The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has created an unprecedented strain on society which requires them to deal with the ailment, find a cure for the ailment, fear the disease, and the physical, emotional, and financial duress of social distancing and lockdowns. In this ambiguous time, healthcare professionals, also known as HCPs, are facing extraordinary challenges–treating Covid-19 patients, providing effective treatment, and finding creative ways to tailor-made the treatments according to patient needs and medical conditions.
With the rapid spread of the virus across the world, several pharma companies have been forced to shut down while many others are aggressively finding solutions to scenarios where the pharma sales reps cannot make in-person contact with hospitals, clinics, and HCPs.
A study showed that almost 42% of physicians wanted specific Covid-19 related information from their pharma and healthcare contacts. The same research also showed that 83% of physicians claimed they weren’t getting the latest updates from their pharma contacts. Overall, pharma sales rep visits, including contact over emails and telephone, had declined to 63% than usual.
This decline in numbers has been attributed to the sudden shift of pharmaceutical companies from in-person sales models to digital automation.
The Challenge of Creating Innovative Solutions
Given the changing situations in the pharma and healthcare industry because of Covid-19 and its impact on humans and the healthcare system, medical reps have to find new, innovative ways to engage with their customers. According to a recent study, it was observed that out of 77% of doctors and physicians who preferred in-person contact with pharma reps before Covid-19, over 60% now preferred virtual meetups. This means that the standard procedures of in-person sales models have to be drastically modified to create avenues for digital connections between the pharma reps and their clientele.
The Opportunities for Pharma Reps
Research shows that the percentage of in-person meetups between doctors and medical sales reps in the last few months after the spread of Covid-19 dropped by 50% whereas the email and virtual interactions between the two increased by a whopping 263% during the same time.
Of course, there is an immediate need for pharma companies to change the way they interact with HCPs and consumers during these uncertain circumstances. However, these changes and shifts will also position the pharma companies for a successful future as the current circumstances become the new acceptable way of life.
Pharmaceutical companies need to reconsider their sales and marketing strategies and find innovative ways to promote their products. They also need to create ways to reduce the barrier between them and their HCP clients while leveraging technological solutions to facilitate virtual engagements.
The Future of Medical Sales Reps Post Covid-19
Medical Sales Reps, and pharma companies, will have to understand and adapt to the barriers they are faced with but at the same time, they have to factor in the new drivers and re-evaluate their communication methods. There are three primary challenges that the pharma reps will have to address:
Creating self-service channels – With more and more doctors and HCPs shifting to virtual meetups over in-person sales, medical representatives have to put more focus now than ever on initiating proactive communication via messages, apps, and emails.
Ongoing support for chronic patients – The urgency of the Covid-19 situation has made it difficult for non-COVID patients to connect with their doctors and physicians. Pharma reps need to acknowledge the problem and fill the gap by continuing to provide information and care on these patients to their respective HCPs.
Lack of physical accessibility – With norms such as social distancing and limited physical contact, pharma reps will now have to depend on the functionality and effectiveness of digital methods to schedule appointments and pitch their products to prospective and existing HCP clientele.
While the sudden, unexpected change in the medical and pharma industry has created several significant challenges, brands such as Preferred Time have shown their dedication and competency by offering alternative solutions to promote interactions between pharma sales reps and HCPs. Creating a virtual platform that allows medical reps and HCPs to create appointments according to availability, check rep portfolios before investing time in their products, connecting the both according to respective needs, and so much more has been made possible because of their virtual meet up app. It is initiatives like these that show no matter what the challenge is and how critical Covid-19 may be, they can always be fathomed.