have multiple sales representatives calling on the same physicians with the same products.

The only difference between calls is the detailing sequence. This raises a question for sales representatives: "How do we avoid overloading doctors with the same information, wasting their time and alienating them?"

Representatives whose companies decide to market their products with a "mirrored" territory strategy face a real challenge.

Consider the following suggestions as strategies, tactics and assessments to use when you partner with a peer.

Brain power2

First, sit down with your colleague and review your doctors' records. Share your information about demographics and prescribing styles.

You need to ask if your doctors are non-prescribers, former prescribers or current prescribers of your product. Where does your product fit in the course of therapy? Is your drug their drug of first choice or second choice, or is it their standby when all others fail? You must determine on what prescribing track you want the doctor. Once you and your partner have set that goal together, you'll be able to decide how you will get both him or her there.

When planning your goal and strategy, also consider your doctors' prescribing profiles. Are they innovators, early adopters who want to be the first on the block with a new drug? Or are they the middle and late majority, who make up the bulk of your doctors? Maybe they are laggards, who are the last to adopt new products, but are very loyal to the products they already use.

Team strategies

One strategy you may want to use is alternating indications and uses. For example, you can recommend your product for one indication and have your partner recommend it for another indication. You can both do this alternately during a cycle.

I particularly like this strategy because you are not using overkill on the doctor. You can refine the indications further by focusing on one patient population and having your partner focus on another. For example, if you are detailing an antiarthritic, you can focus on its indication for rheumatoid arthritis, which primarily affects women, and your partner can focus on its indication for the more extensive osteoarthritic population.

Another strategy is to alternately promote your product in the primary, secondary or reminder position with your partner. Or you can try doubling up and hitting him or her with information on the same indications. Not all doctors are open to double details on the same product, so make sure you target the right doctors according to their style.

You might also track the progress of one or several of the doctor's patients who are using your product while your partner delivers straight details. The important thing is that you and your partner find creative ways to support the doctor and one another.

These are all strategies you can employ when you are working alone, of course, but find ways to capitalize on the added insight and support of your teammate. Be open-minded to the adage that "two heads are better than one," and make the most of a mirrored territory. PR

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