Pharma Industry is doing well, and has been growing year after year.Thousands of Pharma manufacturing and marketing industries in the country offer plenty of job opportunities to the youngsters, particularly in good numbers in the Sales and Marketing function at the entry level. Therefore it is pertinent to understand the requirements of the job, and also what it takes to be a Successful Sales & Marketing professional in this highly competitive era.
The job of a Medical Representative requires going out and meet highly qualified and informed customers like Physicians, and may not that much qualified trade customers like Stockists, Retailers, etc. In other words, the Medical Representatives should be outgoing, enjoy meeting and convincing different types of customers.
It requires hard work, i.e. from morning to night. Typically if a Medical Rep starts his job by 9 am in the morning, he may complete his day’s work may be by 9 or 10 pm. In other words we can say Medial Representatives’ working hours are dependent upon the practice timings of the customers, i.e. Doctors. In between, when the Doctors are not practicing, from 11 am to 4 pm, he can do other works like visits to CFA/Depot, Stockists, Retailers, lunch and also personal work, if any.
Two wheeler – a must for the job. From morning to evening he should be seen driving his two wheeler. Therefore he should own a two wheeler with a valid Driving Licence.
They should be well mannered, well behaved, with a good dressing sense. He should believe in presenting a formal picture of himself like daily shaving, bathing, changing inner wears, socks, hair and nails properly cut, shoes and working bag neatly polished, using deodorant/perfume often, etc.
Communication is an important tool to convert the customers to the Company’s products. Therefore successful Medical Representatives are the ones whose communication is very good. Good communication skill can be acquired through practice, practice and more practice. If the communication/detailing of a Medical Representative is interesting and engaging, the customers may be willing to give a little more time as well.
Sincerity, hard work, better organized and disciplined, ensures success in the job. Preparing the Customers list strictly as per marketing strategy of the organization, for each product, giving the required frequency of visits to each customer, using the physician samples, gifts, and other promotional inputs as per strategy, good detailing of each product, and demanding prescription for the products detailed, promoting the products ethically without looking for short cuts, pruning the customers list at regular intervals, like deleting the names of customers who have not contributed or contributed very little, or no scope for getting any substantial support in the near future, inspite of our best efforts, and adding a correct replacement for such deleted customers, etc. all will come under this heading.
Above all, successful Medical Representatives should have an unending appetite to do well, hit the objectives month after month consistently, earn incentives regularly, thus improving the quality/standards of life of self and family members, and always look for career growth. Even if career growth comes with a transfer, should accept it gladly, do well in the promoted assignment also, and than look for further growth in career. Sky is the limit for growth in this job. I have seen people having reached the position of Vice Presidents, Marketing Managers, National Sales Managers, etc. from the entry level Medical Representatives in 12-15 years time. Most of them don’t flash hi-fi/fancy degrees, but are simple graduates. However they have performed very well in each and every stage of there career, thus earned there career growth.
Should like to handle hi-tech gadgets, as most of the Pharma Companies expect there Field Force to use/handle android applications/handsets, online reporting systems, analysis of work/performance from the various reports available in the online reporting system and arrive at corrective measures, e-detailing, SMS (Messaging), whatsapp, etc.
From the Company’s side, they should contribute there bit by selecting the right candidates for the job, train them well, ensure on the job training, guiding, motivating (by the Line Managers), prompt in disbursement of samples/promotional inputs, salaries, incentives, reimbursement of expenses, and also taking care of the career aspirations of the deserved. In addition, companies should come out with products that can offer distinct advantages over the existing ones (instead of ‘me too’ products), effective sales/marketing strategies for each product, etc. thus facilitating the Field Force to excel in there performances.
The secrets to succeed as a Medical Representative: Steps en-route before reaching the Pinnacle. Pharma Industry in India is doing well, and growing year after year. Therefore many Pharma Companies are already there in the market place, and every year new players are joining in. This has lead to a stiff competition amongst them to convert the Doctors to prescribe their products. This posts a real challenge for any Medical Representative in Pharma Industry, more so for the newly joined ones. This write up is to help them overcome this challenge, and do well in their job consistently.
