Pharma sales execs: Current model is broken; changes are coming

Pharma sales and marketing execs are pessimistic about the way things are being done. In fact, a recent Booz & Company and National Analysts Worldwide survey found 68% of these execs believe the current business model is broken.

The survey queried the execs, who were based either in the U.S. or one of 5 big EU countries, to determine the challenges pharma sales and marketing groups face. The online survey generated responses from 156 people from a diverse range of pharma companies.

According to the results, respondents anticipate a number of significant challenges over the next two years, including growing healthcare system price and budget pressures (76% of respondents), a growing need to demonstrate cost effectiveness/outcomes (70%), more restrictive market access (69%), decreasing sales-force access to doctors (53%) and patient ability to pay (50%).

And don't look for them to allocate more sales and marketing expenditures to community doctors. Thirty-two percent expect to allocate less to this group, while many expect to spend more with key accounts and payers.

Marketing activities will also change. Almost 60% of respondents indicated they will rely more on pricing strategies and innovative pricing as their service models begin to change. Meanwhile, 56% said they will depend more upon payer collaborations, while 55% said pharmacoeconomic studies will be of increasing importance.

To communicate, 58% said they would allocate more toward MD-oriented social media, while 55% indicated that more would go toward mobile technologies. Print media would receive less: 39% said they would allocate less toward MD print and journal advertising.

"Those of us who work with pharma companies to develop and implement commercialization strategies know very well the challenges of maximizing asset value in this new environment, where both key customers and customer expectations are being redefined," explained Susan McDonald, CEO of National Analysts Worldwide and leader of the firm's healthcare practice, in a release. "We're not surprised to hear people acknowledge that they can't count on doing 'business as usual' and that they're looking for new ways to gain traction."

- check out the release