Corporate sales training is a constantly evolving and difficult issue for companies to tackle. In pharmaceutical sales, the stakes are high as nearly two-thirds of all pharmaceutical launches don’t meet pre-launch sales expectations. Additionally, sales teams are shrinking and the need for technology-savvy pharma sales reps is more apparent than ever before.
The challenges of pharmaceutical sales training include adapting to emerging and evolving technologies, information retention, engagement, and effective communication. As pharmaceutical giants invest more money into training programs, the future of training has evolved to include mobile gamification and progressive engagement driven courses.
Pharmaceutical Training Elements to Drive Long-Term Success
According to the The Association for Talent Development, US companies spend approximately $20 billion on sales training each year. In the pharmaceutical industry, large budgets are allocated to train pharma sales reps. ROI is calculated using different metrics such as retention through assessments and quarterly sales figures.
With resources available and results measurable, what should your company focus on to achieve the best training results?
- Focus on Retention to See Maximum Results
Information Retention Over Time
The good news is that information retention can be improved across pharmaceutical companies. The key is to focus on proven sales techniques and adapt those strategies to different learning styles. If you can create a system of engagement and incentives aligned with constant active learning, employee motivation to learn will increase.
Currently, 36% of pharma sales rep training budgets go to new hires who average 32 days of training during their first year. Veteran pharma sales reps, on the other hand, will only have 10 days of training per year. In a market that is constantly adapting, training should include a heavy technological component and consistent refresher content to propel information retention. The challenge is keeping the content relevant, engaging, and fun.
- Implement Gamification and Mobile Technology
With the favorable adoption of mobile technology, mobile gamification apps have emerged as the frontrunners in engagement and information retention solutions. A survey of 28 sales leaders from the world’s top 25 pharmaceutical companies revealed that 38% of participants are currently using or planning to deploy a game-based application for pharma sales rep training.
Games, as an e-learning tool, can be geared towards both sales trainings and product launches. The power of game based applications is their flexibility and customization. Content can be produced to target specific learning goals.
- Consider Long-Term Spaced Learning
Spaced learning is the concept of extending training over a longer period of time to improve retention and motivation. Compared to intensive training, spaced learning allows pharma sales reps to move at a pace that is comfortable with their learning abilities.
Spaced learning works best with e-learning and can be implemented with a gamification app. These apps pull previously tested information into new lessons to improve retention. The process of repeating information gradually over time has been proven to slow the forgetting curve and increase long-term retention by 200%.
In pharma sales rep training, the benefits of implementing digital spaced learning training include more personalized training at a lower cost and more engagement. Another benefit is the ability to easily measure the results of each training session, as data is refreshed and organized immediately. This allows for a leaner approach to test different methods and find what works best for the learner, training coordinators, and the bottom-line.
Read the other articles in this series:
With a $1.05 trillion market cap, how are today's world-competitive pharma companies using technology to accelerate and enable sales?
- 5 Benefits pharma companies seek in mobile apps
- Do mobile apps really work to accelerate sales?
- Pharma sales costs and trends
- Atrivity case study: how to increase sales 20%
- Key takeaways & statistics