Give your pharmaceutical sales representatives and teams a hand where they most need it to boost sales effectiveness.
The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry has remained resilient despite global economic disruption in 2020. However, it has not been entirely smooth sailing. Like other industries, they must adapt to technological disruption and changing consumer behaviour.
Today, pharmaceutical sales reps need to adapt to a hybrid of offline and online sales activities like virtual meetings. To maintain sales effectiveness in fast-changing environments, companies must put in additional effort to equip sales reps with the necessary data and sales techniques.
A survey of 60 company leaders from mid-sized biopharma companies by Deloitte reflects that their companies will be focusing on the greatest impact on their company — changes in patient attitudes and behaviour.
The report attributes this to gains in information symmetry between manufacturers and healthcare providers. Biopharmaceutical companies, previously unmatched in their product knowledge, may now be surpassed by hospitals’ real-world evidence in understanding how well drugs work in patients.
More than ever, pharma companies now need to collaborate with healthcare providers, patient advocacy groups, technology and wellness companies, and even charities to fully understand the product's effects on the end-user — the patients. The data and insights gleaned from such collaborations must be shared with your individual sales reps.
As interactions swiftly move online over the last year, the pharma sales process also needs to evolve. A research report by Bain & Company shows that of the 75% of physicians who preferred in-person visits from Medtech representatives before Covid-19, 47% now prefer virtual interactions or less-frequent visits. Thus, Medtech companies will need to adapt to a hybrid of online and offline sales methods.
Accenture's Covid-19 Healthcare Provider Survey conducted in May 2020 asserts that pharma sales reps have to provide more value to healthcare providers to get on their schedules, as only 10% of providers surveyed prefer walk-ins. Healthcare providers also shared that they appreciate pharma support services more, such as how to keep stock of therapies and digital patient education.
When a pharmaceutical company client of BI WORLDWIDE requested a solution to energise its sales force and accelerate product adoption by healthcare providers, BI WORLDWIDE created immersive environments for workshop exercises, role plays and certifications supported by incentives made of a variety of tangible rewards. The focused workshops integrated new marketing campaigning and selling skills. Concurrently, there was an interactive maze that allowed the experiential discovery of market access information.
At the end of the training, certifications were awarded to assess and track learning. The result: 98% of participants agreed that they could confidently present the complete product story to various healthcare providers.
Another emerging trend is the proliferation of virtual doctors and telehealth services. 43% of healthcare providers predict the rise of purely virtual doctors, who can influence their patients' treatment decisions, especially oncology. Pharma sales representatives now need to spread their nets to include virtual doctors and health services in their plans.
As virtual selling becomes commonplace, sales staff might be cut out of the process. Rather than fixating on quarterly or yearly sales figures, one way to maintain sales effectiveness is to identify areas where sales staff can value-add. For instance, consultation, persuasion and negotiation in the early stages of the buying process are key to closing a sale. A physical sales representative could tackle these tasks much better, even through video conferencing tools.
Companies could also attribute online sales to a specific sales rep by providing them with personalised links.
Instead of pure numbers, consider rewarding reps on the quality of their actions. For instance, if you want your sales reps to use a specific type of demo and give recommendations when selling, you can set analytics-based targets and reward reps for complying with best practices set by your company. For this purpose, you can set up a gamification system in an all-in-one data-backed platform to capture such data not reflected by pure revenue figures.
BI WORLDWIDE developed such a solution for a medical device company to motivate district managers to drive the field reps' focus, behaviours and activities over 12 months to thwart the competitor's attempts to capture market share. The resulting solution was a 12-month contest where district managers could earn high-end merchandise for achieving quarterly goals and a grand-prize travel trip for achieving annual goals.
This solution leveraged competition and gamification through leaderboards and fun and vivid communications to increase excitement and participation. The client met its market share goal, successfully defending against a new competitor in the marketplace. In an era where behavioural shifts are required to adapt to a virtual-offline selling process, action-based rewards work better to tweak culture and mindsets, boosting long-term revenue for your company.
An action-based incentive programme can also help you to set personal goals for each sales rep so that rewards are not only given to the top 10% to 20% of your salesforce. Research has shown that multi-tier, frequent rewards over long sales cycles can help to motivate the core performers (the mighty middle) in your sales force better as it provides them with little encouragement along the way.
You could even set “personal best” or “best improved” incentives so that salespeople don’t feel constantly benchmarked against their colleagues.
Pharmaceutical companies can benefit greatly from a sophisticated employee recognition platform that equips their sales force with the latest data and insights and incentivises reps to adapt and perform. BI WORLDWIDE uses behavioural economics to help engage and inspire your employees and improve your customer experience. You can customise a unique solution for your company, be it strategic consulting, analytics, employee recognition or patient loyalty programmes.