October 25, 2016

What Sales Reps Can Learn From Alice in Wonderland

Today’s pharmaceutical sales representatives might feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland and identify with her journey down the rabbit hole. It is indeed a strange new world!

Down the rabbit hole is a metaphor for an entry into the unknown.  Our rapidly changing healthcare landscape is indeed unchartered territory for the vast majority of today’s pharmaceutical sales representatives. Understanding those changes is the first step in adjusting to this new world.

The success of today’s pharmaceutical sales rep begins with understanding and identifying changes in market dynamics, including:

  • 25% of all physician interactions are digital
  • 60% of all doctors are part of an integrated delivery network (IDN)
  • physicians are increasingly being compensated on outcomes versus traditional fee-for-service

Next, comes identifying the behaviors and characteristics that will meet the needs of today’s healthcare professionals.

When Alice finally lands, she finds herself in a long hallway, lined with doors, all of which are locked. She finds a key, but it is too small for all the doors, except one.

Like Alice in her adventure, the “key” to success for pharmaceutical sales representatives will require different approaches, skill sets, and behaviors than in the past. In today’s environment, some of the most sought after candidates have very strong B2B skill sets, are able to coordinate physician communications across multiple modalities, and possess strong business acumen in understanding data and patient outcomes. These skills enable them to work with physicians and practices to navigate our complex payer system and execute the total office call.

Success begins with hiring the right candidate to succeed in this new world. It is difficult, if not impossible to do that, using the playbook and tools of yesterday. That is why at TSP, we have developed an entirely new approach-- one that fuses a systematic evaluation process (unique to each organization), with the scientific study of human behaviors, to ensure the skills and behaviors of candidates match the needs of the healthcare professional they serve.

Just as experts in literature identified the main theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as the difficulty adapting to the rules of a new world, successful pharmaceutical sales reps must adapt to the new world of our healthcare system.

Tags: sales & marketing, pharma / biotech, I/O psych, consulting & assessment, RPO, executive & professional search

Deb Schnell

Even the animated and enthusiastic are amazed by the levels of Deb’s energy – and they love it. Her vitality pours into everything she does, whether it’s taking care of her clients and teammates or writing incredible poetry in her free time. She’s a winner who knows how to take things to the next level and yet she doesn’t let her altitude affect her attitude. When you meet Deb, you just know she is going to make things happen.

And she has. Deb has been working with world-class sales and marketing organizations for over 30 years with extensive experience in pharmaceutical sales and business development. Prior to TSP, Deb served in leadership roles for MNG Direct, a multi channel communication platform, Healthy Advice Networks (now Patient Point), a place-based media and patient education company, and PDI Inc., a leading health care commercialization group. She also spent over a decade at the IBM Corporation in sales, marketing, and brand management roles.

At TSP, she is leading efforts for sales force expansion engagements, designed to accelerate performance. Deb holds a Bachelor’s degree from Miami University.

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