Pharmaceutical employers must urgently ensure that their sales teams have the skills and sensitivity to build trust with customers. Questionmark, the online assessment provider, is urging employers to ensure that their workforces have five crucial skills.
These are particularly critical during this generation-defining public health crisis which is forcing pharma companies to work with customers online rather than in person.
Healthcare providers are facing new levels of demand. In helping meet this, pharmaceutical companies must show their stakeholders they are not placing commercial considerations above public-health concerns. Salespeople must show tact and sensitivity in crucial conversations. They must do this at the same time as social distancing is forcing them to communicate digitally rather than meeting customers in person as usual.
Questionmark is encouraging employers to check their sales teams in particular have the following essential skills for digital communication:
- Knowledge – doctors are growing increasingly frustrated that sales reps just stick to a routine and don’t deliver any new information.1
- Sensitivity – to build trust with customers, salespeople must not act as if they are taking advantage of a public health crisis to boost revenue.
- Digital communication – face-to-face meetings are rarely possible. Salespeople must be able to communicate product information with the latest technology.
- Empathy – salespeople must show an understanding of the vast pressures that medics are under.
- Flexibility – new ways of working are essential as the classic tools of travel, meetings and events are severely curtailed.
Lars Pedersen, CEO of Questionmark said, “During a time of crisis, pharma salespeople play an important role in getting crucial medication to the right people. Employers must ensure sales teams show sensitivity to the current crisis and cannot be accused of unsavory opportunism.
“By testing the skills, aptitude and attitude of the workforce, employers can get a clear read on the state of play. They can introduce new training to improve performance and use further assessments to check the training has worked.”
By assessing the skills, attitudes and aptitude of salespeople, managers can learn where problems may arise. They can anticipate scenarios where more sensitivity will be needed. They can introduce training and further support to ensure their teams are where they need to be. Further assessments can check that the training worked.
By assessing candidates before deciding to hire them, employers can also ensure that people with the right skills are joining the workforce. Should a ‘recruitment rush’ follow the delivery of a Covid-19 vaccine, assessments will be able to help employers ensure that new starters have what it takes to hit the ground running. This will be particularly important if quick decisions are needed.
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