Hey, Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives, Who are Your Customers?

This may be the million-dollar question sales VPs, biopharma CEO’s, commercial officers and even analysts ask today. A field force is expensive and must generate a return on the dollars invested in them, return that comes from the customers we connect with choosing our therapies. Having served on the customer-facing front lines of this industry the past 18 years, I know the answer — our customers are many, many different people and positions.

A point not lost on this writer; while we might derive comfort from clearly defining the customer we must connect with to influence our business, doing so in any way still presents a noteworthy chasm between manufacturer and patient, the ultimate customer to our entire industry. Nonetheless we necessarily prioritize our focus on those influencing and deciding therapeutic options and priorities.

In a health system where doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists are employees reporting to others, the definition of “customer” broadens substantially. Now the clinic manager, pharmacy manager, director of operations, clinic administrator, section chief, department chair, or medical director may be more of a customer to us than the rank-and-file physician. In the “private practice” days of yore, the doctor was the ultimate decision-maker. Today, the doctor is rarely that authority. Administrative and leadership positions have direct and specific interests clinically, financially and operationally. As a consequence, they are perhaps the most important customers with whom we should connect.

Is it really helpful to necessitate pharmaceutical representatives meet with 7, 8 or 10 doctors per day? And can we provide her genuine value not readily available anywhere else? Or are we, and our customers, better served by connecting with the leaders in the health systems employing so many health care providers today? Learn much more on who to connect with and how to provide them genuine value in The Doctor Won’t See You Now, available on Amazon.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Thank you for reading.  Scott

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