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Assessing Salesforce Effectiveness in Pharma: Adapting to Changing Landscapes

How to Measure Pharma Salesforce Effectiveness the Right Way

by Jacob Vazquez | Last Updated: July 18, 2023 | 1 min read

In 2023, pharmaceutical companies deal with a shifting environment. They're under intense public and regulatory scrutiny due to the constant push to reduce healthcare expenses. This pressure affects their ability to invest in research and development, which, in turn, impacts their capacity to introduce innovative drugs to the market. It's a challenging situation for pharmaceutical companies, and it's vital to assess their Salesforce effectiveness to navigate these changes effectively.

The reason for this lies in the arduous and costly drug approval process. With only one out of every 5,000 drugs making it to market on average, the chances of launching a blockbuster drug are quite slim. Despite the challenging circumstances, the primary objective of any commercial pharmaceutical company is to provide life-saving products while ensuring profitability.

With external challenges at play, the spotlight shifts towards enhancing internal operations. This is to gain a competitive edge and excel in various aspects. In this dynamic environment, pharmaceutical and biotech firms aim for success. One of their top priorities is to excel in sales.

Therefore, businesses must fully dedicate themselves to measuring the sales team's performance. This is crucial for understanding how to achieve and replicate success across the entire company. A company's sales team is essential for increasing sales and revenue, making it a vital part of the business.

Smiling pharmacist and customer

There are several key factors that contribute to the performance of a salesforce, either enhancing its capabilities or rendering it ineffective:

  1. Difficulty Bringing New Products to Market: Introducing new products into the pharmaceutical market is often a challenging and time-consuming process. Regulatory hurdles, clinical trials, and extensive research all contribute to the lengthy timelines involved in getting a drug approved.
  2. Managed Care Pressures: The pharmaceutical landscape is subject to pressures from managed care systems, which often limit the availability of certain medications to patients. These restrictions can impact the salesforce's ability to promote and sell specific drugs.
  3. Lower Profit Margins: With the push to reduce healthcare costs, pharmaceutical companies may face tighter profit margins. This, in turn, can affect the resources available for the salesforce to effectively market and sell their products.
  4. Reduced Access to Prescribers: Sales representatives depend on access to healthcare professionals who prescribe medications. Any restrictions or limitations on this access can hinder their effectiveness.
  5. Longer Sales Cycles: The process of convincing healthcare providers to adopt and prescribe new medications can be a time-consuming endeavor. Longer sales cycles can impede the ability of the salesforce to meet targets and generate revenue.

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Measuring Salesforce Effectiveness in a Changing Landscape

human machine interaction

Around a decade ago, assessing the effectiveness of your salesforce was a simpler task, especially in the pharmaceutical-medical sector, which was less intricate. Back then, gauging the performance of your sales representatives primarily involved monitoring a few key performance indicators:

  1. Call Goal Attainment: This measured how successful your sales reps were in meeting their call quotas. It was a fundamental metric to gauge their outreach efforts.
  2. Territory and Customer Coverage (Reach and Frequency): Understanding the extent to which your sales team covered their assigned territories. And the frequency with which they engaged with healthcare professionals was crucial.
  3. Sales Goal Attainment: Ultimately, the bottom line was about meeting or exceeding sales targets. Achieving these targets indicates the overall success of your salesforce.

Traditional metrics are still used. However, they no longer provide a complete picture of your sales team's performance in the pharmaceutical and medical industry. This industry keeps changing. The situation has become more complicated, so you need extra metrics to understand your sales team's performance better.

The term "Salesforce Effectiveness" now encompasses a broader range of factors. In today's environment, companies must consider variables like market share growth, customer satisfaction, and even data-driven insights from digital interactions. Furthermore, factors like adherence to regulatory guidelines, compliance with marketing strategies, and adaptability to changing market dynamics have become integral to measuring effectiveness.

In the rapidly changing business world, companies must thoroughly assess and improve their sales teams. This involves using both old and new methods to measure performance, staying updated on market changes, and remaining adaptable to meet changing demands. In this context, maintaining a high level of Salesforce Effectiveness is vital for businesses to stay competitive and succeed.

Enhancing Salesforce Effectiveness in Modern Healthcare

doctor patient handshake

Access to Doctors in Today's Landscape

In the past, reaching doctors directly was a straightforward task. Sales representatives could easily meet their target doctors and convey the approved marketing message without much hassle. But things have changed.

Nowadays, territories can shift annually, and the disparities between them can be significant. This shift has made it more challenging for some sales reps to access doctors.

The Impact of Evolving Healthcare

Previously, a doctor's decision-making process was relatively uncomplicated. Managed care had little impact on doctors' prescription choices. Which made it simple for pharmaceutical reps to inform physicians about their drugs and influence their prescription preferences.

However, today's healthcare landscape tells a different story. A doctor's prescription choices are heavily influenced by managed care plans. The availability of accurate and comprehensive educational resources, and even the patients themselves.

Why Salesforce Effectiveness Matters

Effective sales teams are vital in today's healthcare landscape. They need to adjust to the industry's changes to keep good relationships with doctors and influence their decisions. It's important to stay updated on territory changes and know what influences doctors when they prescribe medication. Equally important is offering doctors the latest, trustworthy information on pharmaceutical products to impact their decisions positively.

Special Features of Unique Products

doctor listening to patient

Just like many products people want to buy, effective prescription medicines have their own special qualities.

Twenty years ago, there was less competition in the market, which meant each new medicine had a larger share to capture.

