If you have been an oncology sales rep (or witnessed one in action), you know the difficulty in reaching many oncologists. According to ZS’s latest AccessMonitor report, 65% of oncologists put “moderate to severe” restrictions on sales rep access (compared to 58% of cardiologists and 47% of primary care doctors).
Considering the industry’s sizable investment in oncology, pharmaceutical companies can’t simply ignore these restrictions and hope things get better on their own.
Looking at some of the AccessMonitor findings, you might find little reason for optimism:
- An average oncology sales rep gets access just seven to eight times a year.
- Fully 14% of oncologists are "infeasible" to reach, meaning zero access.
- On average, oncology reps are asked to deliver five calls a day, but deliver fewer than three.
But you aren’t powerless to improve access. Innovative pharmaceutical sales and marketing organizations can turn difficult market circumstances into a competitive advantage: The report showed that reps who detail three or more products will see an oncologist far more than those carrying one or two, while teams carrying a new oncology treatment tend to get better access immediately after launch.
While not all oncology reps can promote a large portfolio or a launch product, it’s clear that access improves when oncology reps have more to offer to oncologists. Pharmaceutical companies need to offer unique, tailored services through reps to engage customers, and do so from the perspective of the oncologist. These themes are explored in greater depth in Oncology Reps New Mantra: Provide Real Value, Maintain Access, an article that my colleague Ganesh Vedarajan and I recently published.
I invite you to share your thoughts: can customized services open doors that seem permanently shut?
About the Author
Jon Roffman is a Principal at ZS Associates and based in the firm's Boston office. Jon is the leader of ZS’s Oncology Field Strategy practice. He has helped numerous companies address sales and marketing issues in oncology, with an emphasis in launch planning, field force strategy and execution, and also has led several initiatives to design innovative customer engagement and deployment models in oncology.