The days of the paper-assisted sales presentation are now coming to an end, and the vast majority of sales professionals are using some kind of mobile device as their main platform for information delivery. Just how effective is this and how can sales professionals use the technology to enhance the HCP’s experience?
Our research suggests that most physicians believe using mobile technology has a positive impact on a sales professional’s ability to deliver the clinical data and information, and may also have a positive influence over their clinical and prescribing behaviors.
Over a 6-week period early in 2014, medical oncologists from 12 different pharmaceutical companies, promoting a total of 25 different oncology products, rated their experiences with sales professionals. The information collected ranged from key performance indicators on all aspects of the interaction, to use of clinical data and any paper or electronic materials. One of the pharmaceutical companies changed from paper materials to a tablet halfway through the data collection period, so we had data on the sales team using paper materials and mobile technology on the same physicians.
When comparing the responses, it was clear that mobile technology had an immediate impact on almost every aspect of the interaction between salesperson and physician. In particular, physicians rated sales professionals much higher when they used mobile technology to deliver clinical data in support of their key messages, and when addressing concerns and questions. These were also the key performance indicators that had the greatest impact on the overall credibility of the sales person.
It was also clear from the data, across a number of different sales teams, that there were two main areas where mobile technology had a negative influence on the physician's’ assessment of overall impact.
Opening a Call: Opening a call with a mobile device can be difficult and awkward. Some systems require the salesperson to start each interaction at a defined place - irrespective of where the physician is in their decision making. This also tends to focus the physician’s attention on the device and not on the topic in question.
Discussing Managed Care Issues/Patient Assistance Programs: Local and regional variations in managed care organizations posed another challenge for sales rep interactions with HCPs.
Mobile technology has the clear advantage in helping establish overall credibility for the sales professional. The responsiveness and dynamic capabilities help support the lend itself to the e to the specific needs of the target customer when used to support a presentation/discussion, However, the tablet should be used as a tool to facilitate the discussion, not as a prompt or as the focal point of any presentation. Being skilled enough to directly navigate to the information that the physician wants or needs, in addition to using such information to support a key message without having to read from the mobile device, is paramount to a successful interaction with HCPs.
Read more from this blog series, Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps, by clicking the links below:
Part 1—The Anatomy of a 90-second Sales Call
Part 2 — How to Maximize Your Time with HCPs
Part 3 — How Doctors Are Using Mobile Technology
Learn More About Maximizing Time with HCPs
Medical sales professionals who can effectively use mobile technology will have a competitive advantage. StayinFront TouchRX, delivers the tools, data and analytics to enable reps to conduct more effective sales calls, gain a better understanding of the needs of the HCP and deliver more targeted, one-to-one messages that help build relationships — and lead to increased use of your products.
Dr. Peter J. Shaw, Chief Medical Officer at Emisphere Technologies, is an expert on improving communications between pharmaceutical sales executives and healthcare practitioners. He has 25 years of experience in clinical medicine in a variety of specialties, 20 years’ experience in product launches and pharmaceutical sales training and assessment, and 10 years’ experience in post-graduate education.