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In pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostic and medical device companies, the hybrid sales model combines the elements of virtual (inside) sales and field sales to best meet company goals and the informational needs of HCPs. Hybrid reps do much of their selling via traditional inside sales engagement methods—phone, email, video conferencing - while also meeting with HCPs and their staff face-to-face when it is most appropriate to the specific selling situation.
There isn’t one standard formula for the design of a hybrid sales team. To achieve maximum success, each team must be “built for purpose” and have a high degree of flexibility to address the situation at hand (e.g.; product launch, change in formulary, new indication, loss of exclusivity) and challenges (rare disease with minimal targets, geographic location of targets, limited access for face-to-face meetings due to COVID-19 or other issues). The company’s overall business strategies must also be considered in the design of every hybrid sales team.
A few examples:
Overall, approximately 65 percent of all engagements were face-to-face, supported by virtual interactions.
Because of the pandemic, hybrid teams have become more common and more highly-embraced by manufacturers. There’s an increased interest by physicians to meet virtually but there is also significantly more competition. To be successful when creating and deploying a hybrid team in this changing environment, it is essential to focus on four key areas:
As with any trained skill, there must be extensive practice and feedback prior to engaging with customers, as well as frequent refresher skills training.
While the training time and compensation for a hybrid rep—salary, benefits, incentives—is equivalent to that of a field rep, the travel costs associated with being in the field full time are reduced. The biggest cost benefit, however, is in the alignment of reps to targets; a hybrid rep can often manage a target audience 30 to 40 percent larger than a rep based solely in the field.
A hybrid sales model should never be static. It is a strategy designed to achieve business objectives, whatever they may be (reduce costs, extend reach, deliver a different message, prepare for the next event that limits face-to-face access). The model can and should evolve as objectives are refined or change altogether.
Susan Beach, Vice President - Commercial Solutions, Diligent Health Solutions