Back then, there were only a few choices in each category of medicine. Making it easier for salespeople to explain why their products were good and persuade doctors to prescribe them.

Today, the market is packed with a variety of medicines in each category and their expected benefits.

How to Measure Salesforce Effectiveness in a Changing Marketplace
In the pharmaceutical industry, some old sales tactics still work, while others don't. Simply reaching out to the right customers and doing it frequently is no longer a guarantee for success. Several factors make today's sales environment more complicated:

  1. Rapid Changes: The pharma and medical landscape is changing rapidly. New drugs, technologies, and regulations constantly shake things up.

  2. Similar Products: There are fewer truly unique products in the market. Most drugs have close competitors, making it harder to stand out.

  3. Managed Care Influence: Managed care organizations have more say in what doctors prescribe. Their decisions affect sales.

All these factors, and more, mean that what works in one place might not work in another. So, the big question is, how do we measure the effectiveness of our salesforce in this ever-changing marketplace?

First, we need to look at a few key metrics:

  1. Customer Engagement: How well are your sales reps engaging with healthcare professionals? Are they building meaningful relationships?

  2. Product Knowledge: Do your salespeople understand your products inside and out? This is crucial in a world with many similar options.

  3. Adaptability: Can your salesforce adjust to changes in the industry quickly? Being flexible is vital in a dynamic market.

  4. Data Analysis: Are you using data to make informed decisions? Data can guide your sales strategy and help you understand what's working and what's not.

  5. Measuring ROI: Are your sales efforts translating into measurable returns on investment? You need to know if your strategies are effective.

To measure Salesforce Effectiveness effectively, you need to keep an eye on these factors. Look at how well your sales team is adapting to the changing environment, how they engage with customers, and whether they have the knowledge they need. Use data to guide your decisions and ensure that your efforts result in a positive return on investment. This way, you'll stay competitive in the ever-evolving pharmaceutical market.

The Importance of Salesforce Effectiveness in Pharmaceuticals

Sales Data Visualization

In the realm of pharmaceutical sales, ensuring your sales team visits the right doctors and makes the required number of calls remains a critical endeavor. However, achieving a flawless 100% on these statistics is no longer a guarantee of success. These raw numbers do not provide a comprehensive understanding of how success is achieved and maintained in the long run. To address these essential questions and accurately assess Salesforce Effectiveness, pharmaceutical companies need to delve deeper into three key aspects:

Knowledge Assessment: What Your Team Knows

  • Customer Insights: Understanding the unique needs and preferences of each customer.
  • Territory Familiarity: Knowing the specific challenges and opportunities in their assigned territories.
  • Product Knowledge: Grasping the details of the pharmaceutical products they promote.
  • Therapeutic Class Expertise: Proficiency in the therapeutic categories they operate within.
  • Selling Skills: The ability to effectively communicate and persuade.
  • Competitive Awareness: Staying informed about rival products and strategies.
  • Behavior Evaluation: How They Act
  • Customer Interactions: Assessing how sales representatives behave during customer engagements.
  • Role Plays: A valuable method to simulate real-world interactions and gauge behavior.
  • Field Coaching: Providing guidance and support in actual field situations to observe behavior.

Consistency of Knowledge Application: doctor hand working with modern computer

How They Use Their Knowledge

  • Ensuring that the knowledge acquired is consistently applied in the field.

By evaluating these three critical areas, you can gain a more profound understanding of your sales team's performance quality and Salesforce Effectiveness. Let's explore why each aspect is important:

  1. Knowledge Assessment:

Understanding your team's knowledge base is fundamental. It ensures that your salespeople are well-informed about their customers, products, and competition. This knowledge empowers them to provide tailored solutions and build trust with healthcare professionals. It's the foundation of effective sales strategies.

  1. Behavior Evaluation:

Assessing how your salesforce behaves in customer interactions is slightly more complex due to its subjective nature. However, it is far from impossible. Role plays and field coaching provide valuable insights into how your team handles real-world scenarios. Observing their behavior in these settings allows you to make constructive improvements.

  1. Consistency of Knowledge Application:

It's not just about what your team knows; it's about how consistently they apply that knowledge. Consistency is key to long-term success. By ensuring that your salesforce consistently uses their knowledge, you can maintain the high level of performance you've achieved.

Measuring Salesforce Effectiveness: The Key to Consistencybusinessman show modern technology as concepts

human computer interaction

In the world of business, measuring Salesforce Effectiveness is essential for long-term success. It's not just about the short-term gains but understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your sales team's strategy over time. To do this effectively, we must focus on three critical aspects, and one of them is consistency.

Consistency in how sales representatives use their knowledge and behave is crucial. This relates to Reach, Frequency, and Call Goal Attainment Numbers. If your sales reps do well in these areas and also meet their Sales Goals, they are likely to perform well in terms of knowledge, behavior, and consistency.

On the other hand, if you achieve high Reach, Frequency, and Call Goal Attainment, but your Sales Goal Attainment is low, it could mean there are issues with knowledge, behavior, or consistency.

To measure Salesforce Effectiveness accurately, you need to identify the skillsets required for success, regardless of the business environment's complexity. It's crucial information for elevating your sales team's performance.

Tailored technology solutions, such as robust sales operations software, make it easy to measure these metrics efficiently. This allows you to concentrate your efforts on building a top-notch salesforce.

If you've discovered other critical elements of Salesforce Effectiveness, we'd love to hear about your experiences. Your insights can help make this a more comprehensive resource for other pharma and biotech companies.

In your experience, have you found another critical element of salesforce effectiveness that wasn’t mentioned Read here?