Top 5 automation solutions for optimizing pharma sales operations
Brian Fitzgerald | April 22, 2022
No matter what industry you’re in, sales are the lifeblood of your company, but gains in sales and operational productivity do not unfold on their own. Achieving a healthier bottom line requires a long-term systematic approach to sales and operations. However, that is often easier said than done. The answer to optimizing pharma sales operations is automation. A study of over 700 sales reps1 found that sales reps spend 64% of their time on non-revenue-generating activities, highlighting the need for automation.
Follow-up plays a critical role in closing sales and in maintaining customer relationships. However, following up with customers requires time to set reminders, make phone calls, and send emails to determine if customers are interested in pursuing a purchase. Sales automation helps organize and handle this process from the first point of contact with a new customer to the after-sale follow-ups and beyond.
Higher Levels of Job Satisfaction
According to a survey of pharma reps2, dissatisfaction with administrative work is a top source of discontent among sales professionals: "Other sources of dissatisfaction include excessive travel and admin work. While both of these are inevitable with field sales jobs, some medical sales jobs require more than others, often causing lower than average job satisfaction levels." - 2016 Med Rep Job Satisfaction Study. By reducing administrative tasks and facilitating follow-up, sales automation paves the way for higher levels of job satisfaction and, ultimately, improved employee retention.
What are some simple ways to automate your pharma sales operations?
Pharma sales automation requires the buy-in of your management team, stakeholders, and pharma sales reps themselves. Together, you need to review the many benefits of automation and ensure that pharma reps understand that automation is designed to help them achieve their sales goals.
Here are five ways to automate your pharma sales operations.
1) Streamline Communications with Sales Reps
A study by Best Practices, LLC analyzed the high levels of communication facing pharma sales reps on a daily basis. "Internal communication can make or break the productivity of a direct sales force. If properly used, email and voicemail can quickly disseminate educational, tactical and motivational information. However, when district managers and sales reps find their email and voicemail boxes filled with poorly prioritized or even unnecessary communication, personal productivity and work-life balance suffer." - Best Practices, LLC When reps become overwhelmed by tons of unnecessary communication, they sometimes resort to working weekends or reducing fieldwork, which in turn reduces their efficacy and greatly impacts their workplace happiness. Automation simplifies and streamlines communications with sales teams using a user-friendly interface and customized templates.
2) Automate Management of Customer Sales Rosters
Many pharma organizations lack an efficient process to manage their rosters of sales reps and their associated territories. Roster automation offers an effective way to track territory movements and future changes. Most importantly, roster management provides real-time access to pharma sales personnel.
3) Provide Pharma Reps with Helpful Data to Help Them Close Sales
Pharma reps will always increase their odds of closing sales by approaching communications with a solid knowledge of the customer's account. "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 are more timely and relevant, detail time increases. When detail time increases, sales increase." - Ammras Inc via LinkedIn
Real-time access to contextual data, including the following information, will help pharma reps create a customized sales strategy to help close sales:
- The customer's purchasing history
- E-mail exchanges between pharma reps and customers
- Social media posts and company news
4) Fleet Management
Automation can also be used to help manage key business assets such as fleets. For instance, automation can help track fleet changes and comply with fleet vendor guidelines. You can even encourage proper vehicle maintenance and care by locking drivers out of vehicles if they fail to properly maintain fleet vehicles. In addition to encouraging pharma reps to properly maintain vehicles, this type of automation ultimately results in reduced costs and a healthier bottom line.
5) Integration of Data
A key challenge facing pharma sales reps is managing tons of data from multiple external and internal system's at once to help make an informed decision when approaching a customer. Consolidating and making sense of data from structured and unstructured sources requires time and expertise that your sales team most likely does not have. However, with the help of an automated data integration platform, pharma managers and reps have a uniform solution at their fingertips. The result is less time spent trying to synthesize data and more time spent in the field making sales.
What is the most important step to achieving successful pharma sales automation?
The first and most important step on the path to successful automation is to seek the guidance of an accomplished technology solution provider for the pharmaceutical industry. With the support of an industry expert, you can develop a tailored strategic plan for automating your pharma sales operations. As you evaluate potential providers, try to narrow your search to companies that exhibit the following:
- Decades of experience introducing automation to high-profile clients such as Salix and Bausch and Lomb.
- Alliances with industry leaders such as Microsoft.
- A proven track record of successful automation in the pharma industry.
- Superb dedication to customer support.
- Participation in industry trade shows and conferences.
P360 exemplifies all these qualities and many more. Connect with us to find out how pharma sales operation automation can enhance your company's pharma sales operations.
References:1. https://www.clickfunnels.com/ 2. https://www.medreps.com/medical-sales-careers/best-places-to-work