Medical Sales Training: Moving From Detailing to e-Detailing

Posted by Guest Contributor on 2/19/15 9:00 AM


e-Detailing came to prominence in medical sales training around the same time the pharmaceutical industry was feeling the effects of the 2008 economic downturn. Pharmaceutical companies were under increasing pressure to keep a lid on spending, and sales force numbers were dropping. While e-Detailing may have started as a technological solution to difficult economic times, it has turned out to make a positive impact, and is continuing to increase in importance.

e-Detailing is an umbrella term covering the use of electronic, interactive media to enable sales presentations to physicians, and it has become an important element in medical sales training. e-Detailing may include targeted email, online sample ordering, and live interaction with physicians through webinars or one-on-one conferencing. Instead of waiting for long periods in doctors' offices before being given a quick few minutes to present a product, sales reps can now work much more efficiently.

How Different e-Detail Techniques Work

e-Detailing techniques are constantly evolving, but several techniques stand out in medical sales training. Three important methods are virtual live e-detailing, e-detailing via online portal, and scripted e-detailing, which can be done through an app.

With virtual live e-Detailing, physicians have a PC or device pre-loaded with a webcam and specialized software that allows them to interact via video conference with a sales rep. Physicians are generally provided with incentives to interact with reps a certain number of times per month. The timing and duration of the sessions are controlled by the doctor.

Some companies do e-detailing through an online portal for doctors through which they can access product-specific messages and do things like order samples. This technique can work well with hard-to-reach specialists. Statistics can be collected during physician use of the portal that allows companies to tailor portals for maximum effectiveness.

With scripted e-detailing, a physician uses a PC or device to view interactive screens. While there's no live interaction with a sales rep, the doctor can contact a rep by email or phone at any time. It's a great way to deliver precise messages to physicians in easily-digestible portions of information.

Benefits to Doctors of e-Detailing

Doctors like e-detailing because they find it less disruptive to their routines. Since doctors have access to information at convenient times, life sciences companies can increase the time physicians spend learning about products at a much lower cost. Doctors have more flexibility and control, and find multimedia e-detailing much more engaging than printed product information. One survey found that doctors spend an average 7.5 minutes on an e-detail compared to only 2 minutes for a sales rep visit.

Benefits to Life Sciences Companies of e-Detailing

Detailing, whether traditional or electronic, accounts for a major share of sales and marketing spending by life sciences companies. e-Detailing cuts costs, minimizing time spent by reps waiting for physicians to see them. Additionally, content developed for e-detailing can be used in medical sales training for new pharmaceutical sales reps. Finally, with the statistics gathered by e-detailing platforms, companies can identify potential "high prescribers" that can be specifically targeted by field reps.

Results of e-Detailing Studies

Virtual live e-detailing is associated with longer interactions with physicians without the associated waiting around involved in traditional sales calls. That means sales reps can increase the number of contacts per day. Scripted e-detailing leads to much longer physician engagement compared to face-to-face calls, coupled with reduced costs. 

2006 study of e-detailing in Denmark found that 97% of physicians found the techniques superior to paper-based information, with 89% finding it faster to obtain important information. Ninety-five percent of physicians found the presentations to be "good or very good" and 80% planned to continue accessing e-detailing.

e-Detailing is becoming an integral part of medical sales training due to convenience, cost savings, and effectiveness. Like any tools, e-detailing has to be used by trained sales reps, who must understand the various strengths and limitations of the techniques. With physician time increasingly in demand and in-person visits with sales reps increasingly squeezed for time, e-detailing is becoming indispensable in medical sales training, and will only increase in importance.

Biotechnology evolves rapidly, as do the tools pharmaceutical sales representatives use to reach customers. e-Detailing provides time-saving tools for reps as well as convenient, engaging ways for physicians to get the information they need conveniently and with minimal disruption. CLD understands that your reps are a huge investment, and we help companies like yours train reps in e-detailing and all other medical sales training techniques so they can achieve their goals and you can achieve yours. For more information, we invite you to contact us to learn more. 

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Topics: E-detailing