Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) October 31, 2008
When 12 Vice Presidents of Sales from some of the world's pharmaceutical powerhouses get locked in a room together, you can expect mental sparks to fly. That is exactly what happened at the "VP THINKTANK" at PHARMAFORCE 2008 in Philadelphia.
Led by Greg Ciarelli of Wolters Kluwer, an industry consultant, the assembled Vice Presidents tackled two pressing themes:
- Better methods for establishing long term partnerships with doctors
- An effective segmentation and targeting model for physicians
The agreed upon challenges faced by pharma concerned evolving and ever increasing specialization of products. The basic industry sales model (pound the streets/ make the calls) has not evolved to keep pace. Although the concepts of rep specialization and key Account Management were gaining traction at management level, filtering these down into the sales organization is a tremendous challenge. Some key areas of contention:
- Products are becoming more targeted, therefore more specialized reps are required
- The language of physicians need to be more widely adopted and clinical knowledge needs to be delivered to add value
- Reps need to be armed with the tools to be able to differentiate their products and explain why their product is demonstrably better
- They need to be able to talk the language of physicians, and bring clinical knowledge to deliver added value to them
- Reps need to be able to take the time to build relationships with different stakeholders within organizations, beyond just the prescriber
- Different product lifecycles require hybrid sales models. Matrixed on top of that are different regional requirements that need to be taken into consideration
The problem the industry is facing is that we have trained physicians simply to sign. Compounding this problem is that our sales compensation models and KPI metrics perpetuate the same expectations from doctors and sales reps.
On the compensation piece, it was agreed that IN ADDITION to the standard metrics of market share and call rates, there needed to be added more subjective goals like "customer centricity" (which could be achieved through physician customer satisfaction surveys for example), patient longevity, and profitability. A suggested model could be deriving a "value" to each prescriber based on historical data as well as future potential, and targeting the sales rep on achieving those goals.
However, some data needs were also identified by the group:
- There is still a lack of accurate daily and weekly rep data
- A lack of patient longitudinal data to derive lifetime value
Most participants were unified in their belief that segmentation was a key tool to input into adjusting call plans. If reps were deployed in an unprofitable region, it is critical to redeploy somewhere more profitable. This key decision regarding flexible resource deployment must be used by the Regional Manager to support the winning regions OR products. Again, meeting highly customized local needs with the same budget is an ongoing challenge.
However, how prepared is the industry to start change at the grassroots level? How can we bring in reps at the entry level with greater clinical knowledge, who will certainly demand higher levels of compensation and ongoing training? The future success and ongoing profitability of the pharmaceutical industry depends on Vice Presidents of Sales making these critical decisions.
Keep an eye on next year's agenda developments, visit: http://www.pharmaforceus.com to sign up for our newsletter or call 1.888.482.6012
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