Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Training Needs Updating
Sales teams throughout the healthcare industry encountered new challenges due to the pandemic, much of which was due to not being able to visit prospects and customers physically. Even the best pharma sales reps found themselves struggling to be as effective in a virtual world as they were in face-to-face meetings. A whole new set of skills is required of sales teams and managers to continue delivering positive results, including training session design.
Data from the consulting firm Best in Class reveals the following facts that show how sales learning is transforming:
- Virtual classrooms offer the potential to transition more learning from face-to-face training.
- Virtual training accounts for 60% of some training programs.
- A median of 36% of participants’ budgets was allocated to new hire training in the most recent fiscal year. During their first year on the job, new hires typically receive about 32 days of training, compared to about ten days for experienced reps.
These are just some examples of how salesforce training is changing. Not only have the formats and technology in the programs changed.
Almost all pharmaceutical sales representative training programs now must include skills to help improve virtual meetings with healthcare practitioners (HCPs). It’s about generating empathetic conversations and close connections with them in order to assist them in providing the best treatments for their patients. The only way to achieve this objective is by renewing training programs and implementing technological solutions that can personalize the training for teams and individuals alike.
You can take your reps’ performance to the next level by following these helpful suggestions if you are just starting these developmental programs or are looking to update what you have in place.
Include These Must-Haves in Your Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Training Programs
As discussed in the previous section, pharmaceutical sales representative training programs require improvement. The primary reason is the change in dynamics brought about by COVID-19, particularly in sales work. According to McKinsey data, virtual media have become the norm for sales reps across the board.
- Increasingly, the use of video as a means of connecting with customers has been gaining traction since COVID-19.
- Since the pandemic began, digital interactions with sales reps have increased 41%, and online chat is 21%.
- According to new research, 76% of sales leaders believe that remote sales interactions are equally as effective as traditional in-person meetings for prospecting for new customers.
With this data in mind and the fact that it can be hard to convey a meaningful conversation with a camera in the middle, you can see why training programs should include sections that improve virtual connections. Fortunately, there are specific tactics sales organizations can implement to give their field force everything they need to succeed in any sales environment.
#1 – Setup and Gear Training
To connect with prospects and current clients, reps need to make sure the equipment they are using is up to the task. No matter how exciting and authentic the details are, they will remain meaningless if technical difficulties or poor sound and video quality constantly interrupt them.
Design pharmaceutical sales representative training sessions to teach them about simple habits like planning, testing in advance, fixing problems, and what equipment to use and how to make video conferencing more efficient. The suitable webcams, mic, ring lights, and office space will create the perfect environment to make your rep and their message stand out. With this training, your agents will be able to offer quality and consistent video conferencing using the best equipment available.
#2 – Soft Skill Training
Traditionally, pharmaceutical sales representative training has emphasized skills to improve quota attainment, performance indicators, reach and frequency, and prescription data, such as new-to-brand prescriptions (NBRx) or total prescriptions (TRx). Sales teams learned how to encourage and motivate doctors to prescribe using those data sets.
It is now essential for pharma companies to train more than just traditional pharma sales skills in order to develop empathic and meaningful relationships with HCPs. Training programs for virtual detailing times must consider soft skills a crucial component. Getting this done measurably, accurately, reliably, and at scale without spending hundreds of hours in manual processes is a challenge.
In order to be successful in healthcare value-based selling, top sales reps must identify the factors that influence effective video communication. As a result, you can focus on improving pharmaceutical sales representative training programs for agents performing poorly.
A sales representative’s conversational skills can make all the difference when promoting information to HCPs about innovative treatment options. You can maximize your team’s impact by incorporating personalized feedback and creative content into your pharmaceutical sales training programs.
Using artificial intelligence, a business platform can help you monitor and report on essential communication skills you may ignore with legacy solutions, such as clarity, creativity, trustworthiness, engagement, and likeability. You can perform this automatically, at scale, and, most importantly, with the level of precision you need to catch even subtle signals.
#3 Design Your Training Programs Based on Science
A key aspect of organizational growth is involving and developing employees. AI-powered assessments and training are the perfect foundation for this. Leading communication experts provide feedback and insights to enable cutting-edge solutions that offer customized plans for improvement.
It is currently possible to find a platform that offers specific feedback and actionable recommendations tailored to each sales individual’s needs and your organization’s long-term training goals. This tool allows your sales managers and other company leaders to measure and improve salespeople’s soft skills scalably, objectively, accurately, and efficiently.
Measuring Soft Skills and Training on Them Is Possible
Whenever managers think about pharmaceutical sales representative training on soft skills, they focus on keeping track of them and determining which strategies are working. Emotional intelligence, empathy, curiosity, self-control, self-confidence, relationship building, and self-control are challenging to score.
Historically, communication and connection skills have been assessed without clear benchmarks or standards. It is possible to use online feedback tools to help improve soft skills. Many of these approaches are not objective, and you may still not be able to understand what actually matters and how your team members are progressing.
Soft skills are subjective and highly variable, and traditional methods of assessing and training them are of little use by themselves. Instead, you could use multiple techniques, including questionnaires, seminars, and virtual training. When you have a mixed strategy, you can do rigorous research to determine which candidates and current team members have the soft skills you require and which ones need training.
Additionally, you can use the most powerful AI-based platform to enhance all of the above. You can evaluate and train your sales team members more accurately when working with an objective, science-driven partner.
Quantified is already available to solve this problem. Our innovative AI-powered technologies allow organizations and their leaders to measure and predict critical sales performance indicators and remove the guesswork. If you would like to learn more about how Quantified can help your organization assess and train on soft skills, request a demo.