The pharma industry is one of the key contributors to the American economy and has a profound impact on the lives of all of us. Worth $934.8 billion in 2017, this sector is expected to touch $1170 billion in 2021, by some estimates, and pharma sales training should further drive this growth. Pharma has also always been a dynamic sector with some special characteristics.
- There’s an increased focus on new drug development.
- Regulatory and compliance norms are constantly in focus and prone to evolution.
- Competition is always high.
This means that the pressure on those working in the sales teams is always high. The companies themselves are also under pressure to support, motivate, and enable their sales pros.
Let’s stipulate that the job of the pharma sales representative is not an easy one. They must possess in-depth product knowledge. That knowledge must be complemented with the skills needed to convince physicians and other such stakeholders about the efficacy of their drugs. In some ways, these salespeople have to be almost as knowledgeable as the medical practitioners themselves! The only way to achieve that high mark is through comprehensive training.
Sales training, across industries, is big business. The Association for Talent Development, US estimates that companies spend approximately $20 billion on sales training. Obviously, the pharma industry too allocates large budgets to train their sales representatives. But classroom training is no longer feasible nor is it efficient because learning in this sector has to be continuous. Also, given the limited content resources that sales managers have, the stringent timelines they work with and the fact that these reps have to be out in the field for substantial durations. How can sales managers make sure that their sales representatives are trained enough to become sales superstars?
Make training easier
Pharma sales teams are extremely mobile. Attending long classroom training sessions are thus, just plain, hard to do. Getting the entire field force in one place will be a logistical nightmare. This is also a huge drain on the productivity of the sales team as classroom training can be time-consuming. The pressure imposed by their stiff targets makes these sales pros reluctant to attend these training programs. Sales managers thus have to make sure that the medical representative training does not interfere with their daily activities while ensuring that the training provided is comprehensive as well. For this, they need to enable eLearning so that the sales training programs are easy to implement anywhere, anytime.
Training must be continuous
With ever-changing products and regulations, pharma sales teams have to be constantly updated with the latest developments. To enable this, knowledge transfer has to be continuous. Continuous classroom training thus is ruled out as an option. Owing to technological developments, sales managers can leverage eLearning and mLearning as viable training channels. The field representatives do not have to compromise on their time at work and still can access training material while on the go.
Provide access to learning material
While pharma companies provide comprehensive training programs, the training will only be as effective as the knowledge the sales representatives can retain. Since these teams are time-constrained, eLearning can help reduce their cognitive load and can drive better learning outcomes. Additionally, sales teams can benefit immensely from access to learning repositories that they can leverage when in doubt. Pharma sales representatives can also access the latest trends and industry information, compliance and regulatory procedures, and processes that are tuned to global norms. With eLearning, they can do this from anywhere. This instant access to knowledge resources helps immensely to resolve doubts and client queries immediately from the site itself. This can lead to better sales outcomes.
Easier to complete courses
To improve the knowledge outcomes for their medical sales representatives, sales managers need to ensure that the courses are easy to execute and complete. With online training, sales representatives can complete the courses at their own pace on their own device. Knowledge retention is better since information is disseminated in small, bite-sized, easily consumable chunks. Elements such as gamification, video, storytelling etc. reduce the cognitive load of the learner and make the course more interesting. Learners can also take the course multiple times and even complete courses they left midway easily.
Medical representative or pharma sales training has to become easier, more customized, and personally-relevant to motivate salespeople to complete courses and then implement their acquired learning. Sales managers must make sure to provide integrated and ongoing reinforcement programs and on-demand support, job-aids, sales tips etc. to ensure better outcomes. Pharmaceutical sales training could well be the secret weapon that can empower the sales team and help them achieve new heights. Sales managers must pay close attention to the learning needs of their teams. They must arm their sales teams with the right set of resources to enable them better. Having a team of sales superheroes will be the inevitable outcome.
At eNyota, our focus is on improving the training and performance of teams like sales. Sales teams often do not have the time to train or stay back for classroom training, at the same time they are the ones who need the most training, especially in an industry like pharma. If you are interested in knowing our progress so far, reach out to us at Contactus@enyotalearning.com or click here and we’d be happy to share our progress on the development of eLearning courses for pharma sales training.