A 'rebirth' is in the works
A flyer produced by Accenture Strategy, a consulting arm of the Accenture organization, brings together several pieces of evidence that pharma companies benefit by repositioning (and, in some cases, retraining) their sales reps to be more targeted at market access issues such as health outcomes or physicians’ own incentive programs. While noting that some trends are believed to “mark the beginning of the end for the sales force;” in fact, some companies are renewing hiring. The difference now, though, Is not knocking on more physicians’ doors, but working with “today’s broad set of buyers and influencers,” which includes patients, payers and institutional administrators. One recent Accenture survey shows that 58% of patients make use of pharma-support services such as access and discharge programs, when properly informed of them. The company says that it has had success with pharma clients in shaping sales forces that worked with physicians who themselves have patient-outcome incentives.
Other sources, notably ZS Associates, have tracked the bottoming out and subsequent rise in pharma salesforce staffing. And the trends toward expanded patient support, especially for specialty pharmaceuticals, are broadly recognized. If nothing else, the Accenture flyer indicates that the message about redesigned selling priorities still needs to be heard more clearly across the industry.
The Accenture flyer is available here.