Second part of “Training of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives: Key to the Business Strategy”
The new capabilities that the Pharmaceutical Sales Representative has to put into practice, in addition to those that he had been implementing in the relation with the physician, which are not undermined, because dealing with this customer is not so easy, are information analysis and the activity projection according to specific objectives and the local strategy, since even the strategy requires a greater focus every day.
The laboratories are making significant efforts in adapting themselves to new technology requirements, but the reality revealed in the studies on the Pharmaceutical Sales Representative’s activity is that over 50% of them does not set a goal before each visit. This fact, together with the fact that the business report is not considered useful for the daily activity by over 50% of the Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives, leads to a reflection on the lack of strategy, a key issue of the business success.
It is encouraging that the type of assistance required by business forces is readily acceptable, particularly because it focuses on a few themes: setting objectives and business strategy, analysis, planning and management. Once the company is aware of the need for training, the first step in developing the training plan is to adapt the contents to the business structure: Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, KAM, area manager, sales manager and the market segment: drugstores, primary care or hospitals.
In larger organizations it may be necessary to establish a basic and an advanced level on the basis of previous training in these matters and the group’s experience. However, when implementing this training plan, the characteristics of this profile are, certainly, an advantage, as the laboratories’ commercial networks are mainly composed of qualified professionals with a solid foundation on which to work.
Regarding the training organization, it is not new that it is done hierarchically, with the concepts and techniques acquired by those who occupy intermediate positions. This means they have to promote and monitor that the old ways of selling, based only on personal relations, are “unlearnt”. The manager, in his role as manager of people and trainer of the team, finds the difference between developing sales skills with his staff and training in business management techniques which, of course, are not mutually exclusive.
As an aid to the acquisition of the new way of working, training departments may rely, more than ever, on Internet, for three reasons: the first and most obvious one is because time does not pass by in vain and the use of Internet and the knowledge of how it works is widely known; the second reason is that pharmaceutical companies have always opted for the incorporation of technology in all their activities, and third and last, because it is easier to acquire knowledge and skills through this channel than to develop skills through online training.