Helping Shrinking Sales Teams Deliver ‘More From Less’ is Vital to Pharmaceutical Marketing Success

Pulse Issue 5 2024

"Helping Shrinking Sales Teams Deliver ‘More From Less’ is Vital to Pharmaceutical Marketing Success"

Helping sales teams achieve more with less resources was ranked by Australia’s leading Pharma marketers as one of the most critical customer engagement challenges to overcome for 2024, and vital to delivering sales performance.

More than 75% of the 39 marketing executive respondents from 14 pharmaceutical companies who participated in the Bastion Brands 2024 Pharmaceutical Marketing Trends research project saw supporting sales teams to maintain their impact as a vital priority.

The majority of Pharma marketer respondents cautioned they anticipate further reduction in sales team resources this calendar year, with more cutbacks expected.

Marketing teams therefore need to play an even more important role in supporting sales teams with selling messaging and sales support materials. “We have to be able to get ‘more from less’ from our sales teams” was a consistent message from respondents.

With further cutbacks anticipated, marketing teams must play an even more crucial role in in supporting sales team by developing strategies to optimise the sales process.

Strategy to Support Sales Teams 
Medical Sales Research and Strategy, are crucial for understanding the treatment landscape. When developing sales strategy we take into account the product, competitor brands, and the HCP’s and Patient’s experience so we can identify the moments that matter and the role that our client company or product can take. Through analysing the research we’re able to generate insights to help to create a strategic sales plan that optimises outcomes based on reduced spend and physical presence.

Strategic Solutions to Support Sales:

Customer segmentation: Pharma endevour to better understand their HCP customers. As a trusted agency partner, we analyse HCP behaviour and attitudes, demographics, specialisation and role in treatment, prescribing behaviour, their engagement with sales team materials and channels, and how they influence the market. We then use this data-driven understanding to shape a segmentation models to improve targeting, resource allocation, relationships with HCP’s, effectiveness of the sales team, and generates market insights for our clients.

KOL Expertise and  Journey Mapping: Based on segmentation models we define customer experience in order to shape behaviour change. We develop a visual representation of the customers journey in stages, and identify what they Think, Feel and Do. Adding Challenges and Opportunities along the HCP journey allows us to further identify moments that matter and the role that the Pharma company and product brand can play. Finally once we’ve established the role that the Pharma company and product brand can play we can design and deliver tactics the address these key moments.

Targeted Behaviour change campaigns: With identified moments that matter in the HCP journey, the next strategy to support sales is to develop segmented and targets Omnichannel behaviour change campaigns to generate warm leads and improve rep targeting. The campaign needs to target the key moments in the HCP journey and give the rep a data driven reason to contact the HCP. We develop stories with sequential messaging the encourages the HCP to understand the current behaviour, reasons why change is important and the call to action to encourage behaviour change. Often we’re using combinations of paid, owned and earned media and the rep plays a key role in engagement.

PreCall Planning and Objection handling tools: Because HCP’s have limited time available to meet reps, it’s critically important to maximise the potential of every sales call. Sales teams often know a lot about their customers and their profiles. Using insights it’s important to prepare for every call; research and understand the HCP’s hospital and background, find out mutual connections, establish a goal for the call, anticipate the conversation along with objections to handle and materials to utilise. In preparation handling critical feedback it is also crucial to know what are the common objections and how to respond with both science, facts and data, along with emotion of patient stories and improved outcomes. Be ready and maximise the value of each call as they are becoming increasingly hard to deliver well.

1st party or 3rd party targeting of priority HCP segments: The 5th strategy to support sales teams with dimished resources is to use media to substitute reduced sales team visitation. By leveraging 1st or 3rd party contact databases we can work with clients to increase consent and gain direct access at scale, to help increase the value and lower the cost of access through digital channels. This approach to engagement will continue to become increasingly valueable as the implementation of AI across search engines puts downward pressure on medical website traffic and increases pressure on building direct relationships with companies.

Virtual Representatives: As products mature and end their life cycles there is a need to support a presence without sales reps in field. The sales team may still be important behind the scenes but a digital first approach and the development of virtual reps are being rolled out within our global agency network right now. This Virtual Rep approach delivers cutting edge technology that helps interact with HCP’s digitally, present a sales call, answer prepared questions, and triage requests or more specialised responses. This new sales territory comes with a first mover advantage. Virtual reps will definitely be a part of a Pharma sales future, and with data and insights being the new competitive advantage, we can clearly tell that the Pharma moving first will mostly likely learn and grow faster than the pack.

As the Pharmaceutical industry navigates through 2024, the ability to do ‘more with less’ has become an essential strategy. The 2023/24 Pharmaceutical Trends Research reveals a critical insight: supporting shrinking sales teams to sustain and even enhance their impact is paramount for marketing success. With over 75% of Australia’s leading Pharma marketers identifying this as a top priority, the imperative is clear—marketing teams must elevate their role in empowering sales teams.

To explore how these strategies can be customised to address your specific challenges and opportunities, we invite you to schedule a meeting with us. Let’s discuss how we can help your sales teams achieve more with fewer resources, ensuring your marketing efforts drive significant growth in 2024. Together, we can craft a roadmap to success, leveraging cutting-edge research and innovative strategies to support your sales force and deliver outstanding results.

Simon Davies
M: 0402 425 545
Dan King
M: 0439 190 700



We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.