Many factors are changing the pharmaceutical selling landscape – not only the way healthcare professionals do their jobs, but also the need to align sales training programs with these changes.
In this blog, let us first understand the three key aspects contributing to the transformation of the world of pharmaceutical sales and then see how to design training programs that will help your medical reps succeed.
1. Reimbursement Models
Healthcare reforms are changing the way doctors get paid in the United States. Their payments will henceforth be tied to patient outcomes; in fact, it is expected that 90% of physician payments will be tied to patient outcomes by 2018. The better the patient outcome, more the payment.
2. Changing Buyer Profiles
Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs), are becoming popular now. These are large healthcare networks that own or manage various points of patient care – everything from hospitals to physician practices to long term care facilities (Source: eyeforpharma). They own more than 60% of physician group practices. So doctors no longer define treatment protocols.
3. Digitalization of Information
The effect of digitalizing healthcare information is significant. Face-to-face interactions of pharmaceutical reps with doctors are being increasingly replaced with digital interactions.
The sales models currently adopted by pharmaceutical firms need drastic revisions. So, the pharmaceutical industry needs to embrace a new approach to equip its sales force to meet the challenges posed by these changes. Patient-focused selling can be the solution.
Patient-centric focus means understanding patients’ needs and directing efforts to deliver better patient outcomes. To facilitate such a holistic training experience, apart from product knowledge, it is important your medical reps are trained on:
New Treatment Approaches
Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are always interested in new options to treat patients. When a new drug enters the market, they want to learn about its efficacy and benefits compared to other, similar drugs. They will be curious to meet sales reps, expecting them to provide such information. So, medical reps need to be trained on explaining the new treatment options provided by the drug effectively, to build better rapport with doctors.
Better Patient Outcomes
Reps need to understand the patient outcomes HCPs look to achieve, and they must be able to describe how their company’s solutions (such as co-pay cards or disease-management programs) can be of assistance to particular groups of patients. Reps must also help HCPs navigate through problems they may encounter such as ensuring patients stay on medications, helping bring down high costs, educating patients about diseases and lifestyle changes, and more.
This requires two skills – a high level understanding of doctors’ needs and the ability to ask the right questions. Reps must be trained to ask impactful questions which will help them get information on the desired patient outcomes and the needs of the physician. For more on pharmaceutical sales training, check out 4 fantastic guidelines to realign your sales force with the changing pharma landscape.
Better Healthcare Professional Outcomes
Reps need to understand the HCP’s practice, business goals, and priorities, and build their knowledge accordingly. They should be able to contribute to developing future solutions. When reps provide such information, they will be viewed as valuable resources in helping achieve desired patient and practice outcomes. They will in turn, gain improved access to sales opportunities.
Given the changing pharma landscape, training reps to understand the needs of HCPs