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elandas blog

How Med Reps Can Compete Despite Today's Pharma Trends

Hayley Bohan

by Hayley Bohan

As we are all well aware these days, the life sciences sector continues to be in a state of transformation due to a combination of price sensitivity, patient-focused strategies, increasingly stringent regulations, and a changing of the guard in how medical device and pharmaceutical sales reps interact with physicians.

Rather than continuing to shove a square peg into a round hole, many are taking advantage of new tools and technologies that enable them to tackle these issues head on. And those who are converting outdated methods to more updated techniques are reaping the rewards.

The need for instant sales enablement

Doctors are placing serious restrictions on how much time they allocate to medical device and pharmaceutical sales reps. Even those who were previously most sympathetic to carving out time from their schedule are now reducing access according to a study by AccessMonitor.

Here's a familiar example: A medical rep is located across the country from his or her manager and has been trying to get a meeting with a physician for weeks. Once some time has finally been booked, a plan that accomplishes corporate objectives while truly adding value for the physician needs to be quickly assembled.

In meetings like this, sales reps need compliant and relevant collateral to share pertaining to access, product and patient education. Other strategic materials that can be used to help communicate key messages to physicians and position conversations in light of the HCP's history with the company are also important.

That's a lot to round up for remote med reps.

Worse, failure to have any of these pieces of the puzzle could mean coming out of the meeting without a commitment to a sale or delivering any value to the HCP - which, given the steady decline of access to physicians, could mean losing out on an opportunity completely.

To add further complication to the matter, it's not just enough to have a case study and the associated marketing material, but med reps being able to use the literature in an effective manner is more important than ever. This means sales reps have to be on the same page with marketers and clinicians when it comes to what the results mean for not only the industry, but also for the HCP and patients in particular. The latter can vary greatly from decision-maker to decision-maker.

Combine all of this and med reps can find themselves in a ton of traffic as they look to supply HCPs with medical devices and drugs. It's not that the need isn't there anymore, but the plethora of choices makes it hard for some life science companies to stand out, and this issue is exacerbated when a coordinated strategy isn't in play.

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Clearing the path

Rather than spending excessive amounts of time getting in touch with sales and marketing colleagues for collateral, geographically remote med reps can utilize sales enablement tools that aggregate data on particular HCPs in an effort to identify which information is most pertinent to the physician they're talking to and better understand exactly how to use it. This streamlines a previously siloed process, which inhibited the efficiency of a sales strategy.

Roughly 36 percent of all pharmaceutical sales executives believe their company needs an overhaul in strategy, an Accenture study reported. What does that entail?

Instead of guessing what physicians want to hear, sales enablement technology gives reps access to content that assuredly resonates with decision-makers. This allows sales reps to speaks directly to HCPs' concerns and use their limited time wisely.

Tech for success

Where does this technology comes from? Nearly 2 out of every 3 sales executives lean heavily on third-party providers of sales enablement tools, according to the Accenture study. This saves companies time and revenue that would otherwise be spent on developing an in-house solution, a strategy for using it and a maintenance plan to keep it running optimally. 

When it comes down to it, med reps face a challenge of managing an increasing inventory of knowledge, having less time with HCPs and needing to find a way to share the right collateral and information quickly. It's difficult to accomplish all of this without sales enablement technology, which streamlines communications between sales and marketing to ensure everyone is on the same page.

 

Topics: Mobile Sales Tools, Industry Trends, Customer Engagement, Sales Enablement