Category: Pharmaceutical Sales

The 2020 Changes are Here, Are You Ready?

As I frequently speak to groups in the pharmaceutical industry about the sales and marketing outlook for 2020 and beyond, a question I frequently ask attendees is if they have the determination to meet the challenges and the vision to see themselves as being successful. On top of those two factors, I ask are they willing to have the daily grit to reach their goals?

2020 Will Not Be Easy

The pharmaceutical industry is changing. Despite the fact that the economy is strong, some of the projected 2020 changes that pharmaceutical sales and marketing people will face must be fully understood but more than that, included in every organizational plan.

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwC Global) recently released their outlook for the future of the industry. I would like to paraphrase or quote a number of important points, then view them in light of determination, vision and grit.

  • The experts warn that sales forces will be smaller, “agile,” and smarter. With that, “Companies will need to demonstrate that their brand adds value to patients and they will have to offer a package of products and health services that the market not only wants and needs but is willing to pay a premium for.”
  • “Healthcare policy makers and payers are increasingly mandating what doctors can prescribe.”
  • We can expect that government agencies around the world will expand their focus on disease prevention, with less focus on treatment.
  • We must acknowledge the “interdependence of the payer, provider and pharmaceutical value chains,” and to that end adopt more flexible pricing models, invest in medicines the market truly needs, and offer greater support services.
  • “Create cultures that are suitable for marketing specialist healthcare packages.”

These trends will “encourage” marketing and sales reps to become more knowledge-based, more professional and much more proactive in pushing for true innovation and value.

Business as Usual? Hardly.

European-based BlueNovius B.V., a healthcare education service, recently reviewed the many reasons why PCPs are now refusing to see pharmaceutical sales and marketing people. We have to understand that on an annual average, the average PCP is inundated with about 2,800 inquiries for presentations. It has been estimated that about 80 percent of the time PCPs can find what they need by going on-line. They feel no need to return to the traditional way of doing things.

Relating to the points that PwC addressed above, it is obvious that even with brands that truly add value, if the sales or marketing representative is not determined to make a difference, the most innovative products can fail.

States BlueNovius B.V., “The most effective way of ensuring your sales reps go through physicians’ doors is by offering physicians exactly what they need, instead of bombarding them with canned presentations offering the same data that they’re already aware about.”

Unless marketers and sales representatives offer real knowledge, greater support services and bring a culture of partnership rather than hype, the outcomes for the most promising of products could be lackluster.

Within that framework, who are you? Is your vision one of failure or success, and do you have the grit to ensure that you will make a difference?

 

To contact Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Motivational & Marketing Speaker, contact his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Sweeping Changes Come to Healthcare in 2020: Is Your Practice Ready?

In my role as a healthcare change management speaker, I often speak about how the year 2020 foreshadows an acceleration of change to many group practices. I am particularly interested in the ACOs, or accountable care organizations.

In the strictest definition, “ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients.”

We all know it is much more than that. It reflects a commitment to greater synchronized care and avoidance of duplication of efforts. Ultimately the ACO reflects a determination to prevent medical errors.

In his look-ahead for the healthcare industry (“Top 10 Health Care Industry Predictions For The Year 2020”), Sachin Jain, Forbes magazine, May 2019, states: “The balance of power will begin to shift from hospital systems back to physician groups. All around the country, physician groups who face acquisition by hospital systems are looking for an alternative…within specific specialties, such as oncology and cardiology, private equity companies are beginning to roll up provider groups to drive performance, negotiate more favorable contracts, and leverage purchasing power.”

Naturally, the formation of ACOs, while ultimately enabling patients to receive high-quality care, are not without their challenges. Change brings new processes to the office along with new technologies. The use of contractors to create ACOs within practices is hardly done for free. The venture-backed companies demand a return on their investment in your practice as well.

The Broader Picture

The year ahead is obviously not about ACOs alone. We can all expect to see several other trends intensify this year. One important change is a continuing shift back to home-based care as an alternative to expensive hospital stays.

