Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Try To Keep Call Averages Up

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Tarter Time Photography

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps During Summers

Now that the summer is here, I recall my years working as a manager with my pharmaceutical sales reps (as well as being one myself originally) and how it can be quite challenging some days to keep the call averages up.

Most pharmaceutical companies track call averages which are the number of physician visits each pharmaceutical rep makes during the working day.  There is usually a minimum call average that each company likes to see and this can be anywhere from six to ten doctors per day on average.

The challenge in maintaining call averages especially during the summer months comes from the fact that many doctors take vacations with their families during July and August.  I’ve even known a few physicians who have taken most of the summers off.

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Visit Secondary Customers

As a result of many doctors being unavailable during the summers, many pharmaceutical sales reps may have to resort to making some calls on what’s known as secondary customers.  These are usually groups of doctors in their territories that are not usually regarded as top key physicians for the company’s products.

For example, a physician with a primarily older patient practice will be regarded as a key customer for a hypertension drug since most older patients get high blood pressure.  In contrast, a walk in clinic doctor may not see many older patients and blood pressure cases, at least not nearly as much as a key physician with an older practice would.  That’s why the walk in doctors would be secondary customers.

Since the walk in doctors may be available as calls during the summer, many pharmaceutical sales reps would call on this group simply to keep the overall call average up.

It’s debatable from a sales management point of view whether this is actually beneficial to a company or not but the pressure of maintaining call averages is usually there on the pharmaceutical sales reps.  This is one of the drawbacks of  call averages.  On one hand, higher call averages mean higher sales but if the pharmaceutical reps are always under the pressure of maintaining it by calling on secondary customers, it can be debated whether this activity is going to impact sales or not.

To get an nice overview of the pharmaceutical industry, see my free webinar on pharmaceutical sales reps.

What’s your view on this?  If you have any comments, feel free to add them below.

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