Status of Pharma Reps’ In-person Sales Model During COVID-19
With the world facing an unprecedented medical crisis for the past several months, one specific group of professionals have been bearing the impact of this challenge – our healthcare workers. Battling with the life-threatening Covid-19 virus from the front lines, these workers have had no choice but to adapt to the situation. Unfortunately, these circumstances have reduced the percentage of interactions between pharma reps and medical personnel. Many companies had to close their doors while several others moved from physical interactions to virtual.
Current situation of Pharma Industry
According to a survey in 2019, 47.3% of physicians were comfortable engaging in in-person pharma rep meetings, while only 9.6% of them preferred digital platforms. However, the new environment and the current situation have given pharmaceutical companies a chance to level the playing field.
With measures like social distancing and regulated lockdowns across the globe, pharma reps are re-evaluating their in-person sales model and moving swiftly towards automation.
Today, given the pandemic catastrophe all over the world, healthcare professionals, including clinics and hospitals, are increasingly refusing in-person interaction with pharma sales reps. And some pharma companies have voluntarily suspended personal interactions and face-to-face meetings. Instead, virtual communication between the reps and the medical staff have elevated. And, word is that this progress will most likely continue even after the COVID-19 threat has been eliminated.
It is believed that going forward, virtual sales and the ability to conduct it right will play a significant role in deciding the future of pharma firms.
Changes in the Pharma Sales Model
Considering that the status of pharma reps’ in-person sales model amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely critical, here are a few ways that the sales reps can continue to carry on their work effectively:
Be more active in leading online promotions – While technologies such as artificial intelligence have made regulating digital promotions extremely easy, it is noted that physicians and doctors are more likely to respond or consider personalized promotional emails and messages.
Support existing patients – Covid-19 has made it relatively difficult for non-COVID patients to reach their doctors. This is even more critical for patients with chronic diseases. Brainstorm with your team and try to find alternative ways to extend therapy and support to such patients.
Be more personalized than ever – The ongoing situation has proven to be an excellent opportunity for pharma companies to build a rapport with their customers and offer tailor-made solutions according to individual preferences. This is also a great time for pharma sales reps to figure out how to enhance digital channels, to offer direct support to patients on special prescriptions, and ensuring that they are adequately stocked.
Control client communications – One thing that nobody likes is to be bombarded with promotional messages and emails multiple times a day. It is not only overwhelming but can also lead to client dissatisfaction. Keep a controlled check on the kind of promotions you send as well as its frequency.
Keep yourself up-to-date – The past few months have presented a brilliant opportunity for reps to log some extra training hours. Conduct meetings with your team and ensure that everybody is on the same page about what is happening within your company as well as outside.
A virtual meeting app such as Preferred Time connects pharma sales reps with healthcare workers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, making sales meetups extremely convenient and hassle-free. It not only helps them schedule online meetings depending upon the availability of the sales reps and medical professionals but also enables them to browse through the manufacturer website for the latest products and innovations. Lastly, it also helps keep up with the current norms of social distancing and staying safe by restricting physical interactions.