The continual shrinking of the pharmaceutical industry's sales forces increasing resembles 'The Death of a Salesman' scenario. But those responsible for overseeing the thousands of remaining reps say that some of the problems can be laid at the doorstep of their own employers - there simply isn't enough resources and thought given to helping managers improve their own skills.
At least that's what a survey of more than 100 district sales managers, marketing directors and vp's from 20 pharma companies, including eight of the largest drug makers, which was conducted by Delta Point, a consulting firm. The upshot: "A significant gap exists between the importance placed on skills that enhance customer relationships and the training structure and opportunities that pharmaceutical companies are currently providing managers."
A few findings: Only 32 percent say formalized programs exist to improve managerial sales skills on an ongoing basis (49.5 percent said there is none). Only 34 percent say training resources target improving relationship building and connecting with customers that are difficult to connect with - and only 33 percent say training is available to learn how to connect.
Meanwhile, 24.8 percent say their companies have easily accessible programs for developing selling skills (and 58 percent said there is none). Also, only 52 percent say enough time is spent to help managers improve their skills; only 33 percent say there is training on how to connect with people who we do not naturally connect with. Another nugget: only 21 percent say resources are available to teach relationship building to their team.
Finally, only 34 percent say their company has a formal process to evaluate the success of a rep who has become a manager. Hmmm.... Of course, these findings can't be taken as the final word in why sales reps are less desirable, but it does make you wonder about future investments in sales teams. The survey may, however, explain why so many reps complain about their managers on CafePharma.