This means that while managed care specialists are negotiating contracting and formulary status, line representatives are generating the interest and enthusiasm from the healthcare providers to demand and use a given product. Neither can be successful without the other; a product cannot be utilized if it is not on formulary, and yet a product will not be put on formulary if its advantages and benefits have not been demonstrated.
Companies as well as representatives must now also provide value-added services in addition to the product itself. This may include patient compliance and education programs, give-backs, and therapy evaluations. In the future, it will be a rare organization that focuses solely on the sales and marketing of drugs.
Of particular note here is the employment by many companies of disease management marketing efforts and programs. This concept views disease treatment as an entire package rather than just a need for pharmaceuticals. Consequently, not only does the patient benefit greatly by accessing therapies and information services previously unavailable, but so does the managed care organization by being able to share the burden of patient care.
Many organizations are also turning to some form of pharmacy benefit manager. While these operations will concentrate mostly on acquisition costs, they similarly need to be approached with contracting and value-added services. These companies will likewise need to be informed of product benefits and indications, and should be called on like any other customer.
Regularly review different plans and organizations, policies that have changed, formulary additions and deletions, and staffing changes. Analyze market data and determine which plans are making the biggest impact and move the most market share. As with any customer, use this information to strategize with counterparts as to where most resources will be applied. Concentrate on those organizations and plans that provide the best return and partnership.
Furthermore, tailor presentations according to the plan in which the customer is enrolled. Deter-mine if minimizing time per patient, repeat visits, or cost effectiveness is the most important goal and then stress the product or support program benefit addressing this need. If available, carefully review any provider compensation plans to gather the in-formation required to make a more focused presentation.
The careful analysis of each of the managed care organizations to which a physician may be a member is critical. This analysis should concentrate on the method of reimbursement provided by the plan. Presentations, programs, and benefits can then be customized to ensure maximum gain to the office. Consequently, in areas where managed care has a much stronger presence, representatives will have to ensure that selling strategies address the particular nuances of this high-pressure market.
It is readily obvious that many actions driving successful sales in the managed care arena occur at higher levels than the territory, but it is critical to ensure that all efforts are orchestrated and in sync with every player. Avoid the pitfall of thinking that "someone else will take care of it," or that "it isn't my job." The environment you must operate in is far too unforgiving to allow that type of attitude.
The key, however, is to also remain focused on those things that can be accomplished by the individual representative: such as providing new products or prescribing information, or samples if the organization permits them; as well as invitations to seminars, programs, and conferences; and probably most important, a much needed break during a busy day. As is true in many other businesses, success in sales is generated from a powerful ground swell- the efforts of contracting and formulary drives will mean nothing if there is no call for the product. Act locally but plan globally, and the rewards in this arena will also be great.
I he critical importance of nurturing and maintaining a positive, energetic attitude were discussed earlier. The demands, requirements, and quite simply the success of this profession hinge on the representative being "on" at each and every sales call. We unfortunately cannot afford the luxury of having a bad day when presenting to a customer. If you are not excited about your products, it is a sure bet your customers will not be either.
As such, the necessity to recharge one's batteries cannot be overstated. Despite the fact that each of us considers ourselves indestructible, it is simply not so. Like any other complex, finely tuned machine, we need maintenance and respite. This underscores the need to utilize vacation time and time off in order to rejuvenate. Just as the body is often called upon to fight or flight, it must also be given the opportunity to rest and repose.
Quite often, Type A personalities view this as a weakness or unproductive down time, but nothing could be further from the truth. Rest is as much of an investment in what we do as continuing education or purchasing a new PC. When one considers that we ourselves are the best sales tool, it becomes patently obvious how important our health and mental attitudes are to success.
An excellent example is getting involved in a sport hobby or some other non-work related diversion that on a regular basis provides the break discussed above. Certainly physical involvement is preferable, but any form of activity that for a short time takes you away from work will accomplish the goal. Having your family participate is all the better, providing not only impetus for taking time off but also valuable time together.
Likewise, take a coffee or lunch break during the day. These short pauses do on a daily basis what vacations and recreation do on a longer term, not only giving you that critical recharge but also affording you some time to reflect on a particular success, challenge, or course of action encountered during the workday. They offer another small in-vestment that yields great rewards.
The key is that it is our responsibility to ensure our own well-being. Always take care of what is yours!