Grow Talent, Grow Brands

Month: September, 2012

Pharma Sales Management: The Purpose

What is the purpose of field sales management in pharma industry? If the business of a  pharmaceutical organization is to generate prescriptions for their products then the purpose of pharma field sales management is to build and improve the capabilities that are essential for generating prescriptions in their entire sales force.

Consider what Peter Drucker, the venerated management guru said. He said that the purpose of any business is to create and keep a customer. The purpose of pharmaceutical field sales management to paraphrase Drucker, is to create and keep a medical representative who is capable of generating prescriptions for his products.

How do you create a prescriber and keep him? First by visiting him as frequently as you possibly can and making an impact in each visit. The keyword and the key deed is ‘impact.’ If you cannot make an impact what is the purpose and point in visiting the customers?

Call frequency is equally important as it increases the feeling of ‘dependability’ in the minds of prescribers. When you meet customers at a regular frequency and your visits become predictable you would create a feeling that they can count on you for any help they may seek to conduct any program or  any other activity. Customer coverage and call frequency are essential ingredients of relationship building.

The most important thing about visiting customers is making an impact. When you consider the fact that each doctor on our visiting list is being met by more than 50 medical representatives every single day the need to create impact becomes obvious. The visit and all the time and effort for making the visit is wasted if we are not able to create an impact and register our presence in the prescriber’s mind.

You can make an impact only when you can present yourself confidently during the visit.

You can present yourself confidently only when you have thorough customer knowledge – his potential, prescribing habits, his likes and dislikes, his wants and desires.

You can present yourself confidently only when you have a clear idea about what you can expect from the prescriber and set an objective for each call and prepare yourself physically and mentally for creating the impact. Physical preparation includes what products you want him to prescribe,  acquiring thorough product knowledge including competitors’ products, and effective communication skills (detailing that is flexible and contextual). Mental preparation involves making up your resolve stronger to change the prescribing behavior of the physician and visualizing the whole process of persuasion.

You also need to maintain a continuity in the manner you conduct each visit. Whatever you have discussed with the customer in the previous visits must be taken into account while planning the current visit. The entire focus of every visit should be on what product benefits you can offer rather than on what you can get. Remember that people do not buy products or their attributes. They buy the benefits. Always address and answer the customer’s question whether asked or unasked – ‘What is there in it for me and for my patients?’ Lasting relationships are always based on respect for each other based on their mutual competencies. You respect someone for the qualities and values he or she has.

The time tested principles of relationship building are: build relationships when you don’t need them and never make promises you cannot keep, and always keep your promises.

Complacency to Competency: Winning Steps to Transformation

The eternal question in performance management is how can you ensure sustainable superior performance? How can you improve the performances of average and below average performers and sustain those improvements over time. A change in performance for the better can occur only when there is a change in behavior. The behavior that is responsible for poor performance needs to be changed first and only then improvement in performance is possible. Complacency leads to poor performance and competency when applied to the job on hand results in superior performance.


If complacency is not a word but a real person in flesh and blood like you and me, what kind of a person would complacency be? Male or female? What would be the age? How would the person dress? Talk? Walk? Go about work? Can you visualize the person and describe that person’s behavior if he were a medical representative? Field sales manager? Regional sales manager? consider these behaviors for example:

Not very enthusiastic; not very confident; not very energetic; inadequate product knowledge; inadequate communication skills; inadequate customer knowledge; irregular reporting; infrequent feedback; low level of concern for performance; low level of self-esteem; low level of interest in self development; low level of assertiveness bordering on submissiveness; always slow to react, never proactive, does not take initiative.


Now can you picture how  ‘competency’ would look like and behave like if it were not a word but a person?

Enthusiastic; Confident; Energetic; Sound product knowledge; very good communication skills; Thorough customer knowledge; Prompt in reporting; Regular feedback; high concern for performance; High level of self worth; Invests personal time and money in self development; Assertive; Proactive


For achieving sustainable superior performance what is needed is a transformation from complacency to competency. How do we do that? How long does transformation take? The transformation process should start here and now. The process does not take time. It is rather instantaneous. The results may take a little longer. This is because the process of transformation is a mindset issue. It is decision to change one’s behavior on the job. It is decision to change our thinking about  and on the job. That should not take time at all. Say for example, if I want to be prompt in reporting I can be prompt right from the moment I take the decision to be prompt. There is no one who is standing between my decision or my ability to implement that decision other than me. That is why behavior change is always instantaneous. I have to decide to change and transform my complacency behavior pattern into competency behavior pattern. I have to invest my time and effort to change that and commit myself to that.

What will I gain when I change my complacency behavior to competency behavior? Visualize the possible gains when you change your behavior. Consider these for example:

A. Improvement in confidence leads to improved performance

B. Improvement in performance leads to increased earnings, happiness, and social recognition and personal growth

C. The achievement orientation on the job would have a positive rub-off effect on the entire family with you becoming a role model in the family and friends’ circles

D. A high degree of customer rapport transforms the burden of work into joy of working

How To Transform

Firstly, let us rate ourselves before we begin the process on all key success factors that are critical to pharma selling and sales management. Secondly, let us identify our strengths and improvement areas on each of these factors and identify where we stand today and set objectives in terms of where we need to go and should go. Thirdly, once we identify and prioritize our areas of reinforcement and improvement, let us set an improvement objective against each area in the next six weeks and decide what each one of us will do to achieve these objectives. Let us monitor the progress against our objectives on a regular basis. In six weeks it is possible to transform, nay, metamorphose into a competent, vibrant team. Even caterpillars metamorphose into beautiful butterflies in six weeks!


B – Complex for Copy Writers

Building Pharma Brands

Hello world!.

Welcome to my blog – Building Pharma Brands!

Building pharma brands is a very challenging task. In the era of branding commodities it may look or sound less arduous at the outset. But, when you consider the stringent regulatory environment that governs pharmaceutical industry the degree of difficulty becomes clear. What do you do when the task is more challenging? More competitive?  You build your capabilities to accomplish the task. You grow your talent to be more competitive.

Introducing, a platform where you can access and contribute towards building up individual capabilities and grow your talent through acquiring and sharing knowledge – from basics to the frontiers.

A recent McKinsey report suggests that the Indian pharma industry would have about 90 per cent of market covered by off-patent drugs and formulations even by 2015! That means even more proliferation of generic brands. It is not only the products that are ‘me-too’, rather ‘me-me-too.’ What differentiates one organization from another in such an environment is the difference in talent. The difference in capabilities.Of the individuals and the teams. Growing talent, therefore, is vital for not only building brands, but even for survival.

Brand Building is Team Work!

Building brands is not a solitary affair. It is team work. It takes the frontline sales force (Medical Representatives) who are face-to-face with the intermediary customers, who decide which brands their patients should take, the Field Sales Managers (across the hieararchy), Product Managers, Marketing Managers – in the marketing department and members of all other functional areas such as distribution, manufacturing, public relations, commercial, finance, research and development who can create the much needed product differentiation.

Grow Talent, Grow Brands

Let us grow talent and improve our capabilities and competitiveness post by post. Right from basics to the frontiers. Why basics? Think about it. In all these revolutionary changes sweeping the world around us, what are those that have not changed? Basics , of course! Because they are the foundation and the bed rock on which everything else is built and stands.

Come, Join the Revolution! Learn, Share, Unlearn, and Relearn!