What’s Next for Pharma Sales Forces?

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Today’s guest post comes fromTheo Fellgett,VP eyeforpharma. Remember P & P readers can get $300 off registration for SFE & Commercial Excellence USA 2012. Just mention the discount code “P&P when you sign up to attend.

Customer Evolution requires Pharm Revolution

The good old days are over! Once, profits were skyrocketing, Market Access was more straightforward and prices could almost be set at will. Today, in order to drive profits in this ¢‚ǨÀúnew era a different approach is required pharma revolution!

Where we were

Our commercial approach used to be simple, it was call-centered and transactional, it relied on frequent, often repetitive interactions between reps and prescribing physicians.

Reps would flood as many prescribers as possible, with as many product offerings as possible in short visits of about 10 minutes.

Where are we now

Growth projections for the one-time booming mega-markets of the US, EU 5 and Japan are in the one digit-zone. Market Access is becoming increasingly testing.

Macro-economic factors such as lower GDPs and falling tax revenues, explains Tyrone Edwards at SFE USA 2011 “are impacting healthcare budgets and “promote more aggressive cost containment – leading to ¢‚ǨÀúincreased pricing and reimbursement measures as well as a favoring of generics. You can view a selection of past event presentations for free here http://www.eyeforpharma.com/sfeusa/content.php

Inflection point

Hugh Tippett, Head of Global Sales at Novartis, argues that the industry has reached “infection point. He claimed that the industry had hit “a junction at which the organizations that belong to it need to shift from the current way of doing business to a new model, since the old approach begins to offer diminishing returns.

Although this is a challenge; it also “provides a company’s executive team with an opportunity to set a trajectory that propels it into an industry leadership position continued Hugh.

New model

The selling model pharma firms need to adopt if they want to not only survive but prosper in the present – and future – economic environment should be an “integrated one that is centered on value creation, continued Hugh.

Cubist is a company that have successfully achieved this. They have managed to move from single to double digit growth in mature markets. Eric Kimble VP Sales & Marketing, Cubist has presented a detailed case study at SFE US on this journey, with insights on which strategy won through and some examples of key change drivers. Eric emphasizes the importance of good management to succeed when implementing a new strategy.

Share-of-value and KAM

With a long-term KAM perspective in mind, the field force should no longer simply carpet-bomb prescribers with indiscriminate sales details during brief rep visits. Instead, their messages need to be tailored to different requirements of the customers. This is the future and the ¢‚ǨÀúSuper-Rep. Eric gave a great presentation in 2011 you can view it here http://www.eyeforpharma.com/sfeusa/content.php

In carefully prepared, multiple meetings with a well-targeted and segmented selection of customers, they should, moreover, aim to understand the existing “goals, needs and priorities of patients, and provide help beyond the scope of product selling and “short-term gain argues Tyrone Edwards.

By using that knowledge as a basis for the development and implementation of new product solutions or improvements, he says “a tangible win-win situation that is profitable for both companies and customers can be created.

This remains a key theme throughout the SFE & Commercial Excellence USA agenda, with new dedicated tracks on ¢‚ǨÀúAlign your multi-channel messages around value and ¢‚ǨÀúto KAM or not to KAM. More information on the event agenda is available at http://www.eyeforpharma.com/sfeusa/conference-event-brochure.php

How can you achieve the change required?

Long-term relationships rather than short-term ones is the key. “Objectives such as increased brand awareness, satisfaction, and identification as well as compliance support, lead to better customer retention. Cooperation with Patient Association groups and local opinion leaders, too says Tyrone, can be useful in this “new era.

Flexible pricing models such as risk-sharing agreements could also become an option for sales managers. With such a contract, a pharma companies can try to secure or improve market share by providing a money-back guarantee on the effectiveness of a drug.

How long will it take?

Companies won’t be able to make the changes to their organizational structure and culture that are necessary to enable a value-based KAM sales model overnight, Tippett cautions. Imparting new skills, introducing new incentives & rewards and establishing new roles and all the other steps the transformation entails will require at least 2 or 3 years, he says.

Most importantly, perhaps, it’s people’s mind-sets right across the company that need to be altered – from the top management to the traveling salesman. If that’s done, anything seems possible. “Organizations, are not a rigid structure but a harmonics network able to adapt themselves when the environment changes.

It is clear that your customer has evolved, the question is: have you?

SFE & Commercial Excellence USA 2012 aims to help you to tackle this difficult transition with 6 focused sessions and 6 workshops to choose from over 3 days.


“Just seen the 2012 line-up. Once again eyeforpharma has brought together the people most relevant to my business. A group of us from Roche will attend so we can hear the strategies and customer view on our commercial approach looking forward to it!

Andreas Claus Kistner, Global Head of Commercial Architecture Roche




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