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How to improve pharmaceutical representatives’ knowledge successfully?

How to prepare your digitaly enabled sales force and monitor the results?

Being a great pharmaceutical rep is becoming more and more difficult. With almost unlimited Internet access and tons of available materials about medicines, doctors are expecting from reps the most up-to-date knowledge.

What is the risk of having poorly trained reps?

Pharmaceutical representatives are at the forefront of the company communication channel to doctors. With a week performance, the costs could be enormous. Losing physicians trust due to the lack of knowledge or miscommunication is like operating to the detriment of the company. How managers and sales directors can act to avoid such situation?

A traditional way of teaching reps

In the era when the Internet was used rather out of curiosity, for fun or perhaps to send an email, pharmaceutical companies were accustomed to the traditional way of training representatives. The whole company gathered for two or three days in nicely looking hotel localized in the beautiful environment and a professional set of trainers though and motivate reps to work. Although the conditions were perfect and the trainers were the best in their class, after two days of intense learning, not so much was absorbed. And with the integration party at night, the second day of training for some attendants was most often described by the saying “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Those kinds of meetings are essential for companies and need to be organized for keeping the team motivated, learning soft skills and integrating with each other. But for difficult to acquire pharmaceutical industry knowledge, there are different, more effective ways of learning. Especially now when the Internet changed mostly everything, and the costs side of the project is more important than ever. The ROI from training sessions must be ensured so that companies could invest in the new training. Let’s be frank, the whole company gatherings or even regional ones are very expensive and time-consuming. Comparing to not so great results,  there is a lot to consider.

What can you do better?

Are you familiar with the phrases “the new millennium learner,” “knowledge workers” or “digital immigrants”? All of them refer to current times when in information buzz people are overstimulated and needed to adapt to this situation by changing the way they learn. To illustrate it, let’s just focus on books, having in mind that the Internet is a way bigger source of information. According to the New York State Library Bookboard, less than 10 thousand books were published in the US in 1907, but in 2010 it was about three mln. During a century US population quadrupled, and the number of books published was 300 times greater. Huge, isn’t it?

For the older generation (before Millennials) books were one of the most important sources of knowledge. But the example above confirms that with such waste number of options it is not anymore possible to become knowledgeable fast and in the traditional way. To many sources from which you can get the knowledge make the task very difficult. Adding the Internet to the quotation we know, that achieving the expected effect can be practically impossible. It is how microlearning was invented.

Microlearning – learning solution of our times

The main idea behind microlearning is to facilitate self-directed lifelong learning, divide it into smaller activities which can be easily integrated into everyday activities. As a broad term, it can be used in various situations, but what should interest the pharmaceutical management team are the short, work-based training formats. Sometimes it is a kind of support for informal learning or self-contained training. But the best way is to use it consistently, every day for a short period. It may not be easy to manage it by oneself, but fortunately, there are platforms which makes it simple.

Using Highp platform to fulfill reps need for knowledge.

Highp platform gives the opportunity of sending short video messages and afterward, measure results and collect all of the necessary data. In the pharma business, rep gets a quick, 30-second long material every day, and can display it straight on his or her smartphone. It is a convenient and aesthetic way to refresh the knowledge of a certain topic. The next day another video incomes, preceded by a short question about the piece of information received the day before. It definitely raises the memorability.

It is straightforward, cheap and easy to implement, without any type of gamifying, can be run on any smartphone device and is highly rated by the users. Why is that?

First of all the message is short, very informative and rep gets it before 7, and 8 am while he or she is heading to the first meeting. They can focus on it without getting involved in technical things like opening some app or login in. For managers, the outcome is even better as the platform collects very detailed data.

Collecting data from the platform

Here are the outcomes from one of the Highp client who carried out 50 campaigns containing 1366 messages. The open rate was more than 83 percent. Campaigns took three months and were supported by 16 audiobooks or PDF materials. The CTA of 98 percent from users who opened the message is huge. What do you think about that?

Managers and sales directors of pharmaceutical companies could benefit a lot by taking part in such a platform. It is very cost effective and doesn’t take much of a highly prized representative time. Highp fits the microlearning trend which makes it one of the most effective way of learning and consolidating knowledge.  Of course, there are other methods that base on the Internet environment, like e-learning platforms, emails or recurring meetings. But all of that requires proactive participation of the representative which is time-consuming.

In the end, the pharmaceutical company will get well trained, motivated personnel, more time to manage the results and a reason to organize an integrational meeting just to celebrate and teamwork after a good quarter or year. Would you like to try it?

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