For example, Lauren Hardin, MSN, RN, writing for JAMA (August 13, 2019), talks of an expanded use of RNs, paramedics and EMTs to evaluate patients on an in-home demand-basis. Hardin illustrated this by offering an example in Louisiana:

“In Louisiana, for example, a new service…allows patients and their families to quickly request health care in their homes through the use of an app—much like an Uber app—that connects them to an on-demand network of nurses, EMTs, and paramedics. They also follow patients with complex health and social needs in their homes to prevent emergencies and hospitalizations.”

This shift, in turn, will force changes in the way responders are being reimbursed but overall the advantage is greater patient comfort and decreased anxiety. Overall, it lowers the burden on the medical system.

Experts also predict that in 2020, there will be an ever-greater interest on the part of the public to examine the behaviors of the healthcare industry. Certainly, the exposing of the practices in some of the more nefarious pricing behaviors of the pharmaceutical industry, plus the debates over the Affordable Care Act, clearly signaled a new era in healthcare consumerism.  There is a shift, though perhaps decades late, that is similar to the consumer shift from buyer beware to seller beware. Anyone who has ever used Amazon.com or Yelp.com will understand the new power of the consumer.

In 2020, it will take the determination of the healthcare industry to address the shifts in front of them and the vision to respond to the challenges. No organization, hospital or practice will be able to avoid the new trends. Those who have the daily grit to address the needed changes will be the major winners.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Motivational and Change Management Speaker for your next meeting, connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

What Will It Take for You to Reach Your 2020 Goals?

 

The Mindset of Success

As a motivational speaker on setting sales goals and sales achievements, I am a believer in developing a goal-setting mindset before anything else, and having the determination to see it through. I am not alone in this way of thinking.

Business writer Jason Alten recently discussed what he considered to be the seven most important goals for any sales person to reach their full potential. The first goal was simply this: “Start with the end in mind.” To quote in part from his comments:

“Ask yourself what the end result you’re looking to realize is so that you can make decisions and set goals that will help you get there. Too often businesses set goals that aren’t connected to the overall vision of where they want their business to be in a year, or even the next quarter.”

If you lack the mindset, the overall vision to define where you want the business to go in the months ahead, as well as the determination to reach your long-term goals, the results could be poor at best.

Kristen Baker in her sales article entitled, “The Ultimate Guide to Setting and Hitting Sales Goals” asks:

“What’s one thing virtually every business does — no matter their industry, target customer, or product or service? They set goalsGoals ensure employees are driven, on-task, and producing work that impacts the business’s bottom line. They also ensure your business is constantly striving to grow, improve, and most importantly:  boost revenue.”

Who Will Take Charge?

While both Jason Alten and Kristen Baker are correct in that without having the mindset and the determination (or drive) to set goals there will be lackluster results, I would add an additional dimension.

When I began in sales. I had only recently been discharged from rehab after an automobile accident that left me a quadriplegic. In the hospital, going through months of rehabilitation, I realized it wasn’t just a matter of mindset and vision, or even determination that would see me through, but the daily grit to make that happen.

My physicians and physical therapists could only do so much for me. It was up to me to develop the grit through good days and bad to reach my goals.

I was successful in the financial services and insurance sales industry; in fact, in just five years I made it into the industry’s Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). I applied the same lessons I learned in my rehabilitation to setting my sales goals in as a financial adviser.

I had to develop the vision to see myself getting better each day, the mindset to do what needed to be done to realize the vision, and the determination to endure the many sessions and the pain associated with the rehab. But what moved and sustained me was the grit to grind it out and tell myself that some days would be good and some days would be rough. There was no choice but to keep going.

Grit must come from within. Grit will help every sales person reach their goals. The best of the best will have rough days, and grit will encourage you to stand up to it. Grit makes each sales person better than they ever thought possible. No one can give you grit, you must make it happen.

 

Meeting Planners: to book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Speaker on Setting Sales Goals and Achievements for your next meeting, contact him today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

Do You Have the Grit to Win?

 

As an inspirational speaker on having determination in pharmaceutical sales, pharmaceutical sales reps usually find it funny when I use the word “grit” in conjunction with an industry known for its ultra clean manufacturing and production.

However, having the sheer tenacity and the daily determination to go out and sell in good times and bad is having the grit to win. Do you have it?

