Resources optimization in the healthcare industry ı Pharmaceutical companies face dramatic environmental and internal challenges. Because of pressure on industry economics and the increasing portfolio complexity, commercial managers struggle to revamp the size and structure of their sales forces.
“Optimized sales force” – wait, but why? Here is the bigger picture.
There was a time when having more reps than your competitor drove your market share growth. But the cost of sales reps has almost doubled over the last ten years, and “optimized sales force” is now a daily buzzword.
Shrinking sale forces and new challenges in Pharma digital (r)evolution push pharmaceutical companies to learn how to maximize their commercial effectiveness. As part of this initiative, three major challenges can be identified:
1. Resources are not aligned with market opportunities
Although market opportunities are identified, pharmaceutical companies fail to get internally organized in such a way as to allow effective and efficient actions aligned with customers’ needs. That is to say we have too many or not enough reps to be as effective as we could be when addressing these business opportunities. Our portfolio mix contains historical products with limited growth opportunity and low profitability: this has direct negative impact on commercial results.
This lack of appropriately disciplined methodology and decision-making toolsresults in missed business opportunities and disappointment.
2. Never-ending pressure to do more with less
Efficiency imperatives oblige sales organizations to do more with the same or even with less, leading to a continual requirement to maximize sales conversion and to increase ROI when it comes to commercial resources. For example, the sub-optimal focus of visits on the highest valuable customer groups and the lack of discipline in targeting execution lead to the misuse of sales resources. These efficiency imperatives call for an urgent need to optimize the structure and size of the sales teams even before any other sales channel (like the digital one) could be considered.
This pressure would be manageable with the help of appropriate approach with structure and sizing tools.
3. Continuous challenge to rise the customer message recall and resonance
With this ongoing pressure on costs comes the challenge of maintaining and increasing the quality of selling and negotiation skills. In addition, the basics like optimal call frequency calculation is often missing and reps have fear decreasing their high call frequency, even if additional visits do not create any substantial added-value or growth. Although an optimized strategy for visits may have been shared, reps still underperform during the implementation phase. We need high quality reps to ensure their message is understood and retrieved by HCPs (HealthCare Professionals).
These issues result in useless but costly visits that could have been avoided with appropriate guidelines set by management, implementation and training.
The resource optimization process is the key cornerstone for a company’s successful implementation strategy and the right approach for quick adaptation to the ever changing pharmaceutical environment. But you may feel lost when facing this challenge, not knowing where to start and struggling to elaborate a proper methodology to provide you with reliable scenarios you can test. Let us help you to explain.
Resources optimization straight to the point: "How to get it?"
In this process, two types of resources are to be optimized: products (1) and people (2). Here are the two main questions every Commercial Manager has to answer:
- Which products should we promote?
- How many reps do we need to do so?
We discuss these issues and provide you with a comprehensive methodology to optimize both of these resources in the second part of this article : Resources Optimization Guide Part 2. Stay tuned by subscribing to our newsletter!
The Actando Consulting Team