In US, approximately 100,000 pharmaceutical sales reps are pursuing some 830,000 pharma prescribers. Physicians are the most important component in pharma sales and a sales rep usually has a target list of more than 120 physicians to be visited in a typical 3 weeks cycle. Organizations and the management have always acknowledged the absolute importance of Call Planning, which has now well integrated into the planning and execution of the pharmaceutical sales forces.
Call Planning is a great tactical step to tradeoff brand, sales and operational goals and help implement the best strategy for the organization as a whole. Several companies have integrated measuring call plan adherence and tasking their reps to follow the call plan.
At the PMSA Annual Conference, Peter Koniaris of Daiichi-Sankyo and Chet Baboor from Axtria conducted a session on the significance of providing call plans to reps. With pharma sales forces having reached a fair level of maturity, & changing market dynamics (access, managed care, etc.) the presenters revisited the question of the value of call plans:
- Are providing call plans to the field of any value?
- Can reps build their own and better call plans?
- Does call plan adherence or attainment improve performance?
- Does tracking or not tracking call plan adherence improve the quality of reported calls?
- Do certain types of reps or products benefit more or less from call plans?
Peter and Chet will also shared their insights from the recently concluded studies that try to correlate call plan adherence to rep performance.
Two test groups were set up for this experiment – “Mavericks”, who were given no call plan and also not tracked or policed for call plan reporting or adherence, and “No Police” that were given a call plan but not tracked or policed for adherence. For each of these groups, a 1:1 control group was selected matched on various parameters such as historical sales performance, rep rank, territory type, geography, business climate and call plan adherence. The control groups both received a call plan and were tracked and policed on call plan adherence.
The preliminary analysis of adherence and performance patterns among the groups – Mavericks, No-Police and their respective control groups has been quite revealing. We find significant differences and some interesting nuances between the two test and control groups which challenge some of the conventional thinking of the past. These findings were presented in the PMSA Annual Conference.