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Underutilization of Analytics Is Hampering Pharma Sales Reps

As emerging pharmaceutical companies seek to maximize the commercial performance of their innovative new therapies, many underuse advanced analytics.


This is according to the “2019 Emerging Pharma Pulse Report” from Beghou Consulting, which found that nearly 60% of the more than 100 pharmaceutical companies surveyed only use analytics “somewhat” or “to a limited extent” to generate commercial insights.

Further, most emerging pharmaceutical companies said analytics and modeling only play a “moderate” role in their incentive compensation plan design efforts.  

At the same time, the report found that companies struggle to retain field sales representatives. More than 30% of respondents identified “retaining salespeople after launch” as a top challenge. And 36% of respondents said their companies have annual turnover of more than 20%.

“Deploying sophisticated methods to analyze the plentiful amounts of data in the industry is crucial to building and executing effective commercial plans, which includes designing incentive compensation plans that motivate field sales representatives,” said Beth Beghou, founder and managing director of Beghou. “Companies must make advanced analytics the central piece of their incentive compensation processes to retain top performers.”

Companies Cite Concerns About Data Management
The Emerging Pharma Pulse Report found that many companies view data management as a pressing concern. Respondents identified “organizing and storing data” as one of their top challenges. (Nearly 30% selected it as one of their top three commercial challenges.)

“As the amount of data in the pharmaceutical industry continues to increase, data scientists have become some of the most important players in a company’s commercial operation,” said Jon Hesby, partner at Beghou. “Commercial leaders understand they must have organized and accurate data — and then analyze that data properly — to develop actionable insights that can lead to meaningful improvements in commercial performance. It’s just so much easier said than done.”

Pharmaceutical companies increasingly use technology tools to help them process and analyze data. This proliferation of technology places additional pressure on a company’s data management processes. When asked to identify their top commercial challenges related to business intelligence, 45% of respondents identified “organizing data and appropriate metrics for use by business intelligence tools,” and 39% cited “incorporating new data and metrics into business intelligence tools.”

Many Companies Say They See ‘No-See’ Health-Care Professionals
Pharmaceutical industry executives frequently cite physicians’ resistance to meeting with field sales representatives as a major barrier to commercial success. However, the Emerging Pharma Pulse Report found that some physicians who are considered “no-see” may be more accessible than commonly thought. In the report, 73% of respondents said their field sales reps are successful at visiting these “no-see” HCPs.

“It’s important for pharmaceutical commercial teams to be properly skeptical of commonly-held perceptions,” said Steve Trokenheim, partner at Beghou. “Writing off health-care professionals who are perceived to be ‘no-see’ is a mistake that can cost a company valuable relationships and sales. The companies that are more circumspect toward these accepted views in the industry will put themselves in position to identify and capitalize on opportunities competitors overlook.”

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