1) Good habits, some of which are given below, should become the routine:
Properly cut & combed hair;
Trimmed beard & nails;
Daily shave, bath, change inner wears, socks, wear clean & pressed formal dress (dark coloured trouser and light coloured shirt, preferably full sleeves), wear neck tie, etc. while working in the field.
Wear belt (formal – leather one), and shoes (formal either black or brown) neatly polished. Apply deo or perfume as many times as possible so that you don’t emit bad odour.
2) Avoid bad habits like smoking, drinking, pan chewing, poor hygiene, going late for work, not meeting the customers at the appointed time, etc.
3) Use working bag which is formal (leather one), neat, polished, and well maintained. Now-a-days many Pharma Companies allow field working with ‘back pack’ bags, which to me appear a bit casual.
4) Carry the list of Doctors, Stockists, Chemists to be met, and the area/location to be worked for the day in your pocket.
5) Before starting the work for the day, think of what has happened when you met the Doctors listed for the day, during the last visit (pre call analysis), and than decide how to move the proceedings for each call today. Once the day’s work is over than analyze if each and every call went as per your plan or not (i.e.post call analysis).
6) Organize things within the working bag for the day carefully like samples and promotional inputs to be dispensed to each customer in the right order, so that you don’t have to waste time searching for those in front of the customers.
7) Make as much calls – be it Doctors, Stockists, Retailers – as possible, every day, which should always be more than the desired call averages per day of the organization. The quality of each call made must also be good, and productive.
8) Making the best use of Retail working: Before meeting any Doctor, we normally meet the nearby Chemists/Retailers to get the feedback about the Doctor as to whether he is prescribing our brands being promoted or not, if yes, how many prescriptions per day/month, in each prescription how many tablets/capsules, etc. and than we plan our discussion with the Doctor accordingly. In addition to getting this feedback from the Retailers, we should also check if he has our products in stock or not, if not book P.O.B.(Personal Order Booking) for products which are not in stock, or very less in stock. Booking of P.O.Bs. from Retailers & dispensing Doctors, every day is very important. We should always try do more than the Company’s norm for POB month after month. Details of POBs booked should be maintained meticulously, and follow up should be made with the concerned Stockists to make sure all POBs booked are supplied quickly.
9) Be cool. Always wear a smile. Don’t pick up any argument or quarrel with our professional Customers. Maintain very cordial relationship with all our Customers like Doctors, there staff, CFA, Stockists, Retailers, etc. Deal with them in a very friendly and professional manner. However it doesn’t mean that we should submit ourselves to there tantrums, if any. Remember we help the Doctors to treat there patients better with our products, help to improve the business of the CFA/CA, Stockists, and Retailers by creating and improving the demand for our products.
10) Have the customers list – speciality wise – Product wise – strictly as per marketing strategy of the organization.
11) Promote right products to right Doctors strictly as per marketing strategy of the organization
12) Do Retail Chemists Prescription Analysis (RCPA) for each product/each customer (i.e.Doctor), arrive at there right potential, current share for each brand, and than target the customer as to how much share you want from him for your brand, and than work on him accordingly.
13) Give visits to each of the customers as per desired frequency only (once or twice or thrice every month), as outlined in the marketing strategy.
14) Work as per approved tour programme only every day. Discuss with Superiors, and get there prior approval, before making any deviation in actual working.
15) After effective detailing of the products to the Doctors, close the call powerfully by demanding for prescriptions for the products detailed.
16) Follow Company’s rules and regulations in all sincerity. Submit all reports on time without requiring any reminder from anyone.
17) Be up-to-date with your Product Knowledge, and detailing for all products under promotion. Communication is very important in this job, and if your detailing is very good, than it will be that much easy to convert the Doctors to your products. Good communication skill can be acquired, if you do practice, practice, and more practice, till you master it.
