The pharmaceutical sector faces particular challenges when it comes to sales force optimization and sales force sizing is one of the most complex of these challenges. Companies face fierce competition, rapid market changes, and multiple product lines, as well as internal pressures to meet budgets and growth targets.
Sizing based on budgets or previous performance doesn’t cut it for large pharma sales organisations. Here are the most common hurdles sales managers face:
- Having too many or too few sales people
- Allocating the right level of resources to different segments
- Maximizing return from product detailing
- Adapting to different stages of the product lifecycle
- Remaining flexible in the face of changing market opportunities
To clear these hurdles, select a sales force sizing solution capable of the following:
- Providing data-driven insights and industry expert recommendations
- Tailoring data to local markets’ customer, demographic, and demand sources
- Leveraging a scenario-driven approach that estimates risk and isolates the impact of sales investment
- Balancing a standard general approach with methodologies tailored to unique situations
The best sales force sizing methodology ensures that companies have the right number of resources allocated to each territory, and that they are able to capitalize on changes in the market. Start by identifying value drivers, such as patient population, age cohorts, birth rate, disease incidence, immunization rates, etc. This exercise will also determine the right promotional response across customer segments by analyzing similar product launches. Next, incorporate points of patient care and channels of purchase, which will determine the resources required to service every channel.
To achieve the balance between general strategy and responses to unique situations, a mix of demand-based sizing and supply-based sizing is recommended. This innovative methodology takes into account more than just workload to build scenarios that help you be proactive, and not just reactive. You should also view sizing as more than a one-off process but rather a sustained effort to meet an uncertain market with a dynamic sales force.
What are your sales force sizing challenges and how are you handling them?