Sales reps in the pharmaceutical industry face many challenges in their day-to-day. They are constantly on the go, managing large territories and struggling to get face-to-face meetings with busy doctors. In order to deliver the most value during these often brief conversations, reps put in extra preparatory work that can make days even longer and face higher pressure on time-limited calls or meetings. It's no wonder that pharma sales reps experience a high level of burnout. New tools that leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) show promising results for reducing burnout and improving work-life balance for these hardworking individuals.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a deep mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that most often occurs when a person’s everyday workload involves high levels of stress without breaks. It can manifest in many ways, such as decreased motivation, increased levels of cynicism, decreased job satisfaction, physical and emotional exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and even changes in sleeping or eating habits.
Sales reps experiencing burnout often feel overwhelmed and are unable to function at their best, both mentally and physically. Eventually, those experiencing these symptoms will begin to disengage from their jobs and demonstrate a drop in overall performance, often creating a viscous cycle as increased stress from poor performance accelerates burnout symptoms. If left unchecked for too long, burnout can have serious consequences for the well-being of a rep and can lead to high turnover in a position. Recognizing and preventing burnout by adopting policies and tools that make sale reps’ roles easier can help keep reps happy and prevent the loss of good salespeople.
When asked what the most significant barriers and challenges for improving digital engagement with HCP customers? The answer: Multiple interfaces.
“It is difficult [for sales reps] to work with multiple sources of data and multiple interfaces. Even with access to multiple applications and data sources, data purveyed to commercial teams can be dated or inaccurate.” - Pharma Associate Director & MAPTUAL Customer
How can burnout be prevented?
Work-life balance is a critical component to preventing burnout. A key way that pharma companies can support healthy work-life balance for sales reps is setting achievable goals and offering support that keeps reps from spending excessive time focused on tasks outside of engaging with their customers. Tools that help reps function more efficiently like AI-powered predictive analytics in the field can help keep workdays from running into overtime without reducing call numbers, while also engaging in more personalized calls with less stress. Similarly, using accurate forecasting tools can help companies determine reasonable sales targets for a geography and identify when extra support may be needed to keep a territory going strong.
The right tools reduce effort & increase quality
Advances in data analytics technology have led to the emergence of new tools that can help decrease the risk of sales rep burnout while also improving sales overall. These tools combine and analyze large datasets about customer demographics and behavior to help sales reps make more effective calls with less backend effort.
By using AI-based predictive analytics platforms, sales reps are better able to forecast when HCPs are most likely to be receptive to a sales call and what messaging is most likely to resonate with a given contact. Further, these tools can look at HCP databases and help identify potential customers that are likely to be receptive to a product, but aren’t already in the sale rep’s network.
These platforms put key information in one place, so reps get more out of each call without extra time spent reviewing and crossreferencing multiple spreadsheets or researching new HCPs. AI doesn’t replace pharma rep jobs, but can help decrease a rep’s overall workload while simultaneously improving call quality, by taking busywork off their plate so they can focus on what they do best - having great conversations with their customers.
ODAIA’s MAPTUAL solution helps prevent sales rep burnout
The ODAIA's platform, MAPTUAL offers a flexible, AI-based solution to help drive efficiency and deliver value to pharma sales teams. MAPTUAL offers solutions for both managers and reps by enabling big picture views of changing trends across geographies as well as individualized insights into each HCP, including those that aren’t yet in a rep’s network.
In a six month case study, sales reps saved an average of 70 minutes a day on call prep by using MAPTUAL Field to quickly select which HCPs to visit and help plan their conversations. Further, they saw a 6% increase in new patient starts, representing nearly 8x return on investment.1 Not only did the platform help reps increase sales and make progress on their goals, it also saved them valuable time in their workday.
“My takeaway is this product is a time saver. Looks like they have done my work for me, and I can spend more time with customers. A lot of this is not being done manually.” - Regional Business Manager & MAPTUAL Customer
Empower your sales reps with the right tools
Burnout is a part of modern life, but it can be preventable when sales reps are equipped with the right tools for their success. AI-driven predictive analytics is a powerful addition to the sales team, offering managers and reps real-time insights into their customers and territories.
Download the ODAIA MAPTUAL Field Case Study to learn more about how this solution helped a top 10 pharma company transform the efficiency of their field team, to the benefit of sales reps, HCPs, and their patients.