18) Be up-to-date with Competitors’ products knowledge, like how your product is superior to theirs, composition of the products, what is there price, what are the draw backs (like side effects) in there products, etc.
19) Don’t waste precious field working time due to any reason. Meeting of CFA, Stockists, etc. can be planned for during times when the Doctors Clinics are closed. Do both morning and evening work every day, don’t compromise on this. Writing work, submission of reports, etc. should be handled after we have completed our field working or whenever we are free from field work.
20) Avoid gossiping
21) Be up-to-date with your Product wise, Stockist wise, Primary and Secondary sales details vis-a-vis your targets, what is the potential of each of your Doctor for the products being promoted to him, how much he is supporting you currently, and how much you have planned to get from him within a time frame, details of visits made to each of the customers every month, POBs booked, your call averages every month, etc. These will help you analyze your performance, and than you can plan for corrective measures, if any, in consultation with your superiors, to reach the set objectives. These analysis/reports are there in your online reporting system. You should only learn how to retrieve it, and study them, as frequently as possible.
22) This job requires hard working. This is a field job, not a time bound Office job. Most of the days, we may be required to work from morning till 9 or 10 p.m. till we complete our last call listed for the day. To some important Doctors, we may have to go very early in the morning, and take our token to meet him during the day!.
23) Develop good manners – like wishing the Doctors ‘good morning’, thanking them for the valuable time given, wishing them on occasions like Birth days, Anniversaries, etc. and always wear a positive attitude towards work and life.
24) Don’t commit anything to any Customer which the Company has not authorized. Never misuse samples and promotional inputs.
25) Believe in yourself, make very sincere efforts to succeed, and you will succeed. If you take proper care of the processes involved – which are discussed here – the result will be taken care of by itself.
26) Don’t look for short cuts than the prescribed ones, to see the results quickly. It might lead to problems later on.
27) Have passion for the job. Be proud of your Company and it's products. Always try to achieve the set objectives consistently, earn incentives, and come up in life. If Company rewards you with a career growth in the process, accept it and try to do a good job as a Manager also.
28) The job of a Medical Representative is a very good one. If you do a good job at it, sky is the limit for your earnings, and career growth. I know of many Medical Representatives who have purchased plots, apartments, two wheelers, four wheelers, jewelleries, etc. from there incentive earnings. I also know of many senior managers in Pharma Industry, like Managing Directors, Vice Presidents, General Managers, National Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Brand/Product Managers, who have started there career as Medical Representatives like you, when they began there career in the Industry.
29) This job doesn’t require great qualifications like foreign degrees, or MBAs, etc. It is enough if you are a Science or Pharmacy graduate, with an aptitude for selling, and with a decent communicating ability. Willing to put in hard work, sincerely implementing the company’s sales & marketing strategies in the field, and eagerness to come up in life in the right way, are some of the pre-requisites to succeed in the job.
30) Be attentive and try to learn as much as possible from Training Programmes, Conferences/Meetings/Workshops, etc. Go well prepared, as may be necessary, for every meeting/discussion.
31) A sale is not over unless payment for the same is received. Follow up with your Stockists/Distributors/Wholesalers and collect payments within due dates promptly. Your territory should always be outstanding/overdue free.
32) When you are in the field, always keep a pocket note book and a pen in your pocket to note down important information, if any.
33) Try to be disciplined and organized.
34) Don’t ask for any personal loans from the Customers and the Trade, and don’t carry there stocks with you.
If a Medical Representative takes proper care of what has been discussed above, we are sure he should be able to do a wonderful job consistently, earn incentives, and grow in his career, therefore come up in his life as well. Best wishes!
1. Lay out the groundwork
2. Approach and relate
Sell the relationship
Help customers buy the right thing
3. Make the Presentation
Know the features
Sell the benefits – by answering “What is in it for me?”
Sell the advantages- by answering “Why should I buy from this person?” and “Do you knock the competition?”
