4 Ways Pharmaceutical Companies in Greece Can Outperform their Competitors.

In many ways pharmaceutical companies in Greece witness revenue losses that result to tighter controls on their operating expenses. This leads to significant cost-cutting which among other things practically means smaller sales teams. However many pharmaceutical companies reduce their field force only to see their sales plummet. As the vicious cycle goes on, the top management of many firms feels powerless to change this course of events. For sure these executives are incapable to change the macro-environment, but what about the function and structure of their own sales departments? In a dwindling market the only way to increase sales is to steal market share from competitors. Here are four ways pharmaceuticals can change from within and outperform competition.

  1. Transform your sales force: Even now many med-reps approach doctors in a traditional way. They try to convince them about their product’s characteristics with the use of both clinical data and incentives offered by their companies. However this approach has two serious drawbacks. The first is that several medicines and pharmaceutical products are in many cases similar and therefore not differentiated (e.g. generic drugs). So for example a sales force may actually communicate a particular generic drug and convince doctors about the effectiveness of its active ingredient but eventually see competition reap most of the benefits. The second drawback is that most incentives offered to health care professionals have a limited life-time value (LTV). Actually the LTV of these incentives spans until the moment a competitor offers a better one. For that reason med-reps need to approach doctors in a third way and become their trusted advisors, something that will result in more solid relations. With the use of more than twenty such methods that add value to the doctor’s profession, we observe an improvement not only in the way that HCPs welcome a med-rep but also in the way they perceive him. There are even cases where doctors identify a med-rep as the real “incentive” provided to them by the company.
  1. Go to pharmacies: Even today many pharmaceutical companies don’t approach pharmacists in a consistent way. In the past years the role of pharmacists has grown significantly in importance. According to the University of Patras their relative power has grown by 10% compared to that of pharmaceutical companies. Many pharmacists influence directly their clients’ buying decisions even in the case of Rx medicines. Therefore companies that don’t approach pharmacists leave their full potential untapped. It is therefore essential for pharmaceuticals to approach both those pharmacists with the highest market dynamic and those who have the ability to influence the buying decisions of their clients. Roughly 12% of the pharmacists in Athens and Thessaloniki have this ability.
  1. Offer useful promo material: Healthcare professionals make regular use of promo materials offered by companies. Most of them are pens, notepads, post-it notes and other stuff that promote a product or a company. However doctors and pharmacists are now accustomed to this kind of material and therefore they are not impressed. To make a difference companies need to offer promotional material that adds value to HCPs and helps them improve and enhance the breadth of the services they provide to their patients. Even though the range of this value-added material is limited, it can have a big impact.
  1. Outsource part of your sales process: Many pharmaceutical companies choose to promote their core products with their own sales force. However there are numerous other products with high market potential that are left behind. As a result companies miss a chance to prop up their income and generate additional cash inflows. By outsourcing the sales of such products companies can run “pilots” to test the potential of their products at significantly lower cost compared to the cost of an internal sales team. Moreover with the use of a Contract Sales Organization pharmaceutical companies can easily scale their sales operations or complement them with another sales team (e.g. addressing to specialties not covered by the existing sales force) and at the same time become more flexible.

These solutions are four steps a pharmaceutical company in Greece can take to achieve better results and improve its relations with healthcare professionals. Undoubtedly, as in every new initiative, companies need to perform these actions properly and with the highest standards. Executed correctly these methods can have an impact to every company’s results.

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Evangelos Mantzafos is a sales solutions expert, specializing in pharmaceutical sales. He is currently the Business Development Manager of MaBiCo (Contract Sales Organization) and works with some major pharmaceutical companies.