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Too many reps minimise impact of personal selling

A US-based study reveals that the number of pharmaceutical sales representatives competing for prescriber attention is reducing the effectiveness of personal selling

Results from a US-based RepReview Pharma 2007 study have revealed that the number of pharmaceutical sales representatives now competing for prescriber attention is reducing the effectiveness of personal selling.

Conducted by G & S Research in partnership with Pharmaceutical Representative magazine, the study surveyed pharmaceutical and biotechnology sales reps along with sales managers to discover what was happening in industry's selling field.

The results showed how sales people perceived their day-to-day responsibilities and the industry they represent. The data also revealed the challenges, needs and expectations of the pharma sales force and verified that a strong relationship between a sales rep and doctor often coincides with better access to doctors and a better market share.

However, developing a bond with prescribers was becoming more difficult for drug reps due to saturation of reps in the field, industry regulations, managed care parameters and productivity requirements, as well as declining public opinion of the industry.

The study showed that the benefits were significant for those who can forge a genuine bond with doctors. Primarily, there appears to be a correlation between how a doctor views a rep and how much time that rep receives.

Despite the negative findings, approximately half of the study respondents named their own employer as the healthcare company they most respected, while about the same proportion named their own as the best sales force in the industry.

Stephanie Cohen, senior methodologist at G & S Research, said: "Return-on-investment models for pharmaceutical and biotechnology field force analyses continue to show incremental benefit of additional representatives. Yet growing sales teams make the selling environment more difficult for individual representatives needing to interact with doctors."

"It was encouraging to me that the sales force appears to focus their frustrations on external dynamics and have significant comfort and pride in their own company's efforts," concluded Cohen.

More details can be accessed here.

3rd December 2007

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