The Main Challenges for Pharmaceutical Sales Training Programs in the Post-Pandemic Years
Sales teams everywhere faced new challenges thanks to the pandemic, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Managers are reshaping pharmaceutical sales training programs so sales reps can be just as empathetic with healthcare providers (HCPs) online as they are face-to-face.
Below is a comprehensive overview, based on 2020 data from Accenture:
- 64% of meetings with pharma sales representatives were in person prior to COVID-19.
- The above shifted to 65% of meetings held virtually during the pandemic.
- In their current practice, 43% of HCPs limit who is allowed into the office for professional reasons, including pharmaceutical sales reps.
- Many HCPs anticipate those restrictions on who can access healthcare buildings will last for a while or even indefinitely.
- Among those with restrictions, 28% said they believed they might keep the limitations permanently, while 44% said they would keep them indefinitely.
- Despite the differences in their preferred ways of learning about new treatments and interacting with pharma sales reps, HCPs still wish to gain access to the latest treatment information. Even when the pandemic was at its peak, 88% of survey respondents said they would like to hear about new therapies.
- Over 60% of respondents said they interacted more with pharma sales representatives at COVID-19 than before.
Field forces and managers need a whole new set of capabilities to be successful in video-based detailing calls. Entire teams need to master new abilities to enhance a remote connection and establish meaningful relationships through video communication with HCPs. Read on to learn about the key elements of pharmaceutical sales training program fit for today’s remote detailing reality.
How to Improve Pharmaceutical Sales Training Programs
Prior to the pandemic, sales effectiveness primarily assessed whether a particular selling process could improve sales and customer satisfaction. Traditionally, pharma sales metrics have included quota attainment data, reach and frequency, self- and manager-assessed performance indicators, and prescription data, such as total prescriptions (TRx) and new-to-brand prescriptions (NBRx).
These metrics and their respective dashboards were excellent and comprehensive sources for managers to develop pharmaceutical sales training programs. After the pandemic, the pharmaceutical sector, however, must weigh a number of other factors as well. Many of them have to do with assessing essential communication and connection skills.
Every minute a sales professional has in front of a customer, in person or over video, is golden. Pharma companies now need to measure more than traditional pharma sales metrics in order to maximize every minute of customer contact to create empathic and meaningful relationships with HCPs. Is it possible to measure these objectively, reliably and at scale, without spending hundreds of hours in manual processes?
Tracking New Metrics to Design Optimized Pharmaceutical Sales Training Programs
Video interactions are here to stay and the pharma industry must rely on modern systems to track and report actual behaviors to remain competitive. Results from a study conducted by GlobalData and posted by Pharmaceutical Technology indicated “75% of respondents saw virtual interaction remaining (either as a standalone option or a mix of in-person and virtual interactions) after the Covid-19 crisis recedes.” Other data from this same report follow:
- In-person interactions will return to pre-pandemic levels, according to only 25% of all health care professionals. This demonstrates the changing preferences of physicians, which means pharma companies must find new methods of creating meaningful connections with them.
- For virtual interactions between sales reps and HCPs, video calls were rated as the best tool by 30% of respondents, followed by messaging (20%) and telephone calls (16%).
- Video calls, which enable face-to-face communication over the internet, were seen as the most preferred option to replace traditional in-person interactions.
- In spite of not being able to capture body language fully, video calls can nevertheless provide information about facial expressions and other essential soft skills, which in the same way will assist in building rapport, just as they do in conventional interaction methods.
If your reps are spread over multiple locations, you may find your main issue right now is keeping track of their calls. It might be challenging, if not impossible, to learn who is communicating and connecting well with customers without the ride-along experience. Additionally, you must link those performance insights to more traditional variables such as NRx, TRx, and brand awareness.
Identifying the requirements for effective video communication by top sales reps is crucial to the success of healthcare value-based selling. If you do this, you can concentrate on developing these behaviors and qualities in your lower-performing representatives with improved pharmaceutical sales training programs.
When interacting with an HCP who wants to learn more about innovative treatment options for their patients, the conversational skills of each sales representative can make a big difference. You can maximize the impact of your pharmaceutical sales training programs by incorporating creative content and personalized feedback powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
A modern platform that leverages AI is helpful for monitoring and reporting on valuable conversational skills that are often overlooked by traditional tools, such as clarity, creativity, trustworthiness, engagement, and likeability. You can do this automatically and at scale and, most importantly, with the precision you require to capture even the most subtle cues.
Finding the Best AI-based Technology
As a sales leader, you can achieve the goals of measuring, reporting, and designing optimized training based on soft, conversational skills that matter on and off-camera. You can further your organization’s purposes by leveraging the same technological breakthroughs that assist digital transformation across the board.
The latest technology will ensure that you’ll no longer need to spend hours on this process. Instead, you can receive objective analysis and insight reports from a platform that applies AI to pharma sales communication, so you won’t have to evaluate everything subjectively or manually.
The ideal solution will have the following features to enhance pharmaceutical sales training programs:
- By using this tool, you can evaluate each rep for their communication skills and impact on customer perception.
- The platform can also identify their strengths and areas for development both individually and collectively.
- Using this system, you will be able to automatically combine communication effectiveness with customer satisfaction and prescription data, identify the skills that make top performers successful, and help low performers become more successful.
- Your healthcare sales team can benefit from scientific research on the behavior behind their performance when they participate in the pharmaceutical sales training programs they need. In return, they will actively take part in quality conversations that lead to HCP engagement and positive prescription stats.
Communicating effectively with your audience can make the difference between connecting patients with the best treatments available or not. Quantified’s Conversation Intelligence and AI-Powered Coaching Platform uses the world’s most advanced AI-based technology to boost your sales team’s communication, connection, and performance. The solution uses science and data to give insight into how sales teams and individual reps are doing.
Provide your healthcare-oriented staff with the tools they need to increase customer trust, enhance patient care, and provide world-class detailing in person and virtually. The Quantified Approach combines behavioral science, big data, and AI to improve human connections in a significant way. Better conversations. Better outcomes. Request a demo now.