Be Bigger Than the Brand©
Innovara prides itself on continually updating our sales, marketing and other training curricula to prepare our clients for not only today, but for tomorrow. We don’t sell “off the shelf” packages, but each program is customized and specific to the learning need. Why?
Quite simple. Industry representatives are faced with many and new challenges every day. As health care is evolving rapidly, so must they. Along with these challenges, comes the need to create new ways to work with medical and other customers that build true value. You no longer promote brands, you promote improving health care, from prevention, to awareness and education, to diagnosis and management, through end stage disease. So what does it take to be a successful rep today? Simply – you have to think and be “bigger than the brand”.
Firstly, product, competitor and customer knowledge (incl. buying systems/access management, working within established and creating new networks, key account management skills) – these are GIVENS!
Medical, scientific and health care knowledge must continuously be updated. Don’t wait for your companies to do this. This is your responsibility for self-development. And we don’t just mean for your product. This has to be for the entire scope or spectrum of health related to the disease you are involved in. My #1 recommendation is to start by studying the epidemiology of the disease and find out what are unique or similar challenges in your area, then present these as challenges and opportunities for collaboration with your customers.
This also means you need to develop highly collaborative skills. Foster the ability to bring resources to your customers in ways that are meaningful to health outcomes in their patients that they otherwise would not have available to them. This also includes the ability to work with your customers to develop and manage programs to advance patient care and health outcomes.
To be valued by your customers, you also need to keep them up to date on the latest in any aspect of the disease – this goes along with the mandate to be “bigger than the brand.” In our most recent benchmarking studies, doctors rated Pharma reps as being SECOND TO LAST (after government) to being informative and helping to keep them up to date (internet being #1, and Google their main search engine…same as you!) Shame on industry and its representatives especially! Companies hide behind MSLs (medical and scientific liaisons) to be responsible for this. Wrong. They are the ones who can address questions about its drugs in research or “off label” uses, but that is NOT what I am talking about. I am talking about public domain information NOT related specifically to these off label discussions – far from it, in fact – that shows a far greater understanding of and commitment to improving health care in your customers’ patients and in your communities.
A great and easy way to add value to your medical customers is to keep yourself up-to-date DAILY with Medscape®. Take the quizzes. See if you can do as well and “earn” the equivalent of the CME credits as your own doctors. Broaden your own horizons and as soon as you see new information that could be of interest to your MDs, share it with them.
Read BioMedCentral health policy and systems publications. These are free, and open source (public domain). They will give you great insights as to what is (and is not) impacting healthcare in your disease areas, or ideas for ways to improve collaborations with customers for better outcomes. Ironically, few industry people and doctors even know about this major source of quality research that is the number one “go to” for public health and policy people around the world.
If you would like to learn more about these points and how to achieve your goals please take a look at Innovara’s sales, marketing, and medical affairs learning and development programs, especially the Physician Partnership Program as it is most closely related to this blog post.
And if you will be attending the Society for Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers annual conference June 4 – 7 in New Orleans, please do come to the Panel Discussion I will be leading on Scientific Soundness: Be Bigger Than the Brand.
Don’t hesitate to contact us, as well, if you have any special needs or questions.