The state of pharmaceutical sales is in flux. The instability in the pharmaceutical space has caused companies to make cuts, and sales has been greatly impacted. Reports from SDI Health indicate that the number of sales representatives in the United States has decreased from a high of 101,818 to about 81,780, representing a 20% decline. Equally important is that the cost per engagement for sales calls remains high, ranging from $142 to nearly $600 per call.
These costs are forcing sales to perfect their field efforts. Sales must understand where to allocate field resources, and equip them with the knowledge to provide a valuable engagement to the HCPs. Marketing must identify which practices and physicians they should target with eDetail and eSample programs.
HCP-Centric Sales Model
Because of this change, many companies are shifting from a brand-centric to HCP-centric sales models. Reps are covering more territory and carrying more products. They have to have a tremendous understanding of the service and value of each product. Now, targeting and focusing sales effort is becoming paramount. Pharmaceutical companies must understand the Digital Body Language of physicians and practices. It's imperative reps enter the call knowing what the HCP wants, and with the required education to manage the knowledge share.
Hybrid Sales Model
Another emerging sales model is the "hybrid" sales representative. Hybrid representatives have defined geographic territories and specific sets of target HCPs, just like typical field representatives. But they reach their physicians through a variety of channels like face-to-face, phone, and video and at times, like work day, after hours, weekends, which are preferred and most convenient for each physician. This model is proving to be very popular with physicians; 72% of survey respondents want "more" or "significantly more" hybrid representatives calling on them.
So with these new models, how do pharmaceutical companies know which practices to target with field sales versus eDetailing and eSampling programs? How do sales and marketing know when to target, who to target, and what information is most relevant to the practice?
Just as companies leverage multichannel marketing to engage and educate, they must also implement multichannel targeting. Targeting needs to extend beyond the singular data found in marketing automation. Currently, reps are told when to target a physician or practice based on their Digital Body Language. Marketing evaluates which marketing assets they clicked on, how much time they spent on a webpage page, and what information was submitted via a form. And while these traditional scoring models are a vast improvement from cold calling a list of names, they?re not as targeted as they could be.
Now, tools like Lattice Engines enable the marketing and sales organizations to identify which accounts to engage for selling and retention. Lattice introduces other analytics into your scoring model. They look at the practices' growth indicators, news events, activity against 3rd party assets, and funding or grants received by the physician or practices.
Using Lattice's modeling engine, companies can also pull in data from internal systems to evaluate prescription patterns, brand sample orders, products prescribed by practice, detailing history, and program enrollment. Companies can also evaluate the behavior of similar practices, like pediatric practices, oncology practices, and cardiology practices.
This multichannel targeting provides advanced insight into the probability of the physician to prescribe prescriptions. By creating likelihood rules, sales reps can identify which practices to target for new prescriptions and decile conversions.
Marketing can understand which content will contribute to that prescription conversion. Marketing can also compare practices in similar selling situations. Marketing can the aggregate the view and format it so it's most relevant to the sales person.
This multichannel targeting allows marketing and sales to focus engagement and drive entry into marketing programs, like eDetailing and eSampling programs. Pharmaceutical companies can now begin to model channel preference, develop segmentation strategies, manage sales resource allocation, and develop a contact strategy.
Which channels do you evaluate when developing a contact strategy?