Level up your pharma sales force’s pre-call planning

Level up pharma sales

Drug representatives expect a lot from their pre-call planning. Done effectively, it helps them convert HCPs to their products and boost market share. But most representatives are ill-equipped to make pre-call planning truly successful because they’re making educated guesses around which HCPs to target and how to sell to them. Plus, the information they’re working from is often scattered among disjointed sales management platforms.

They’re making decisions based on incomplete data.

If your sales force has access to formulary data, but transaction and claims data are missing from your pre-calling planning toolkit, they won’t be able to ace those sales calls.

Here, we’ll show you three breakthrough ways that having more intelligent upfront data — including formulary, transaction and claims — empowers representatives to multiply sales effectiveness in the field.

1. They can analyze their market access business by payer landscape

When representatives gain further insight into who their top target HCPs are at the payer level, they’re empowered to do more at the pre-call planning stage.

First, sales teams leverage formulary information to find out which plans cover the most lives according to ZIP code, MSA, state or another geographic-based factor. Then, using transaction and claims data, representatives find out who the top docs under certain plans are in that area.

Taking the analysis a step further, your team determines whether the HCP is writing prescriptions for their products at the right level. For example, if their brand is preferred on a plan, but the HCP isn’t writing the product as much as expected, the team highlights the benefits of their brand over the closest competition and why prescribing their brand is better for patients.

Consider a different scenario where the representative’s Product A and its biggest Competitor B are in market access parity. Let’s say the payer landscape shows that Competitor B has grabbed 80% of the market share, with Product A at just 20%. This raises a big red flag. If the overall market share for Product A is 40%, the sales representative concludes that this target HCP should be prescribing Product A at least 40% of the time.

How it plays out in the field:

  1. Focus time and energy on target HCPs where real sales opportunities exist.
  2. Deliver a clinical message first, and then highlight local payer plans where the representative’s product is in a preferred position.
  3. Point out the product’s optimal copay cost under that preferred plan.

How detailed and accurate is your sales force’s view of your brand’s payer landscape?

2. They can pinpoint their brand’s actual market access position across geographies

Sales teams use formulary data to see top healthcare plans by lives according to ZIP code, MSA, state or some other filtering factor, which is a valuable step. This knowledge opens the door to more precise HCP targeting during the pre-call planning process.

Formulary and transaction data take the representative one giant step forward to target more precisely. For example, once they have a general idea of the top doctors to target who likely have patients under a healthcare plan that prefers Product A, the representatives can query further.

  1. How often does the HCP actually prescribe Product A compared to Competitor B?
  2. Within their territory, what is the actual breakdown of the plan represented?
  3. And, according to claims and transaction data over the past few months, how well are sales and marketing efforts increasing market share at a regional or HCP level?

Once they narrow their list to doctors who are good targets, the representatives hone their message.

They also learn the local names of health plans the doctor’s patients are under, as opposed to a generic, general brand name. This mitigates confusion and makes the conversation more actionable.

And then they prepare for cost and coverage questions the HCP is likely to ask.

How it plays out in the field

  1. Focus time and energy on target HCPs where real sales opportunities exist.
  2. Deliver a clinical message first, and then highlight local payer plans where the representative’s product is in a preferred position.
  3. Point out the product’s optimal copay cost under that preferred plan.

How do your representatives access different views of the market access landscape to pinpoint qualified sales opportunities?

3. They can query multiple competitor products, beneficiary types and defined time periods

Every HCP has a unique set of circumstances. Giving representatives tools to get answers around a range of questions ahead of a sales call gives them the knowledge to lean into HCPs’ toughest cost and coverage questions. It’s all about putting as much specific information as possible at the representative’s fingertips.

Before getting face-to-face, representatives see what’s happening across multiple brands at the HCP level. Doing so allows them to uncover opportunities and gain an edge over the competition. Say the representative’s Product A is preferred by a top health care plan, but an HCP continues to prescribe Competitor B. The representative keeps that information on hand with a plan to open that conversation with the HCP.

In some cases, a sales team needs to be aware of whether their product is covered by either a medical or pharmacy benefit. The differences in reimbursement from payer to payer can get tricky. Ahead of a call, knowing where a product stands with an HCP’s patients’ local health plans results in smart preparation.

Representatives can also use more intelligent data to see an improvement in brand performance. If your sales force rolls out a new strategy to improve pull-through, more intelligent data allows you to look back over defined time periods — weekly, quarterly, annually — to evaluate if the new plan is working. If Product A’s market share with HCPs has jumped from 25% to 50% over a matter of weeks, what exactly moved the needle — and how can you repeat it?

How it plays out in the field

  1. When a product has a preferred market access position and a doctor says they think it’s better or on par with a competitor, highlight that you’re preferred. There is no need for prior authorizations or high out-of-pocket costs.
  2. Talk to the HCP about any related fees around medical vs. pharmacy benefits for different products.
  3. After looking at brand performance over time, repeat what has worked during HCP calls.

How do your representatives drill down to compare the market access position of multiple competitor products?

Propel your sales force’s pre-call planning forward

Sales teams often use formulary tools to target HCPs, but formulary data only goes so far. More sophisticated tools that incorporate intelligent data — such as adding transaction and claims information — multiply the accuracy and output of representatives’ pre-call planning.

Access Genius Insights gives sales teams that level of sophistication all-in-one management platform. The result: the opportunity to gain more sales-call confidence and bring about real results.

What are your representatives using to pre-call plan today? Are they acing their sales calls?