Athough great strides have been made in the innovation of new drugs, the reputation of the industry’s brand has suffered. Nearly one-quarter of physicians work in practices that ban pharmaceutical sales representatives and when they do allow contact with a physician occurs about 20% of the time.1 Our reputation is just a notch above the cable company industry, according to the August 2008 Harris Poll, followed by health insurance, managed care, oil, and tobacco.
As Craig and I contemplated how we got here, we reflected on the sales teams who sold us products when we were the customer. Despite being on opposite sides of the country and in very different yet demanding settings, we both held the Upjohn sales representatives in high esteem as integral members of our team and the community. I, as a community and hospital pharmacist, and Craig, as an assistant chief resident and internist at a teaching hospital, always made time for the Upjohn rep.
Having since then led a global brand and sales team and both of us having worked with numerous client sales teams, we believe we can learn from the Upjohn reps — synonymous with trust and service — for inspiration today. We need to help re-establish the reps’ value for this new era as they are our industry’s front line. It starts with rethinking our sales force strategy, rebranding our reps, and training them…