Picture: Daniel Hannes_pixelio/

Farewell to pharmaceutical representative visits as the only commercial approach

In a context of change in healthcare and especially due to cuts in pharmaceutical spending, both by the decrease in drug prices and by the reduction in the number of prescriptions, pharmaceutical companies are considering how to be more efficient in their business relationship with the pharmacy channel and especially in regard to over the counter products, including “HealthCare”.

Today we no longer speak of “commercial” visiting pharmacies but “Customer managers”. The work of the representative of the laboratory is based on high brand training, segmentation and positioning of each product. His mission is to advise clients and act as the customer’s adviser, with particular emphasis on those customers with higher growth potential.

In Spain about 22,000 Pharmacies with a very fragmented geographical distribution model, lend their services, having at least one pharmacy in almost every town. Obviously, the business capacity of each pharmacy is highly variable and depends on many factors (location, population density, ownership, etc.). This is when the use of different communication and sales channels and their adaptation to the customer’s potential are essential, both in terms of productivity and cost. It is not feasible to “visit” all pharmacies, although it is possible to “reach” most of them through the innumerable available channels of communication.

The Contact Center provides a unique opportunity to communicate and connect with the customer and offer them quality and reliable information via phone, email, web-cam, chat, web channels (mini-sites) etc. The use of the call center improves the brand image and provides customizable tools that provide various benefits. The first and most obvious is the improvement in the rotation of the pharmacies, and above all the pharmacist’s greater predisposition in purchasing. It’s much easier to adapt to the pharmacist’s schedule, and to “return” when there are not so many customers at the pharmacy. Obviously you get more coverage and penetration in the promotional and marketing actions, as well as an increase in the percentage and geographic coverage of pharmacies and parapharmacies with less purchasing power. Those pharmacies, which are not profitable to visit, are profitable to send the order, as the use of the contact center reduces the sales cost significantly. Likewise, once an agile bidirectional communication channel between the contact center and the pharmacist is established, the contact center becomes a market data acquisition tool, perception and brand image, product data and competition.

On the other hand, it maximizes the sales potential from the pharmaceutical visitor, by releasing him from all administrative and bureaucratic tasks, which can be performed in the contact center. The visitor focuses only on promoting and selling those star products or new releases in which marketing and development efforts have been invested.

In conclusion, the use of the contact center significantly reduces the need for physical visits to pharmacies, and maximizes its return, while it establishes a segmentation tool and customer loyalty that allows offering a single point of contact for any required interaction with the laboratory, resulting in increased sales for the laboratory.

Javier Arza, Responsible for a HealthCare Project, SELLBYTEL SPAIN

Picture: Daniel Hannes/pixelio.de

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