Revamping Pharma Sales Force Effectiveness Metrics

2 women talking in a business room

Why Pharma Sales Force Effectiveness Metrics Changed

In general, traditional pharma sales force effectiveness metrics cover reach and frequency, self and manager assessment of good selling outcomes, and prescription data (total prescriptions (TRx) and new-to-brand (NBRx)). Sales effectiveness measures whether a sales process can grow company revenue and satisfy customers at the same time. It analyzes the ability of a sales team to educate and activate HCPs to prescribe. 

There are many other indicators to evaluate sales effectiveness, including individual quota attainment, percentage of the sales organization achieving quota and time to initiation.  

These metrics can be helpful in any industry, but the pharmaceutical sector needs to consider many other factors, especially after the pandemic. Most of them are related to measuring essential communication and connection skills.

Going Beyond Standard Metrics

According to a report by McKinsey, “Pharma companies overall—and their commercial organizations, specifically—have largely focused on the immediate crisis, including by facilitating access to medicine; supporting HCP, institution, and patient needs in new ways; safeguarding employees; and enabling employees to operate in a new environment. In this context, one of the top priorities of a pharma company’s commercial organization must be ensuring that the delivery of high-quality patient care is ongoing and the supply of critical drugs is shored up to avert potential drug shortages in the future.”

Such a significant responsibility falls, in part, on top of sales reps’ and field forces’ shoulders.

They need to keep track of way more than the usual pharma sales force effectiveness metrics and focus on tracking interaction abilities to promote empathic and meaningful contact with HCPs.

How can you measure them in an objective, accurate manner? Artificial intelligence (AI) may be the answer. Read on to learn why.

Related: The New Science of Training Sales Reps

 Covid-19 Challenges HCP Interactions

Building trust and credibility is fundamental in rep and HCPs’ conversations. Continuing with the same report, McKinsey highlights several obstacles which make effective communications essential now more than ever:

1) There is a decreased number of pharma conversations

The majority of pharmaceutical companies have reduced or stopped using sales reps in the field, causing a series of consequences: 

  • Surveyed HCPs are interacting less frequently with pharma reps, falling by an average of 65%. This frequency has declined even more than the interaction with their patients.
  • Remote interactions with pharma are reportedly 2X more frequent in the US than before, but they only partially offset the overall decline. 

Fewer opportunities to interact, combined with forced virtuality, impose the need to refine critical interpersonal skills and easily transmit them through a camera. The goal is for field forces to continue to link patients with the best treatments through their HCPs.

2) There are fewer patients seeking medical attention, and doctors are writing fewer prescriptions for most diseases

Covid-19 has significantly decreased the number of patients visiting their doctors overall. Fewer patients are now seeing HCPs for non-Covid-19-related conditions.

  • 82% of surveyed HCPs reported declines in patient volume, with more than half describing it as a significant decline.
  • 50% of doctors fear care will not be timely provided for newly detected or existing conditions, especially those that are not Covid-19-related.
  • 40% of surveyed patients report having a doctor cancel an appointment.
  • 30% of patients canceled pending appointments themselves.

This circumstance also requires richer, more meaningful conversations with HCPs when they happen to ensure they obtain enough information and scientific evidence to support initiation. This way, they can continue to connect their patients with the proper medications as soon as possible.

3) Telemedicine and remote tools do not compensate for the diminishing face-to-face interactions

Different countries, fields of expertise, and healthcare practitioners adopted various remote-working tools. Many physicians, in fact, believe telemedicine will persist after the pandemic. Although HCPs do not see it becoming the norm, the current growth in remote engagement with patients is not making up for the loss of direct contact between them and their patients. 

  • The number of weekly patient consultations reported by US physicians has declined by 45% from pre-Covid levels.

This only adds to the concern exposed above. Not having frequent contact with patients may affect their timely access to treatment.

Related: The Definitive Guide to Virtual Sales Success

AI to Enhance Human Interactions, Instead of Replacing Sales Professionals

Experts agree it is impossible to take the person out of human-to-human interactions, especially in highly sensitive industries such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare. However, obtaining pharma sales force effectiveness metrics around these dialogs can become complicated without the proper tools.

An AI-powered platform can become the solution to overcome the most pressing interaction challenges your sales reps to have to face today. Optimizing human-to-human contact is less about thinking of AI as a human replacement and more about complementary technology.

It is essential to change your perspective and recognize AI and humans can work together to improve healthcare interactions. Industry pioneers establish that human connection is vital, and collective efforts should focus on preserving, nurturing, and enhancing this connection.

A combination of data and machine learning can precisely improve, rather than replace, the human experience through collaboration and continuous interaction. 

In terms of optimizing pharma sales force effectiveness metrics, these technologies have powerful implications for both field reps and sales managers. With a modern, AI-based sales training and coaching platform, you can better understand how HCP-pharma rep conversation effectiveness and performance are linked. You can also discover what makes high-performing reps successful and how to develop these critical communication and connection skills in lower-performing individuals and the whole team.

On the other hand, reps receive real-time, personalized feedback from live training or sales calls, which is comparable to having an on-demand coach with them all the time. As they learn at their own pace using proven behavioral change strategies, they get the opportunity to see trends and progress in their abilities to communicate and create close relationships and excellent customer experience.

Get the Leading Communication Performance Platform

Quantified built the world’s most complete human communication database based on evaluations by a real human audience. Our team has evaluated and scored nearly a decade’s worth of video recordings of people communicating: From presentations and keynotes to sales calls. 

Here’s how:

  • We collected input and answers from experts and translated them into computer code. Could the communicator be trusted? Were they authentic, credible, likable? Was it likely they would buy from them? 
  • Afterward, we developed a model based on the behavioral and social science of human communication. We identified 24 critical factors for effective communication across content, voice and visual delivery, and audience perception using this model.
  • A deep-learning, human-trained AI then scores over 1,400 behaviors in a message to quantify precisely how effectively the person conveys it. 
  • Based on these insights, we then combine them with our experiential learning platform that designs personalized development plans to create sustainable behavioral change.

A pharmaceutical company’s sales rely heavily on human interaction; there’s no doubt about it. While we should not replace human connections in the pharma and healthcare worlds, we can optimize how they occur and fulfill a bigger purpose. Get in touch with one of our experts to find out more about how Quantified is helping companies achieve just that. Request a demo today.