The Evolving Role of the Sales Rep

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Traditionally, the foundation of pharmaceutical sales has been in-person visits between sales representatives and healthcare professionals (HCPs), which include events, conferences, dinners, and in-office visits. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this came to a grounding halt—all face-to-face visits were canceled, and reps had to find new ways to engage HCPs.

As a result, meetings took place online, through Teams and Zoom, and engagements became more digital. Two years since the start of the pandemic, HCPs have shown a preference for digital communications, and now, biopharma companies are re-evaluating the role of the sales representative altogether. According to a trends report by MM+M, 29% of biopharma companies are cutting back on rep spending while almost 50% are increasing their spend on engaging HCPs.

What does this shift look like for the role of the sales rep moving forward? Is there still a need for sales reps to pound the pavement with HCPs and focus on getting out more product? Or is it better to have a smaller, centralized sales team that focuses on fostering strong relationships and improving education and patient care?

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