Just a few decades ago Pharmaceutical sales representatives or medical reps visit healthcare professionals were the most prominent form of pharmaceutical company marketing. These meetings were known as ‘detailing’. Pharmaceutical companies spend hefty sums on annual sales meetings, semi-annual regional meetings, and Plan of Action (POA) sessions, with corresponding investments in face-to-face sessions and follow-on webinars in order to drive comprehension and enable reps to ask questions and get up to speed. In the detailing session, the reps gave gifts/ meals/ to the healthcare professional and sold the drugs. This detailing session was about 20-25 minutes. Due to the advent of technology, busy schedules of the doctors and changing business models, the time that the medical reps got with the physicians curtailed. Now the medical reps get three minutes only with the healthcare professionals (HCPs)
Now the question stands that what can a medical representative accomplish with a healthcare professional in three minutes?
With different online channels available to healthcare professionals to contact reps and get the knowledge they seek, the reps can use this time effectively to become the “trusted advisor”. This can be done by including the latest and relevant research, pragmatic business practices and lessons to obtain better patient outcomes in their conversations.
How to use the three minutes productively
Representatives can no longer perform a dramatic script of sales in front of the physicians, they need to be thorough with their understanding of clinical data, disease info, product details – use, safety, and side effects, and the patient wants. Medical reps should always have a plan, ability to think and act fast. They have to make every minute with HCP count. They need to have the right attitude, right technical information, and precise and targeted marketing messages. This new model of the sales rep is a challenge for both experienced reps – who may tend to rely on their relationship with clinicians – as well as for new reps, who may be learning situational fluency.
Use of mobiles to level-up the sales game
Each and every word of knowledge is available to us on our fingertips via the almighty mobile phone. Already 8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world – and almost half of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies – are now using a simple but powerful tool- mobile phone to reinforce knowledge and keep a “pulse” on sales team strengths through real-time analytics. If medical sales use mobile phones in their approaches, they can easily stay up-to-date on disease states, competition, make continuous improvement, generate real-time management updates, stay engaged with the continuous flow of latest content and can identify and remediate gaps before they can create a business or regulatory risk.
However, a medical representative’s inherited sales behavior can be hard to change in such a short time and keep up with the three minutes realities. To make sure that reps keep their selling skills sharp, companies need to make sure that their medical reps receive great returns on the three minutes sales reps may have with the healthcare professional.