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Thought Leadership

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How Commercial Leaders Can Boost Sales Force Effectiveness

By Jay Shah

Two years of adapting to the constraints of a global pandemic has resulted in major changes to pharma companies’ commercial strategies. Now, as pandemic-related changes have started to become permanent fixtures, sales leaders are asking themselves key questions amid the shifting commercial landscape: How does my strategy need to evolve? How will it affect my field team’s workload and processes? What do HCPs expect from this new normal?

To get the most out of your sales team’s efforts in a world that, in all likelihood, will continue to include both virtual and in-person detailing, here’s what commercial leaders need to know:

  1. Market access discussions are key. In today’s evolving pharmaceutical landscape, helping HCPs understand how your product is covered by insurance is just as important as communicating its safety and efficacy data. Reps must infuse market access into their HCP engagements, so ensuring that they have the right digital tools that offer up the most up-to-date information is critical.With the right tools, sales reps won’t need to memorize coverage details ahead of time and can simply pull up coverage and access information—in-person or virtually—on the spot. Being able to answer an HCP’s question about coverage in real time will ensure that the conversation doesn’t get derailed or, what’s worse, botch the sale.Moreover, being equipped to answer market access questions in real time is key for engaging with large health systems and IDNs. If your rep is talking to a hospital administrator who oversees 12 physicians—all within different specialties—they will likely find themselves discussing coverage for a rheumatoid arthritis product one minute and an oncology product the next. Therefore, it’s critical that reps have market access information right at their fingertips.
  2. Successful marketing strategies are flexible. As the age of the physical leave-behind wanes, your marketing strategy shouldn’t be looked at as a fixed agenda; successful commercial teams continuously monitor their strategies and fine-tune or even pivot as they go along. To do so, tracking the effectiveness of your marketing collateral is key: How often are physicians engaging with your promotional content? Which pieces are the most successful and which pieces are falling flat? Which mix of content is leading to more sales?While physical leave-behinds don’t allow for proper tracking, assessing the metrics from digital content helps commercial leaders zoom out and make larger-scale, strategic decisions. For example, if your promotional materials aren’t getting very many clicks, you may need to change course on your cadence and send sales reps to an account on a monthly basis rather than weekly. Or if the metrics show that physicians aren’t engaging with pieces that highlight your product’s value proposition, you may want to spend time clarifying your messaging to ensure that it resonates.
  3. Compliance isn’t an afterthought. It’s no secret that compliance can be a huge hurdle when it comes to leveraging new marketing materials and engaging with physicians. The medical, legal and regulatory (MLR) review process can take four to six weeks, so successful commercial teams make sure to build compliance levers into their strategies from the outset.Doing so requires that commercial leaders equip their reps with content that has already been MLR-approved. Right after meeting with an HCP, your rep should be able to send a follow-up email—via an approved template—that recaps their discussion and offers additional marketing materials. As a result, your sales reps won’t waste time sifting through content that may or may not be approved for use, ultimately increasing the ease and efficiency of your sales reps’ workflow.

While the pandemic upended processes across many sectors, the pharma industry is no stranger to large-scale shifts in the market. Those who see success over the long run know that adapting quickly is key. Is your commercial team prepared?

To help your commercial team make the most of their HCP engagements, learn about the integration of MMIT’s FormTrak solution into Veeva CRM.

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Jay Shah

Jay Shah

Jay Shah has an industrial and electrical engineering background, graduating from California Polytechnic University of Pomona (Cal Poly). His technical background married with his passion for the pharmaceutical industry has been a pillar in his career to help manufacturers intersect data and business to help solve complex problems in order to draw insights to support strategy, initiatives and key decisions. Jay recently joined MMIT in June of 2021, however prior to his time with MMIT he was a consultant for ZS Associates, who helped various pharma companies with their business operations. As a solutions consultant for MMIT, Jay supports our pharma clients by being a technical lead in aligning some of our new MMIT solutions to their business needs.

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