In their September-October issue, the prestigious Harvard Business Review in an article entitled Organizational Grit, had this to say about healthcare:

“In health care, patients have long depended on the grit of individual doctors and nurses. But in modern medicine, providing superior care has become so complex that no lone practitioner, no matter how driven, can do it all. Today great care requires great collaboration—gritty teams of clinicians who all relentlessly push for improvement. Yet it takes more than that:  Health care institutions must exhibit grit across the entire provider system.”

As a pharmaceutical sales rep, the provider system is relying on you to bring them new innovation and information. Your grit must match the grit of the health care practitioners who are looking for better solutions. They value your collaboration providing you are willing to go the extra mile.

Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth has spent her fine career analyzing grit. She recently stated:

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

As a pharmaceutical sales rep in the digital and connected age, it isn’t enough to present the same studies over and over again. You must push yourself and become an invaluable asset.

The topic of grit has also fascinated The South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP). The organization feels strongly that predicting success in a group of students, pharmaceutical sales reps, healthcare professionals or virtually any occupation it isn’t a matter of who has the highest IQ but ultimately, who has the most grit to rise above the crowd.

Can Grit Be Cultivated?

According to SACAP, even if a pharmaceutical sales rep (or any other professional) has never thought of themselves as having grit, it can be cultivated by having the determination to focus on five important drivers:  courage, conscientiousness, perseverance, resilience and passion.

Courage has nothing to do with how heroic you are. It relates to how thoroughly you know your product; how much work you’ve done above and beyond everyone else so that the HCP relies on you. Consciousness is a statement of how seriously you take your mission; how aware you are of the importance of what your product represents. Perseverance is more than making appointments; it is telling those you call on that you are in this for the long-haul and that you will be there for them. Resilience represents that you will “go out into the world” not only when times are great, but when numerous obstacles and challenges are in your way. Finally, Passion. Do you love what you do? Do you believe in what you do?

Grit is the ground it out, daily affirmation that what you do and what you sell matters. If you are determined, if you have that desire, you will become that special pharmaceutical sales rep among many.

 

To contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker on Grit and Determination reach him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

So, Doctor, when is the Best Time?

In delivering motivational talks on helping pharmaceutical sales reps get better results, I know all too well the dreaded refrain that many sales reps hear: “I think the drug has strong possibilities, I just don’t think that now is the right time.”

Procrastination

Of all of the sales objections, procrastination is one of the most difficult to overcome. It is a conversation stopper and delayer. In fact, it can delay a sale indefinitely to “maybe” next month, next quarter, next year.  It is a way to express an objection without seeming to hurt your feelings. The intention is to have you leave the office thinking they are nice people. In truth, they’ve delayed your sale and weakened sales results. But why?

Sales performance writer Bryan Gonzalez, in his January 2019 article for HubSpot entitled “The 7 Most Common Sales Objections by Prospects & How to Overcome Them,” lists procrastination as one of the most cumbersome objections.

“Prospects are busy. They will push anything off to tomorrow because today is swamped. Don’t let them! You have a solution they needed yesterday. Reassure them that this is not a buying conversation. You just want to show them what you do, and see if there’s value for them.”

If you have made it into the office, be determined to provide valuable education without being overbearing. You are there to educate as to what the drug can do and how it will help their patients.

Laura Tobias wrote an article for the Lincoln Health Network entitled “Bringing Pharma Reps Back to the Top.”

One of the observations Tobias made was:

“Some medical schools have entire classes devoted to teaching students how to encounter sales reps – doctors are essentially taught how to say ‘no.’ They are also trained to tell patients not to take highly advertised drugs and to instead opt for something that is more effective, even if it’s less known…” If a sales rep calls on a practice with the same information, the same approach and a lack of interest as to the HCP’s needs, it should not be a surprise if procrastination and a lack of interest are the result.

Last year, Michael Kirsch MD wrote an article for KevinMD entitled “How Should Salespeople Sell to Doctors?” in which he gave an example as to why physicians are often put off by sales reps.

He wrote that his practice was called on by two pushy salespeople who focused on the dollars the practice could make rather than the patients that could be helped.

