SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

October 05, 2007 08:28 ET

46% of Pharma Reps Undergo 'Product Exploration' Training, According to New Study

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - October 5, 2007) - Almost half of new pharmaceutical sales reps' training time is spent learning about products, according to a new study released by leading competitive intelligence provider Cutting Edge Information. The study, "Pharmaceutical Sales Management 2008," available at, examines the sales management strategies and techniques of several leading pharmaceutical companies.

Among many other topics, Cutting Edge Information's study addresses the training methods companies employ to equip sales forces. Of the many skills sharpened in training programs, product knowledge is favored over any other subject. Cutting Edge Information's survey reveals companies devote a notable 46% of new-rep training time to exploration of the product itself. In contrast, other vital skills, such as selling tactics and business acumen, are given much less time. For instance, sharpening selling skills only represents 25% of new-rep curriculum.

One might question why pharma companies pump extensive product knowledge into their training programs, while other industries tend to focus training mainly on sales tactics. The explanation rests with the demands of one of pharma's primary customer groups -- physicians. "Some physicians request detailed product information, such as clinical trial data, on the spot," explains David Richardson, senior research analyst for Cutting Edge Information and lead author of the study. "Sending reps out without thorough product knowledge can ruin relationships and negatively impact the product's image."

To satisfy physicians' demand for information, many companies provide their reps with printouts of clinical trial results in case a physician is curious. This foresight allows reps to cater to each individual physician by providing additional layers of product information when requested. Companies that produce well-trained, knowledgeable sales forces can expect to see dividends as doctors begin to view sales team resources as value-ads for their individual practices.

"Pharmaceutical Sales Management 2008" explores the latest trends, budgets and strategies of top pharmaceutical companies. Key metrics in the report include:

--  Budgeting and Financial Support
--  Structure and Headcounts
--  Product Prioritization, Territory Alignment and Coordination
--  Training and Development
--  Sales Compensation and Reward Programs
--  Rep Activities
--  Segmenting and Targeting
--  Overcoming Reduced Physician Access
--  Optimizing Time Earned with Physicians

To download a free, online summary of this report, visit

Contact Information


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    research, contact
    David Richardson
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