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First Line Manager-Key to better sales force efficiency

Every time we think of the sales team of a pharmaceutical or medical device company, undeniably the first set of people that come to our minds are the field reps or the medical reps who belong to the bottom of the pyramid. Medical Reps are the ones who are directly in touch with the doctors. From a CRM perspective, they are important since they play the role of data gatherers in a company – their data forms the basis of any analysis done at the marketing and business unit level.

But all of us tend to forget another important soldier in this pyramid – the first line manager (who almost 99% of the times has risen from being a medical rep for x number of years to this role and hence now needs to manage and look after the growth of a certain area). What we shouldn’t forget is the transition that the first line manager has to make – from being a data gatherer to a data analyzer. Hence it is extremely important to concentrate on making sure that the first line manager is able to get the required data that he wants and organize his day as he likes.

Role of the First Line Manager

A FLSM is required to worry about the following things on a daily basis

  1. How are the Medical reps spending their time?
  2. What is the ongoing sales for his/her area and how close or far it is from the sales target defined?
  3. Who are the important doctors worth meeting?
  4. Among the medical reps in his team – who are performing well and who are not?
  5. Which medical rep needs his time more than others?

How can a CRM solution help FLSM manage his responsibilities better

A CRM solution should ideally help the manager achieve all of his above responsibilities. Some of the simple things that a CRM can provide are as follows

  1. Sales target v/s achievement percentage for his area can be drilled down to Medical rep level so that the manager knows how each of his medical rep is performing. Analyzing how close or how far the team is from their target may also enable the manager to drill down and allocate the remainder percentage of achievement among his team judiciously.
  2. Call efforts by the medical rep are worth analyzing – call average, call frequency, call plan v/s his actual – this will give an idea on where the MRs time is going. These can be short term analysis that can be viewed on a weekly basis, to enable the manager to correct anything that the medical rep is lacking on.
  3. Actions taken to help the medical reps have to be recorded for follow up, and ensuring execution.
  4. A good solution will guide the FLSM in allocating the right time in joint work, to the right MR s, and also help in providing the most appropriate coaching and training inputs

A CRM solution is no longer about data capturing. Any Pharma or medical device company now expects that a CRM solution should give relevant data for decision making. It is also viewed as a tool to help in improving the efficiency and productivity of a medical rep. The first step in this ladder is to enable the first line manager. The simplification of complex data presentations which can be quickly understood and analyzed by the first line manager will be key to improving the performance of a medical rep and the team as a whole.

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