One of the oldest commercial models is extensive use of sales representatives, working face to face with individual clients. This model, while eroded or vanished in many industries such as consumer goods or financial services, remains strong in pharma, despite well-established challenges.
For decades increasingly dominant payer power and promotional restrictions have challenged the classical model of the pharmaceutical sales rep visiting individual doctors, but it has proven remarkably resilient. The total number of reps the pharmaceutical industry employs has stayed quite steady at between 400,000 and 500,000 equivalents globally.1
The most fundamental challenge to the traditional sales model, however, has been more recent. The rise of digital technologies, enabling the growth of Multichannel, revolutionises the commercial model in ways other trends have not, because digital simultaneously dramatically diversifies the channels of communication and also sources of information. It is also, fundamentally, customer led.
Healthcare professionals, like the patients they treat, moved online – to seek information, communicate with peers, and to make healthcare decisions. Pharmaceutical companies have followed them.
The rise of digital technologies, enabling the growth of Multichannel, revolutionizes the commercial model in ways other trends have not