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.