The annual planning process is the time of year when pharmaceutical sales executives are asked to justify the cost of their sales force. In light of lost revenue with products going off patent, changes in formulary coverage, and evolving decision makers, sales executives are tasked with difficult decisions.
For most pharmaceutical companies the sales force is still their most expensive promotional resource. I have to agree with IMS when they stated that “Although the majority of senior executives recognise the need to change their commercial models, many are struggling with how to do so”.
What if a call center worked just as well as hundreds of sales reps on the street? That’s the question raised by BNet Pharma after AstraZeneca disbanded almost all of its in-person sales force for the stomach drug Nexium and replaced it with telephone support.
As you begin a new year many of you have made decisions to reduce the number of sales reps and employees in your respective organizations. Congratulations, you have cut out some of the fat from your organization. The bean counters and stock markets should probably be happy with you.