Reps need help from sales leadership, marketing, training and their peers to know and implement best practices in each sales scenario. There is generally even less time to meet with the busiest and most vital customers, KOLs and high prescribers. On average, reps aren't earning more time, as physicians have only a 38% recall of sales rep activity, the ZS report notes. In the new age of the "30-second detail," reps must be armed with guided selling so that they can give a more targeted, impactful message. When the message and content is more timely and relevant, detail time increases. When detail time increases, sales increase.
Due to the current pharmaceutical sales environment, sales teams must find new and different ways to engage with their customers and close more deals. In today's competitive business climate where growing top-line revenue is a constant struggle yet sales reps are expected to do more with less, the implementation of technology solutions has become increasingly critical.
More recently, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have emerged to aid in this effort. These technologies have the potential to make a real difference for pharmaceutical companies when it comes to helping their sales teams improve productivity, win rates and customer satisfaction. An AI-based selling solution, for instance, can help pharmaceutical sales reps do more in the restricted time that they have by serving as a virtual sales assistant. It can provide relevant content recommendations that guide the salesperson and the customer down the most effective path to a sale.
Here are just a few of the ways AI can help drug manufacturers looking to achieve and sustain a more productive sales team:
For instance, sales reps can ascertain in advance that a particular doctor is more interested in making time for reps who have more treatments to discuss. Recognizing this ahead of time empowers the rep to come armed with details on all the drugs that would be relevant for this particular physician. AI can also recommend the most important reprints, detail aids, abstracts, and leave-behinds for each call with a prescriber as determined by the sales teams' best practices, marketing, and sales leadership. By optimizing pre-call planning, more time can be spent meeting with physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners.
Now, pharmaceutical sales reps are able to stay in the field longer and call on more customers since the admin-heavy tasks that have traditionally forced them to spend more time at their desks, like inputing sales calls into their CRM systems and emailing a reprint to a physician, are now automated.
For instance, if the top 10% of sales people use a particular presentation during their initial meetings, the system would push that content to other sales people as they were headed toward their own introductory session with a prospect. By having a means to better measure and learn from the successes and failures of other sales people across the team and identify the habits of its best reps, organizations can improve outcomes by elevating the performance of the entire sales teams. In other words, AI can become a sales trainer and mentor that is always by the sales rep's side.
With pharmaceutical sales reps typically only meeting to share thoughts and advice with their peers at quarterly plan of-actions (POAs) or national sales meetings, which occur one to two times per year, AI technology enables the reps to share and implement these best practices in real time and potentially translate to immediate improvements.
In addition, this technology allows sales teams to take advantage of the best reps' experience and wisdom, while also alerting them to missing information or other issues that could put a deal in jeopardy. Often called guided selling, this approach offers a real-world way to help sales people be successful, especially when they have limited time with the physician. This could include providing a customized prescriber profile and call history to better prepare sales reps before engaging with physicians, PAs, and nurse practitioners to sharing the best practices of the top sales reps in the organization to maximize the time in front of the physician.
Leveraging technology where a machine is taking on manual work typically done by a human offers significant opportunity to boost efficiencies, improve sales team preparedness, increase time reps can spend with physicians, KOLs, and other key decision-makers, and enhance cross-team collaboration. In turn, sales teams can better prepare for meetings, successfully present to those time-strapped physicians, more effectively follow-up after meetings, and share best practices with their colleagues. Ultimately, AI has the potential to help pharmaceutical sales reps increase their productivity, close deals faster and help drive revenue.
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