We all know that physicians are the primary group of customers for pharmaceutical sales drug representatives. But there is another group of healthcare professionals that is important in many therapeutic areas covered in pharmaceutical sales training.
One company marketed a multi-purpose skin cream. It was used as a moisturizer for dry skin and also acted as a popular base for pharmacists to add other chemical compounds to form medicated prescription creams for patients with various skin conditions.
Naturally, the drug representatives for this product called on physicians including family doctors, pediatricians and dermatologists, the primary users of drugs for the skin. One day, a doctor told one of these drug reps that some of his cancer patients were coming back from the cancer clinic with this product upon recommendation of the staff there.
The rep did some further investigation by visiting the cancer center and found that the nurses there were routinely advising all patients going through radiation treatments to use this particular cream product.
The clinic nurses showed the rep that they made up their own special sheets that had directions for care after radiation treatments and included the liberal use of this specific cream by product name in order to reduce the effects of radiation burn. These sheets were handed out to every single patient who went in for radiation treatments.
The rep took these findings back to his pharmaceutical company and it was soon determined that all nurses working in similar cancer treatment centers across the country should be called on by the company’s sales force. Some other cancer centers were already on board with this product while many were not.
After some extra pharmaceutical sales training, the sales force did a special campaign to call on all cancer clinic nurses to inform them about how other cancer nurses were recommending the product and soon, all cancer treatment centers enthusiastically came on board with adding the company’s product as part their post-treatment care guidelines.
Many of these cancer clinics also had small pharmacies in house and upon follow up visits, the drug representatives found that many of these pharmacies have been stocking up on the product. In fact, the majority of these tiny cancer pharmacies carried more of the product in stock than typical major retail pharmacies!
Sales of the company’s cream product skyrocketed to record levels not because of increased promotion to doctors, but to cancer clinic nurses. Although these nurses were not physicians, they proved to have the power to recommend certain products directly to patients which in turn significantly increased sales.
The lesson from this case is that although physicians are the primary customer group to call on in pharmaceutical sales, other types of healthcare professionals could be just as important for certain products. It’s a matter of finding out who the important players are for specific drug products and this is an important topic to cover in pharmaceutical sales training.
There have been many other cases where nurses had positive impacts on sales of drugs in other therapeutic areas as well.
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