More sales force cuts predicted for ’07

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Expect to see continued field force downsizing in 2007 as pharmaceutical companies experiment with new sales execution strategies to improve their market position, said Mike Luby, CEO of prescribing behavior tracking firm TargetRx. 

“There are very few CEOs that are going to stand in front of Wall Street and say, ‘We think our sales force is too small,’” Luby told MM&M.

“What you’ll also see inside every company now is piloting,” he said. “They all are looking
for the new model and experimenting with new go-to-market strategies.”

Luby’s firm TargetRx recently completed its 2007 Sales and Marketing Quality Analysis designed to measure and actively manage sales force quality.

The analysis results reflect over 100,000 physician surveys completed during 2006 relating to physicians’ interactions with pharmaceutical company sales representatives.

Data were included for more than 100 brands in a diverse range of therapeutic areas.

According to the results, Boehringer Ingelheim, followed by Novartis and Schering-Plough, were ranked as the top three companies in overall sales and marketing quality by primary care physicians. Bristol-Myers Squibb, followed by Abbott and Novartis, were ranked the top three in overall sales and marketing quality by specialty physicians.

Luby said the analysis has been well received, especially at the executive levels of many of the companies included. 

“I think the industry has come to realize they need to do better at understanding the kind of
language that’s going to get physicians to prescribe for appropriate patients,” he said.

Other companies included in the analysis were Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Takeda, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Wyeth, AstraZeneca and Forest Pharmaceuticals.
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