S&R Blog


What do physicians expect from reps?
February 23, 2009, 4:16 pm
Filed under: pharmaceutical marketing, physician | Tags: , , ,

We mentioned in an earlier post about how the relationship between physicians and sales representatives is broken, and that steps need to be taken to mend that relationship.  But what do physicians really need from sales representatives?

According to a recent study by TNS Healthcare, knowledge, expertise and professionalism reign supreme for physicians’ expectations of reps. The study, based on a survey with more than 1,500 general practitioners across the US and Europe, measured the performance of 17 top pharma companies across 10 areas.  The results can be viewed here.
tns-31

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7 Comments so far
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As the author of this slide, I can tell you that our take-away was that reps are still important to physicians (especially in the US) but they are expecting more as well. companies will need to find what combination of services will earn the right for their reps to be more than highly paid sample delivery agents.

Comment by marty Silverman

See this Pharma Marketing News article for details: “Building the Optimal Service Model” http://tinyurl.com/c4mjfy

Your readers can enter the discount code ‘TW8202’ when ordering to get this reprint FREE!

Comment by John Mack

Sales reps before the “arms race” were highly trained,had high GPAs, mostly from scientific backgrounds, usually considering med school themselves. As a former rep from that time period (and fitting the description above) – we took great pride in knowing our products and all the science behind it – we were purveyors of information and were experts in our field – samples were important, but not why the doctor valued our relationship.

I definitely see a welcome trend starting – providing concierge-reps, that provide a high level of service, focusing on information. Samples will be delivered separately and ordered when needed online or via smartphone by the doctor – good reps don’t need a crutch.

Comment by Janet Carlson

I agree with the above two comments. I think reps indeed can and will be important parts of the marketing mix. What the companies need to acknowledge and change is that the information, messaging and value that they are asking the reps to deliver is not sitting well with physicians. This gets back to the trust gaps that the industry has created between themselves and their customers.

Comment by David Recht

I agree. Although reps need to be delivering greater value to physicians, it begins with empowering our reps by giving them more than just canned marketing messages and sample packs as tools for building relationships.

We must help them bring real value (see http://tiny.cc/xXXWT). And the industry has to change its approach to developing drugs (see http://tiny.cc/cuSGf) and must work to improve the patient experience (see http://tiny.cc/mX1lJ and http://tiny.cc/QRBss).

Comment by Lisa Roner

I’ve been dreaming for the day when physicians will make their decisions on prescribing just the drugs they trust will be the better treatment for their patients instead of the drugs that pays his congress or other benefits. It’s a monster the industry has created and now it has to feed it. I have 25 years of experience in this market and I am from the time when the relationship was built by knowledge and professionalism. At this time we were respected as a professional that always brought some useful information and the advances of pharmaceutical researches. At this time we use to respect the doctor as an authority in his area and the relationship was very healthy and honest. I hope one day, these times will come back.

Comment by Hemar Palhano

[…] community has a growing divide between physicians and drug companies and unless it’s addressed, a cataclysmic  event could be on the horizon. But according to a report in the Washington Post, […]

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