4. Overcome the Objections
Types of Obstacles
1. Concern :
“I’m concerned with the dose-related increases in hypertension with VIOXX. ”
2. Misunderstanding :
“I just read a news story stating that VIOXX has a higher incidence of heart attacks than Celebrex . ”
3. Inability to Act:
“VIOXX is not available on our Hospital attached Pharmacy ”
4. Indifference :
“There is no difference between VIOXX and Celebrex. ”
What are possible call outcomes?
Once the doctor answers yes he is to a certain extent emotionally bound to it. However saying yes is very easy for him and in most cases said automatically the next minute he can forget about it and do whatever he likes.
This answer helps you at least to direct whether the benefits of your product are not clear to the doctor or do not fulfill his needs. The disadvantages is however that if you ask: why not? you let him restate negatives of your product and general rule is that we should avoid those in detailing starting arguing about benefits may not be valid at all. Apart from that, this situation brings you in a defensive position that is something to be avoided.
3. We will see This answer helps you at least to direct whether the benefits of your product are not clear to the doctor or do not fulfill his needs. The disadvantages is however that if you ask: why not? You let him restate negatives of your product and general rule is that we should avoid those in detailing starting arguing about benefits may not be valid at all. Apart from that, this situation brings you in a defensive position that is something to be avoided.
4. steps to answer a question properly
Listen patiently until the doctor has finished his question. Do not interrupt.
Rephrase the question, to make sure you have understood it correctly.
Answer the question as well as you can.
Make the doctor confirm your answer or ask him to solve the problem by using your product.
What to do when you don’t know the answer to a question?
Always keep calm and objective.
Do not respond to provocation.
Don’t try to fill in gaps in your knowledge with `invented’ information, this will lead to a discussion beyond your control – and if the customer is aware that you have gone beyond your limits he will loose his respect for you.
5. Close and Supplement
Always be closing by helping customer decide how to buy and not whether if they will buy.
– Can you see how this would meet your needs (or solve your problem)?
– Since I haven’t heard any objections, I’m assuming you agree with me? Right?
– Are you ready for us to talk about the final details?
– Shall we go ahead and get started with your order?
Ask for the sale
Suggest more products after initial decision has been made.
6. Follow up and Make them Customers for Life
Contact customers after sale
Send a “customer satisfaction” survey
Prove your dependability
Handle complaints promptly
Add customer names to mailing list and keep regular contact
Ask for referrals
A typical day starts by 9 am either reviewing my diary or by spending some time on my laptop. By 10 am i start my journey with my two wheeler and visit pre-scheduled doctors. I also carry samples with me to give it to my doctors. I also network with nurses, hospital purchase officers and other administrative people. This gives me an edge over other competitors and help me get fresh orders. Alot of time (30-40%) is spent in waiting rooms and busy roads. If i get time , i also make it a point to visit the nearby chemists and distributors. I also make it a point to use my smartphone to save my day report. This way i can have it sent by the end of the day without delays. This daily report helps my managers to track and monitor the sales performance in my region and help me fulfill my targets.
It’s all about analyzing the pharmaceutical market, i have been assigned to. Every given market comes with some Pros and Cons. Once that is analyzed – I learn everything about the product I am going to present; example, it's advantages, whether therapeutic (composition, properties) or marketing (name, dosage form, etc.) ones, and it's disadvantages (such as, adverse reactions). Thirdly i get more and more insights about the product’s competitors. This helps me in short and in the long run to effectively pitch and sell my product.
I give them updated and useful information on indications, dosage, symptoms and side effects. Aspiring Medical Reps should remember – if they try to preach the doctor, it wont help. They have studied medicine for more than 5-7 years. Merely pointing them to the right and credible medical journal or clinical trial paper is enough. But, this requires constant coordination with other departments and management, following the media, public statements, latest research and developments.
I could build and maintain relationships with prescribing specialists and general practitioners, a feat that was greatly due to the rigorous training and education provided to me over time. E-learning definitely has a big role because e-learning does not comes in the way of my daily work. I can learn and test my skills from anywhere anytime. I think technology is a key enabler when it comes enhancing field productivity.