Just a few years back, Pharma sales reps were stars of Pharmaceutical sales. There was a time when physicians loved to see sales reps on their office doors, but everything began to change in 2011 as the technological shift started. Slowly new marketing strategies were found and being used on a large scale. Because of this, the number of physicians that welcomed pharma sales reps decreased gradually. Now the pharma sales reps are struggling to keep up with the changes since it is already determined that technological advancements are going to change the jobs of sales reps entirely, not only in the field of healthcare but also in every industry.
Technology isn’t the only reason for this transformation in the doctors declined access to pharma sales reps. The other reasons for this shift are:
Doctors don’t want to see pharma sales reps anymore
Due to the tremendous increase of non-communicable diseases and chronic illnesses, doctors have patients coming through their doors every two minutes. There is also the pressure of administrative work. So doctors and physicians just don’t have the time to give to the sales reps waiting in their offices. Some studies show that almost 50% of Health care personnel (HCPs) are already imagining a world without sales reps. This is happening even though sales reps take very little time (as little as two minutes) to communicate with the doctors, in some cases, they travel from region to another to see a physician. This shows the bad condition of drug reps and there are debates going on to change this model.
New and old competition
It is not new that this field has the most competition because of the meager number of physicians with respect to the sales reps. Plus a single doctor gets contacted by a sales reps every one hour according to statistics. Now instead of visiting offices, these messages are getting transferred to the doctor via email, phone calls, and other media. New people entering this field are only creating traffic in the line, only the ones that have established a connection with physicians from decades are sustaining in this competition.
There is no time for face-to-face communication
Since everything is digitized these days, one would prefer staying in one place and getting the work done. As one research states, 79% of doctors prefer getting information online instead of a sales rep visit. Doctors now visit pharma websites regularly to get the answers to their questions. Slowly, every pharma is switching to online e-commerce business and putting its content and products there for doctors to see and approach.
Pharma sales are old and not keeping up
This is generally the complaint of every doctor nowadays that the sales reps do not provide any brand-new and recent data. Since their information seems too interpersonal and the same, the doctors are losing interest in sales reps. Although the sales rep is using new improved tools, their approach has still remained the same because of professionalism.
Doctors are not interested in free samples anymore
Earlier doctors were ever ready to accept free drug samples to try out but since they are now viewing it as a pressure to prescribe expensive drugs to patients, they are dismissing them now. It is becoming hard to convince HCPs to try out a sample even after trying every coax.
Doctors are taught to follow the rules strictly
Earlier there were no laws or rules regarding the practice of gift-taking and accepting ‘favors’ was not taken seriously, but now there are many rules against them and it is considered unethical in the medical field. Also, some medical colleges have entire classes devoted to ways to encounter sales reps outside of an office.
All this is still not legitimate to say that Pharma Sales is dead completely, the solution is that it just needs a little remodeling to fit the modern age. Here is what they can do:
- The most effective way of ensuring your sales rep go through physicians’ doors is by offering physicians with new and relevant data.
- Knowing about the doctor’s preferred channel of communication and putting efforts to reach them there.
- Switching to video communication as it will be accepted more than earlier face-to-face communication.
- More use of tablets, smart apps and use fresh information using good design infographics.
- Changing the traditional approaching techniques and switching to more attractive and fast methods.
- Not calling or visiting frequently as that will seem too brash.