“Not once did either of them mention, even by accident (that they) might help a human being,” said Kirsch. “These guys were so clumsy and so transparent that they weren’t even adept enough to feign an interest in contributing to the health of liver patients.” The sales reps missed the point entirely.

Unless sales reps are determined to give health care providers a reason to not push them away, many HCPs will revert to their training and conditioning that tells them, in essence, “This sales rep lacks the vision to see my mission of helping patients and to be the best I can be in my practice.”

The HCP may be telling you they want to put off the decision, but what they may really mean is that you are lacking the grit to form a meaningful relationship and to provide them with the knowledge they need.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker on Getting Stronger Results for your next meeting reach us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

The Difference Between Noise and Knowledge is You

It is no secret that I admire the sales representatives who work in the pharmaceutical industry. As a motivational sales speaker for pharmaceutical conferences, it is my mission to assist all of you in helping to overcome the adversity you encounter every day.

A Hard Life, A Rewarding Life

The Princeton Review describes the life of a pharmaceutical sales rep in these terms:

“This territory-oriented business can be a hard life, particularly for those trying to maintain their family life as well. The need to sell extends to social functions and free time…This difficult balancing act is complicated by the additional pressure of being in a commission-based occupation.”

The description, as we all know, is just the beginning of the obstacles. Chances are, you will be on the road 100 or more days a year, you make at least 2,800 visits a year, and you are constantly “facing managed care rejections.” Then there is the public and professional perception of pharmaceutical companies that often extend to those of you just trying to do their jobs.

The data backs me up – no, it’s not your imagination. There was once a time when most health care providers were “rep accessible.” In 2008, a responsive provider might have been available 80 percent of the time – or more. By 2015, it had slipped to about 50 percent and two years later to just under 45 percent.

In my work as an inspirational sales speaker for pharmaceutical conferences, I know the importance of what you do. I have met you, understand you and value you. You bridge the huge gap between research and knowledge, better health and wellness, and often, between unawareness and awareness. You bring worth and you are appreciated. The appreciation must start with one important person, you.

You are the Difference Maker

The pharmaceutical sales rep working a territory, often with only a car radio and GPS as friends, are the true changemakers in a time of adversity for the pharmaceutical industry. Are you willing to overcome that adversity and add the value that you know you can bring?

How do you make a difference in the lives of people who need the product you represent? How can you carry the desire to make that difference into every healthcare setting and to every HCP you meet?

Do you have the vision to believe that what you do brings incredible value to the healthcare equation? You bring value, knowledge, experience and you make a true difference.

Do you have the mindset to overcome the adversity you encounter on a daily basis? It isn’t always easy, but with a mindset of understanding that what you do can ultimately bring a benefit to someone’s life, how can you not develop the mindset?

Finally, how determined are you to make the difference? If not you, then who? Determination, the grit within you to overcome the adversities you may encounter, is a skill you can learn.

I believe every pharmaceutical sales rep can make a true difference. Let me help prove it to you at your next conference.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Motivational Sales Speaker for Pharmaceutical Conferences through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Having the GRIT to Fight for Market Share in the Medical Device Market

 

After an automobile accident left me a quadriplegic, I was determined to overcome adversity and succeed despite the odds. After an intense period of overcoming my physical challenges, I put this same mindset and grit into action as I entered the Insurance and Financial Industry. Within five years, I was awarded membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) as a top producer for commission-driven sales. From there I realized I could accomplish anything I had the vision to undertake. Today, I am honored to bring my message of vision, determination and grit around the globe as a motivational keynote sales speaker for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.

Companies are like people

In its MedTech Dive report (December 14, 2018), Moody’s projected a positive 2019 outlook for the medical device industry. Moody’s estimates a growth of between 4.5% and 5.5% with sales in emerging markets expected to grow into the double digits.

In 2016, the medical device industry was valued at about $148 billion and has exploded to $173 billion this year. Of the 6,500 companies in the industry, about 80% have 50 or fewer employees. Does this growth mean that medical device companies can afford to be complacent? Hardly. Unless companies innovate quickly, they could get pushed aside.

Before I was involved in my accident, I was a martial artist and Division-1 football player. I took my health for granted. In an industry showing healthy growth, it is also easy to take continuing success as an unquestioned fact.

