After a strange holiday season and a tumultuous January, it is just now starting to feel like a new year. With 2020 behind us we can finally begin to look forward. While there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel, it is also true that as we close to one full year of our COVID “normal”. The need to work effectively in a virtual environment is still very much a requirement.
So, what does this mean for your sales representatives who are itching to get out there and kick off this new year and “get back to normal”? As we look forward, it is becoming increasingly clear that, no matter how hard everyone wishes for it, there is most likely no “going back” to a fully in-person sales environment for many field forces. Representatives who can strategize on how to approach their territories with a hybrid model of in-person and virtual calls, deciding when it is best and safest to meet with an HCP in person and when it is best to engage virtually, will be the most successful in this environment.
A recent Medical Marketing and Media article states, “That’s not just because they (digital platforms) enabled business to continue through last spring’s COVID surge (and likely the current one), but also because they proved themselves worthy of future use, promising longer, richer interactions with the industry’s most important and elusive customer.” With COVID cases ebbing and flowing, this hybrid model may look a little different depending on geography and access. Someone in the Northeast may still spend the majority of their time making virtual calls, with some in-person interactions. For someone in the Southeast, the percentage of in-person calls may be higher, with virtual calls still in the mix.
Update your Sales Toolkit
To empower sales representatives to work effectively in this hybrid model, they must have a variety of digital marketing and sales tools in their toolkits, as well as training in the unique skills needed to sell virtually. Do they have both digital and print copies of core marketing materials? Are they prepared to work with gatekeepers to get the most virtual or face-to-face time with their HCPs? Are they ready to strategize how to “mix” their approach to both face-to-face and digital interactions by, for example, sending an email follow-up after they meet with a doctor in person? Or are they able to, as they look at their territories, increase efficiency by implementing virtual calls instead of spending significant travel time to get to their customers?
Virtual Selling: Making the Connection
At the beginning of the pandemic, we at Whole Systems saw that there was an immediate need for training in how to sell virtually. Looking forward, we understand that there will continue to be a critical need for training for representatives operating in this hybrid model of face-to-face and virtual interactions. So, we created Virtual Selling: Making the Connection as a tool to teach your representatives the unique skills to be effective in the virtual environment, to maximize the time they spend with customers on a virtual platform or via phone interactions, and to ensure effective digital follow up, etc.
The days of being on seemingly endless ZOOM calls may be nearing an end, but the need to succeed in face-to-face AND virtual interactions is not. 2020 may be gone, but being virtual is here to stay!