The Pharma Rep Enablement Learning Journey with James Harper – Part 1

Kristina Belyea
September 12, 2022

Over the last decade, there has been much discussion about the future of the pharma sales rep. Many people expected the switch to virtual information exchange forced by the pandemic to be the final nail in the coffin for sales reps; yet, companies have adopted hybrid models, virtual tools for customer engagement, and online sales training platforms – all of which indicate a continued need for sales reps in the Life Sciences industry. But the question remains: what is the future of the pharma sales rep? In the latest episode of The Learning Journey, pharma veteran James Harper, the founder and MD of twentyeightb, answers this question by discussing the importance of the sales rep and how they can pivot in their role to become more valuable to both companies and customers. We also examine data and technology to enable better discussions with HCPs.

“If you’ve been out and carried the bag, it’s about adding value. Yes, we do sell. We always must sell. It’s the point. But it’s about adding value, and it’s a difficult job.”

Here is a teaser of what you’ll find in the podcast:

  • Reposition The Role: The role of the pharmaceutical sales representative is evolving. They are no longer simply there to pound the pavement while promoting the product. Now they are responsible for providing their customers with curated and compliant scientific, drug, and patient information. They also require training to develop the skills necessary to delve deeper into client interactions to better understand their behaviors and interests. When reps shift their roles away from the show-and-tell aspect of the drug and toward effectively communicating scientific knowledge and digging deeper to understand their customers, they will have all of the tools necessary to effect the behavioral changes required to increase appropriate prescribing.
  • Utilize Your Tools: Does technology truly enable your reps? Many companies are now attempting to change salespeople’s attitudes toward sales platforms as tools to use in the flow of work rather than just tools to log activity and “check the box.” For example, if reps deliver high-value content to their prospects via these tools, they can track engagement to guide them on the next best action to move that customer along. Having your rep teams fall in love with data will enable them to understand the value of using these platforms to realize more success.

“It’s so critical to be competent and confident in the technology we’re using.”

  • Speed to Information: We all know that content is king, but it needs to be the right content at the right time—which can prove tricky. Are you providing your teams with too much content, and can they access the right content quickly when needed? You must enable reps to access relevant information based on the unique customer profile within the flow of work. Your teams distribute high-quality, engaging content over many channels to bring customers up the adoption ladder. However, if your reps can’t find the material or aren’t sure what was provided, they won’t be able to deliver it confidently, and their engagement with customers will fall flat. With the variety of content available today, one of the most crucial tools a rep requires is technology to give them the ability to easily identify the right content assets so they can give them at the right time.

“Provide thoughtful navigation that allows the rep to quickly find the five or six slides that address those needs. And then you close and ask for the business.”

Empower your teams—listen to The Pharma Rep Enablement Learning Journey for a detailed explanation of these key takeaways and how to empower and enable your teams.