So as 2020 starts to draw to a close (there are only 8 more Fridays until Christmas!), and our attention moves towards 2021, I thought now would be good a time to share some thoughts and pose some questions on the metrics we use to measure our pharma sales teams.
I suspect pretty much every metric you were using at the start of 2020 to measure and monitor your field force has not panned out as you expected, and you could probably argue they are not entirely relevant given the current climate. Whether its sales vs target, market share, growth, new patient starts, coverage and frequency, or the tried and tested classic that is call rate; 2020 has been the year where the mainstream KPI’s have taken a battering. I’m not going to go into the detail of how they have been impacted, or why they are not the right KPIs’ at present as I’m sure you have all spent many hours looking at this yourselves.
Instead I would like to talk about what new metrics you have been monitoring more closely these past 6 months. Chances are some or all the following have been of interest: -
Looking at the number sent and opened as well as click through rates. Of course, getting an accurate value for ‘opens’ is nigh on impossible these days.
Your sales team are no doubt doing some form or remote meetings either within your CRM or via Teams/Zoom or one of the other hundred tools. With only ~10% of HCP’s seeing reps FF at present this is your ‘next best action’ right now.
You may well still be sponsoring the attendance at virtual congresses, in which case follow up rates are probably a key metric for you right now.
Your salesforce may now be logging phone calls in your CRM system. Did you collect this data prior to Covid?
As we start to unlock and indeed lockdown more at a regional level the metrics above will be useful to understand what interactions you are getting with your customers. It’s going to be a long way into next year before we return to the levels of pre Covid FF engagement. However, I’d be mindful about using these new metrics in league tables to benchmark your field team, as now more than ever no territories are equal .
One last question, are you monitoring these because you feel they are truly useful metrics, or are you monitoring these because you haven’t got anything else to monitor? Don’t get me wrong, I work in analytics so am all in favour of collecting and analysing data. I just think we mustn’t forget that if we are going to analyse data, we should be thinking about what the results are going to make us do differently.
To wrap up; will the metrics we measure change forever as a result of Covid? Probably not, but certainly for the next 6 months the classic metrics should stay on the back burner.
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