NAPSRx Recent Study Shows That Today's Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Need The Skills And Product Knowledge Of A Nurse Or More

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As products become more technical and backed by more science, an in-depth clinical research and medical knowledge has become mandatory.

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The sales rep today is doing almost everything different than they've done in the past.

What makes a pharmaceutical sales rep in today’s marketplace? It's not selling--at least not in a traditional sense according to a recent NAPSRx survey. More than half of respondents said the ability to sell is no longer the most important skill for a rep.

The survey of pharmaceutical sales reps found that how prescription drugs are marketed to physicians is a completely different proposition now than it was just a few years ago. Obviously, the sales environment has changed with doctors needing less face-to-face meetings and companies turning to gadgets and data for marketing power. "The sales rep today is doing almost everything different than they've done in the past," B. Hammer, a senior sales director. He also told the researchers that Skype, Face Time, and other technology will change the job even more in the near future.

In fact, 60% of the NAPSRx survey respondents agreed that technology is a sales tool, not a distraction. But it's not just technology that's revamping the pharma sales rep role. Primary care and specialty reps have to be able to talk science, not just promos. Treatments are more complex--with an increasing number targeted at particular genetic mutations--which means explaining how they work and how to use them is complicated.

As products become more technical and backed by more science, an in-depth clinical research and medical knowledge has become mandatory. Plus, marketing means explaining not only to physicians but also to increasingly resistant prescriptions providers to make sure that reimbursement gatekeepers are on board with a new pharmacology product. If insurers raise big hurdles to patients starting a new therapy, it is a hindrance from the start.

"It's increasingly a market access approach," Hammer went on to say. After companies lay the groundwork prelaunch, reps have to work with medical science liaisons and key account managers "to ensure that the novel product is used by the largest number of eligible patients."

More change is ahead as pharma companies need to get away from the product-oriented, message-pushing approach and jump on the value-creation model, which is a "mega-shift" in sales capabilities.

The National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives® (NAPSRx®) is the United States largest trade association for sales reps, sales managers and sales trainers who work in the pharmaceutical industry. NAPSRx® represents sales representatives who work in the pharmaceutical industry and provides Continuing Medical Education to its members as well as candidates who look to enter a pharmaceutical sales career. The CNPR® Certification Program is available by correspondence directly through the NAPSRx® or can also be taken at over 300 universities/colleges in the United States.

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S. Kennedy
NAPSRx
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