Despite the optimism, medical device industry experts point to several warning signs on the horizon. The experts warn that companies must anticipate new FDA regulations which demand greater accountability, higher performance standards, more complex rules for reimbursements, and an ever-increasing competitive outlook. In one way or another, every one of those 6,500 companies are out to take a piece of market share. It will take increasing determination for companies to separate themselves from their competition.

Does your company have the GRIT?

In February 2019, the Strategic Information Group, a medical consulting firm, reported on the medical device industry. The firm pointed out that the market dynamics of the industry are in constant change. Companies must strive to reduce costs and streamline operations.  There are device companies around the world constantly looking to capitalize on markets and leverage partnerships to their advantage.

Medical device companies must have the grit to innovate and to understand what makes them unique. They must overcome change and the adversity of competition, regulations and an ever-complex reimbursement structure.

However, companies aren’t just like people, they are people. Everyone on the team must rise up from complacency and never assume that the rules for success don’t apply to them.  Companies are exceptional because each employee on the team makes them exceptional.

Whether the medical device company has less than 50 employees or more than 5,000, the challenge is to possess a David versus Goliath mentality, to never give up, and to overcome the hidden challenges.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Medical Device Industry Motivational Speaker through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Tough Times for Pharma Sales Reps. What is Your Mindset?

As a pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker, I know these are not easy times to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. The once glamorous profession is facing greater stresses and more adversity than ever before.

The statistics bear me out. According to ZS Associates, the U.S.-based management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, the industry will have around 60,000 reps this year, down from a sales force of about 100,000 reps in 2005.  In addition to the decline in reps, there is a more troubling trend. In 2012 about 65% of physicians were “accessible” to meet with a sales rep but by 2016 the percentage had dropped to barely 44%.

What is going on?

Some industry old-timers might point to the Sun Shine Act of 2007, which started the process of greater transparency, less gift-giving and “bonuses” but that is hardly responsible for present day problems. Market research into attitudes of physicians toward pharmaceutical sales reps confirms what many of you are feeling:  the relationship has soured.

In 2017, the healthcare market research firm DRG Digital – Manhattan Research published physician polling data that should be a wake-up call to the industry.

Overcoming the Perception of Being Stale

The research found that more than half of the physicians felt reps showed them information they had seen before. To the practices, most visits were time wasters. Some specialties placed the “staleness problem” even higher. Seven out of ten oncologists and six out of ten dermatologists had a good idea of what reps would present about their drug before the reps ever called on the physicians.

The research also revealed 75% of physicians routinely found what they needed about the drug online and more than half regularly used pharmaceutical digital databases. Unless there was something new to for a rep to offer, the feeling was why bother?

Despite the disappointment of being presented with old information, about 65% of the doctors polled met with their sales reps and six out of ten said they wanted to meet with their pharmaceutical sales reps in the future. They remained optimistic something new might be offered.

Though the use of computer tablets by the reps dramatically dropped between 2013 to 2017, it didn’t mean that tablet presentations were obsolete. Far more important was new information on what organizations offered patients in terms of education and support.

Overcoming the Communication Gap

Though many of the reps use dedicated health industry software communications platforms, only 12 percent of the physicians polled said they communicated with their reps in that fashion. At the same time, three times as many physicians said they had thought about communicating that way. There is a communication gap.

DRG Digital – Manhattan Research concluded in part that “Sales and marketing teams need to provide a deeper level of support to physicians beyond product promotion and maximizing their investment.”

It comes down to support, education and a commitment to customer service, not just leaving samples and hoping for a prescription quota. In addition, the landscape has shifted to being more adversarial and less welcoming than ever before. Medical and pharmacy students are being taught “resistance techniques” to cope with pressure from sales reps and patients from their earliest days of classwork.

The pharmaceutical sales landscape may be tense with difficulty, but it can be overcome. Physicians want information they can’t get from anyone but you, along with extra-effort support and communication. Will you have the mindset to deliver on their needs and to overcome the adversity of negative perceptions?

 

For more information on how Pharmaceutical sales representatives can develop techniques to rise above the crowd, contact Scott Burrows, pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169