The Case for Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Tips in a Virtual Age
Applying specific pharmaceutical sales rep tips for virtual times is a must. Traditional coaching practices and motivational techniques may not be as effective for your field force today. They need to develop strong empathy and connection, even more now, at a time when healthcare professionals (HCPs) are experiencing so much pressure, challenges, and changes in their profession, including an increased number of interactions via video.
A recent study from Global Data and gathered by Pharmaceutical Technology revealed several related insights impacting pharmaceutical industry professionals:
- 75% of respondents saw virtual interaction continuing after Covid-19 ends. These could be standalone or combined with in-person sessions.
- Only 25% of surveyed HCPs anticipate that in-person interactions will be back to pre-Covid levels, reinforcing the changes in physicians’ preferences. Pharma companies must then find new means to build meaningful relationships.
- A total of 30% of HCP respondents concurred that video calls were the best tool for virtual interaction between sales reps and HCPs, followed by messages (20%) and phone calls (16%).
- The use of video calls, which provide face-to-face but still remote interactions, was considered to be the most effective alternative to in-person meetings.
Pharma field forces need to strengthen their communication and connection abilities specific to virtual interactions. These skills can no longer be considered as d “soft” and become “essential” when building relationships, educating and activating HCPs to bring better treatment solutions to their patients.
Therefore, tips for pharmaceutical sales reps must change, becoming more comprehensive and video-friendly.
Related: Get the Most Out of a Conversation Intelligence Platform for Sales
Evolving the Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Profile
Medical sales jobs are commonly regarded as rewarding, stable careers with generous salaries and unbeatable benefits. People don’t hear very often about how challenging these jobs can be and the level of responsibility they carry: Getting science and evidence closer to HCPs to make better-prescribing decisions for their patients.
If you do a quick search for a pharmaceutical sales rep profile, you may find the following requirements:
- Experience as a Pharmaceutical Representative or in Medical Sales
- Working knowledge of databases, statistics, product lines, and the most recent medical issues
- Experience with Microsoft Office
- Skills in negotiation, sales, and communication
- Track record of success in sales
- Excellent time management and organizational skills
- Graduate with a related BS degree
Organizations supplement these foundational characteristics with training to impart technical knowledge. However, this has been shown to be only a minor part of what drives true success. The critical and too often missing ingredient is coaching.
Pharma field forces need solutions for personalized, scalable, and effective coaching of essential skills. Skills that recognize that what they’re saying is only a small part of the impact of a sales rep. How they’re saying it and the response this evokes in the audience is what makes a call successful.
Unfortunately, today’s coaching is often haphazard, subjective and usually no more than guesswork. This is just one of many ways Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered technology backed by science may come in handy.
Salesforce explains that “Sales teams are looking to do more with their data than basic organization and analysis. In the near future, sales leaders expect a groundswell of intelligent tech adoption:”
- AI usage skyrocketed by 155% in 2020, even though only 21% of sales leaders reported using it in 2018.
- Over the past three years, teams already using AI had a greater likelihood of adding sales representatives. 76% of teams that used AI said they added sales staff since 2015.
- Many sales teams rely on data-driven forecasts. Therefore, intelligent forecasting is the AI application with the most significant potential impact.
But, besides this general use evidence, is there a way data-driven AI can also help create relevant pharmaceutical sales rep tips to truly develop field forces into excellent communicators who build an empathetic, human connection with their audience? Read on to learn the answer.
Data-Supported Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Tips
Communication is always a means of influencing an audience. Every leading sales professional must master the art of delivering key messages effectively. This skill is even more important for pharmaceutical reps because they require a unique mix of highly sophisticated information, scientific understanding, and communication mastery.
Measuring communication performance by traditional methods is time-consuming, subjective, and expensive. This means that this data is, at best, episodic and, at worst, an uninformative snapshot of historical performance. You may find, for example, that listening to each representative’s calls is one of your biggest challenges. It may not be possible for you to invest hours in this task across your field force in order to get manual insights into who is communicating well with HCPs and to provide valuable and accurate pharmaceutical sales rep tips to those who aren’t.
Additionally, legacy tools and approaches don’t allow you to measure performance insights or design individual or team development plans while pinpointing essential communication skills, such as empathy.
However, recent technological and data-driven advances have led to the development of new AI algorithms where you can simulate the real-world audience response. By matching a database of actual audience responses to a comprehensive list of communication behaviors used in these communications gives you the ability to objectively and accurately predict how people will receive your message.
Fortunately, the same technological advances that have enabled digital transformation in other industries also have benefits for pharma companies. Data-driven science and AI can help you achieve these goals without wasting countless hours on manual research. Most importantly, your field force will learn how to develop authentic human connections and fulfill their complex mission of getting patients and modern treatments closer through their HCPs.
Using the expertise of an industry-leading technology partner, you can generate real-time, objective assessments of each rep and insight reports right from within your existing training and selling workflow, saving a great deal of time and effort. You can take these insights to train up reps who aren’t performing as well as their peers.
Finding an AI-Based Solution to Create Better Conversations
The best conversation intelligence technology enables you to define and pinpoint the actual tactics and behaviors of your most successful sales representatives with precision rather than guesswork.
When these essential skills are identified and translated into measurable data, they are more readily accessible to everyone in the field force. You will be able to eliminate performance inconsistencies between team members with this advantage.
The ideal platform relies on a database of human-scored communications to train its AI algorithms. You can create a robust model that identifies the most critical elements in communications effectiveness based on behavioral and social sciences relating to human interaction and connection.
With an advanced conversation intelligence platform, you’ll be able to get proactive feedback on an ongoing basis and receive coaching recommendations based on actual data. As an AI coach, this tool can provide personalized, specific guidance tailored to the needs of each person. Systematic, on-demand practice features will allow sales reps to have better communication and connection abilities on their own schedules.
Partnering with an Industry Pioneer
If you want to create pharmaceutical sales rep tips to generate rich conversations with HCPs, Quantified can help. We have developed an AI-and-human collaboration platform that uses a database of human-scored communications. The deep-learning AI assesses more than 1,400 behaviors in each contact and provides individualized feedback, accurate benchmarking, and prediction of customer perception according to our algorithm.
You can use Quantified to understand your sales team members’ performance based on science and data. Therefore, the whole team and individual reps can offer world-class connections both in-person and virtually, boost HCP engagement, increase their trust, and improve patient satisfaction.
Quantified’s behavioral science, big data, and AI capabilities help you enhance human interactions and deliver a more significant impact. Better conversations. Better outcomes. Request a demo now.