e-detailing is currently being piloted or used by a growing number of pharmaceutical companies in the UK, following widespread adoption in the USA. It can maximise sales force effectiveness, cut costs by 50% and increase prescribing. But keeping it effective can be a serious challenge.
An e-detailer has different challenges to a traditional on the road pharmaceutical sales rep. Whilst the main purpose is still to get some time with healthcare professionals to either gain appointments or to detail the product, the personal challenges are somewhat different.
Unlike the on the road sales rep the e-detailer is often working from home, with little or no real face to face human contact throughout the day. Unlike an office based worker, they have no easily available colleagues to chat to or lean on if things aren’t going quite to plan and they don’t have their line manager on tap to coach, mentor and support them. But they still have targets to hit day after day, week after week, month after month.
The combination of these factors can put extra stresses and strains on the e-detailers, affecting their motivation, resilience and ability to cope with pressure, which can easily lead to call reluctance. Some of the more enlightened employers are already recognising this and are starting to explore solutions, before that damage is done.
For others, they can anticipate some of the typical call centre syndromes such as employee burn-out, high levels of absenteeism (or maybe ‘presenteeism’ – there in person, but just not engaged) and high staff turnover and high recruitment costs. These are expensive and damaging problems which impact the bottom line.
Solutions to this problem, such as increased management contact and coaching, can be hard to implement consistently and can easily negate some or all of the cost reductions and efficiency that e-detailing should be delivering.
An alternative solution, which we pioneered at Sales-Motivations, is to provide on-line, on-demand self- coaching resources to the e-detailer to enable them to develop and grow their own levels of motivation, resilience and ability to cope with pressure. Like e-detailing itself, it is available 24 X 7, when and where wanted, with no travel costs. From recent research that we’ve conducted with users, we see proven significant improvements in all these factors, leading to an average 30% increase in productive sales activity such as face to face meetings.
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