The 3 most desirable skills in the ‘new breed’ of pharma sales representative- Hays careers advice

The 3 most desirable skills in the ‘new breed’ of pharma sales representative

In previous posts, we’ve been watching the rapid pace of change in healthcare, with advances in medicine and medical technology. Such sweeping transformation must, inevitably, impact upon the roles of those interfacing with healthcare professionals – the pharma sales representatives and the marketers behind them.

Medicine is changing from a mass market to a target market model, where doctors are increasingly incentivised by patient outcomes, treatment protocols are defined by integrated delivery networks and face-to-face access is becoming more limited.

The role of the sales rep is changing fast, and in the next five years, teams are likely to become smaller, agiler and more focused, due to improvements in systems and technologies.

We see three emerging skills trends that are increasingly prized among pharma companies embracing the new reality.

1. More in-depth knowledge of disease areas and healthcare context

Across the globe, there have been several common factors making it increasingly difficult to justify maintaining a costly sales force. Greater demands on the doctor’s time, diminishing trust in the information the industry provides, and devolution of power away from the doctor has led to fewer face-to-face calls.

This has increased pressure on the calibre of the sales call – no longer is it sufficient to show a visual aid and some key messages, but the rep must deliver messages in ways that better speak to their targets’ needs. He or she must understand the doctor’s objectives, incentives and overall context, and frame the conversation to describe how their products and services will meet tangible therapeutic needs. This requires a deeper understanding of both the disease area and healthcare in general, and the adoption of more of a ‘partnering’ posture than has typically been the case.

2. Strong business and networking skills

The new breed of pharma sales rep must be highly adept at identifying and creating new sales opportunities and managing these opportunities through the sales pipeline. They are neither market access managers, nor high performing sales executives, but true business-to-business (B2B) sales professionals, who can manage relationships with purchasing organisations and connect conversations across a networked sales environment.

3. An aptitude for digital technology and marketing

Healthcare professionals now glean information that sales reps previously controlled, from a variety of different sources, with digital technologies having become particularly important. Multichannel marketing (MCM) strategies (the use of email, WhatsApp and Facebook, for example) are gradually being trialled by pharmaceutical companies, who are leveraging digital technologies to streamline operations and maintain the relevance of their sales teams.

Mobile apps can track customer accounts, trigger alerts and manage relationships in a variety of ways. The new breed of sales representative will tailor digital technology to enhance face-to-face experiences and deliver innovative sales solutions that will help healthcare professionals better serve their patients. By augmenting core sales encounters with digital tools and systems, the new, leaner, smarter sales teams will take their interactions with buyers to the next level.

I hope you have found the above interesting. You may find the below blogs of use:

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Paul Strouts is the Global Managing Director for Hays Life Sciences, looking after 27 countries within the group’s portfolio, spanning from New York in the US to Sydney in Australia. From his base in our flagship London office, Paul oversees all operations and sales for the brand, and drives the business forward on a strategic level.

He joined Hays in 2007 following the acquisition of his Life Sciences business (James Harvard International) and has been involved in the sector since 2001, after becoming interested in Life Sciences whilst living near Harvard in Boston, MA. Paul is a graduate of the London Metropolitan University, and resides in the Home Counties, UK.