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It’s all in the preparation PharmaTimes July/August 2006

Good preparation – a vital component of sales success.


As Louis Pasteur once said ‘chance favours the prepared mind’. There is no doubting that this remains true and should be applied to sales calls.


The industry was founded and prospered on a belief that the best call rates were the way to sales success. Subsequently this belief was replaced with a new philosophy, built on coverage and managing call frequency.   These old practices have outlived their usefulness as companies now look to reform their “arms race” and focus more on NHS partnerships which naturally means improving relationships with doctors and building a positive rep:doctor experience.    The new imperative of building “commitment” to brands by delivering more specific and unbiased messages with less use of blanket promotion. In other words, it’s now about the quality of the relationship, not the quantity of calls or coverage.


Better business information, with increased utility has meant that ensuring ‘right place, right time, right message’ coupled with the right number of hits is now a realistic goal for sales teams.   The ‘right place’ and ‘right message’ is driven from information that relates market potential to product mix and usage; whereas the question of ‘right time’ and the ‘right frequency’ requires practice intelligence on practice accessibility, call policy etc. Put all this together and the wealth of information available to slice and dice the information are innumerable to ensure the right practices with the most potential to grow your sales are linked with the most effective call frequency strategies at optimal times in the week.


So the hunt for working out the best frequency to see individual practices is over as practice business potential can be determined through the use of ‘next generation’ sales data such as Transact SRi and it is more than feasible to connect this to the level of competitive industry activity to which the practice has been subjected. When you build this together with knowledge about practice accessibility etc, you no longer need to rely on assumptions or theory, it can be replaced with reality. 

The next generation

Sales force productivity can be readily increased by reinvesting the time spent on over calling in some locations, shifting the effort to those practices where more effort and time is needed.    The frequency at which you are required to call will vary by the numbers of companies targeting the practice or noise level in any promoted market as call frequencies needed to achieve aims will be different for example between pain relief drugs and epilepsy treatments, as will whether you are in number one or two position with the practice or further down the rankings


Jason Bryant from Binley’s notes ‘good practice intelligence makes relationship building a smoother and more seamless process so your teams can avoid pitfalls and engender positive customer engagement right from the start. A simple principle of using the available information about a practice can make a demonstrable difference to the outcome of a call.’


Selling smarter is what matters at the end of the day.’ observes Dorothy Knightley from TNS Healthcare . ‘We know that companies who build commitment of doctors to brands has been proven to deliver higher sales, stronger share and greater protection from competitive advances. That’s why it’s critical to use every tool available to ensure that commitment is gained and maintained’.


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