How to Close a Sale--Fast

Imagine having less than two minutes to close your sale. Sound impossible? That's the situation faced by today's pharmaceutical sales representatives, who get just 90 seconds with a physician during an average sales call. Historically, pharmaceutical companies have increased their sales staff to improve coverage of their target audience. With twice as many reps today as a decade ago pursuing almost the same number of doctors, the need to call on the right physicians and drive high-value calls has never been greater. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning toward robust analytics solutions to improve physician targeting and deliver customized messages to maximize call quality. Analytics capabilities, integrated with CRM solutions, can help sales teams effectively target physicians and create dynamic sales call plans that deliver optimal physician coverage and improved call quality, resulting in increased prescriptions. The pharmaceutical industry collects a tremendous volume of information about physicians and the prescriptions they write. The challenge lies in making sense of the prescription statistics and other aspects of physician profiles. Step one in evaluating an analytics solution is to determine to what extent physician, prescription, and other data can be integrated. The most effective analytics solutions provide precreated data mart schemas specific to pharmaceutical industry requirements, saving companies months of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pharmaceutical companies need analytics solutions that deliver customer, sales, prescription, and activity information, grouped into logical subject areas and presented in the form of intuitive reports for quick and relevant analysis. The next step is to make sure the analytics solution integrates seamlessly with CRM solutions used by customer-facing personnel to manage, coordinate, and synchronize interactions with targeted physicians. Analysis of customer information is an integral part of territory sales planning and execution, and it is therefore imperative that analytics tools be embedded in the CRM application. Such analysis is even more valuable when made available in an off-line capacity, since sales representatives are not typically tethered to a computer network. This helps improve the chances of turning insight into action. Studies show that leading pharmaceutical companies deploying industry-specific analytics applications integrated with CRM applications have reported significant improvements in market share and revenues for key brands. These companies have been able to eliminate the gap between insight and execution. By taking advantage of prebuilt industry-specific analytics data marts, these companies have also saved millions of dollars and increased sales force efficiency. These benefits are just a limited example of what can be achieved using analytics to support pharmaceutical sales planning and execution. Drug makers looking to improve sales call quality can do so by measuring physician targeting effectiveness and analyzing prescribing patterns--through the use of analytics solutions developed to meet the needs of pharmaceutical companies. This way, sales representatives can make the most of each 90-second sales call. About the Author Steve Andrade is vice president and general manager of Siebel Life Sciences at Siebel Systems, a provider of business applications software. He has more than 16 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in product marketing, design, quality assurance, and testing. Contact him through Kris Fortner at kris.fortner@siebel.com
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