With an influx of new technologies and an outgoing of sales reps due to downsizing, you might think pharma isn’t putting too much stock in the importance of the sales force while putting a lot more faith in technology. But, while pharma is finally embracing big technologies, it is also embracing its resized sales force, too. In fact, in our cover story, Sales Force 2.0: Optimizing the Role of the Sales Force in Integrated Marketing, page 30, authors Rick Keefer, President and CEO of Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, and Michelle Keefe, COO of Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, state that the professional sales rep continues to be a crucial component of the biopharmaceutical marketing mix. This is especially true when marketing to physicians, who, according to a 2013 JD Powers and Associates study, “continue to value sales reps and rely on them.”  Of course, that’s not to say physicians can’t be hard to reach.

However, today’s sales rep—who is taking the reins of big technology—is not your grandfather’s sales rep—or even your father’s. Today, sales reps are more likely to be part of an effective “blended, cross-channel message delivery team.” Or, they could be as time progresses and companies learn to manage the many tools available to them.

Those tools are also used to reach the ePatients who go to the Internet for info, or download apps that help them find information or keep track of their health. Reaching these patients requires not only technology but also a mindset that focuses on patient needs and marketing that, among other things, hones insights derived from technology. Read all about it in our article, Keeping Brands Relevant in the Age of the Empowered ePatient, starting on page 34.

And then there’s our Annual Product Manager Survey, which takes a look at pharma from your eyes. Once again we asked product managers about their careers (salaries, job satisfaction, etc.) and the landscape of the industry (factors to look out for, marketing budgets, trends, etc.). Many of the brand managers surveyed also weighed in on the topic of the downsized sales force and how their company is coping. Read what they had to say in the supplement to this issue.

See you next month!

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