With opportunities for face-to-face contact with doctors decreasing and some institutions banning medical sales professionals from interacting directly with doctors, many pharmaceutical and biotech companies are exploring other channels for promoting their products. Virtual sales teams are already deployed by some companies and many others are exploring this as a means of informing clinicians about their products.
In December 2012, MD Mindset conducted an online survey of 575 doctors, from eight different specialties, to gauge their experience of virtual sales calls and ask what would make them more likely to accept this kind of interaction in the future. The following slides are a sample of the data collected and show that there are definite opportunities for the virtual sales channel as a means of interacting with clinical decision makers. The results vary from one specialty to another but for the purposes of this report we have analyzed them by looking at primary care compared with specialty medicine.
Doctors learn their trade and work in a visual world, so it is not surprising that for any kind of virtual sales call to have an impact there needs to be a visual component. Of those doctors who had already participated in virtual sales calls the majority said it was a useful experience with over 70% of those stating that they would be more likely to accept a web-assisted virtual sales call as opposed to a telesales call. Virtual sales calls must be targeted to specific needs and get straight to the point. Time of day and duration of the interaction are critical to getting the doctors undivided attention and the window of opportunity varies by specialty.
There also needs to be some kind of reward for the doctors to accept sales calls. Being able to order samples, get reprints, ask questions, and request further information is critical to the success of a virtual sales call. In this survey, 65% of doctors said their awareness of the brand was affected by the Virtual Sales Call and 57% of doctors said that the Virtual Sale Calls had an impact on the likelihood of their using the product discussed.