The medical representative’s manual
- Summary and Conclusion: Tell them what you have told them.
Where you have a guest presenter, make sure that you are there as an active participant for effective follow-up and learning purposes. Do not get yourself engaged or engrossed with trivial matters.
Write down all the questions asked and ensure that appropriate answers are provided.
Write and send your report to the head office within 24 hours.
Your seminar will be useless and a waste of resources without effective follow-up. You must have a follow-up plan.
- Follow the SOP that your company may attach as appendix to this manual.
- Revenue generation:
- Your company is a limited liability company whose continuous existence (growth and development) depends on the revenue generated by the activities of her component parts and staff.
- You are a critical factor and even an indispensable element in the revenue generation process. The company can only do well when you are doing well. Unfortunately, the reverse is true.
- It is, therefore, important that all your activities must be focused on generating revenue for the company. You must do everything possible to deliver your target on each product.
- It is always good to assume that the company depends on you for her nourishment. There should be passion for target achievement.
- No goods should be sold without a clear agreement on payment terms. Avoid dumping of goods. The customer will want to use you and your products to enhance his/her own business. It is left for you to disallow such tendency.
- Creating profitable customers is the sole purpose of your employment. You must carry this fact with you 24 hours of the day.
- During the course of revenue generation, expenses, must, as a rule, be incurred. These expenses include travelling, accommodation, telephone, seminar, vehicle repair and maintenance, meals, PR, etc.
- The company has given you a float (the disbursable and refundable fund given to a field staff at the beginning of service) to help you cope with these expenses.
- You are expected to fill the expense reimbursement form to be submitted by the end of first week of each month. This form will be checked and approved by your manager before it gets to the head office for further treatment. You must submit your expenses on a monthly basis or as otherwise stipulated.
- Expenses are not additional allowance and it is expected that you have created value for the company as a result of the expenses incurred.
- Expenses must have a direct bearing with the revenue. If you are not meeting your target, you must watch your expenses. Ideally, the total expenses (salary + bonus + operating expenses) incurred on you must be within the range of 0.1 to 3% of the total revenue generated by you.
- It is therefore your responsibility to watch your expenses and make sure there is a healthy relationship between the amount you are claiming and the cash lodgement made during the month.
- Fiddling with or manipulating your expenses for personal gain is career limiting. It will tarnish your record and retard your progression up the career ladder. It is always better to keep your expenses in check.
- Vehicles and other tools:
- Vehicles and other tools (laptop, iPad, phones, projector) are provided to aid the discharge of your duties and responsibilities.
- They are not provided as a matter of right but as a privilege which can be withdrawn if not properly utilised.
- There are terms and conditions to be met before some of these tools can be provided. It is your responsibility to check with the admin department on the provision of these tools.
- A vehicle should be made available to a medical representative who has been found worthy not later than 6 months after employment. The brand, model and age of the car is EXCLUSIVELY at the discretion of the management.
- The vehicle must be well taken care of and the head office must be informed of any unusual development (accident, unexpected mechanical development, etc).
- The vehicle should be used strictly for the business of the company and also for limited private use. Any trip outside the territory must be brought to the attention of the field manager and or the admin manager.
- Promotional Materials:
- You will be given promotional materials whose effective use will make your job easier.
- These materials include: detail aids, pens, key holders, scientific reprint, stickers, posters, gift items, detailing bags, product samples, etc.
- There will never be a time when you will have these materials in sufficient quantity. It is, therefore, your responsibility to ensure optimal usage for maximum sales effects.
- The detail aids are not ordinary papers to be kept without care in your car boot or under your bed at home. They should not be distributed anyhow at conferences or seminars. They should be used mostly when you are having a physical ‘one-on-one’ contact with the doctor or pharmacists.
- Product samples are to be utilised in the most cost-effective manner; vide a donation to the department or units or individuals with the highest potentials to make an impact.
- The medical representative as a MANAGER:
- You are the ambassador of the company in your territory. You must manage all the company assets effectively which include the products, the customers, the relationship, etc.
- You must protect the interest of the company and must not be seen or caught denigrating the company, her management or personnel, no matter your personal grievances.
- You must not re-invoice any head office supply without obtaining prior approval from your manager. Invoicing at arbitrary prices is an offence against the organisation. The company has invoicing price range for the different categories of customers and this must be strictly followed.
- If you collect goods from a distributor, you must make sure that the money is remitted instantly.
- You must follow the policies of the company as laid down. This is the only path to growth and development. If you have any concern with any of the policy statement, you must first comply before you can bring up your points for management’s consideration.
- You must manage the territory as a business entity. Goods should not be allowed to expire with the customers whether in the hospitals or pharmacies.
- No money collected for goods supplied must be appropriated without management approval. All sales proceeds must be paid into the company’s account.
- You must constantly seek to do things better. There must be a reason why you are in the territory and in employment. You are primarily a salesman and if you cannot sell and collect money, you have lost your right to employment. Things must be managed as if you owned them.
- Prices are fixed based on the information at management’s disposal. You are not allowed to tamper with the prices without prior arrangement and written approval.
- If you wish to leave the company for any reason, the best thing to do:
- Have an audience with your manager explaining (optional) why and when you want to leave.
- Write a resignation letter and submit to the appropriate quarter. It is wrong and insulting to send email without any prior discussion!!!
- Clean up your account both with the company and all third parties: distributors, institutions, etc.
- You must work FULLY to the last day of the notice period.
- Submit all company properties, reconcile your account and obtain a clearance letter before your final departure.
- It is wrong to leave the company arbitrarily. You may be jeopardising your future by so doing.
- Why medical representatives fail
Fixation on problems
- Most failures occur as a result of incessant complaints and getting fixated on problems rather than seeing them as opportunities and challenges to overcome.
- Some of these complaints include but not limited to:
* Our prices are too high, nobody is ready to buy.
* There are cheaper alternatives.
* Customers already have products that they are using.
* The doctors or the pharmacists are not co-operating.
* The head office staff are bad. They are not responsive.
* The job is too tedious.
* The salary is too small and the expenses allowed too low.
* My manager is not good.
* My territory is dry
* Etc, etc.
- The purpose of your employment is to solve problems. If you get fixated on problems, then you become a problem (yourself) to the company.
- Failures dwell on problems whereas achievers seek solutions to problems.
- Take a decision on which one you want to be.
- Our business is a third-party business. In most cases, you cannot talk to the consumers directly. You have to go through a third party: the doctor and the pharmacist, and convince them to recommend your product.
- Doing this requires a lot of hard work, knowledge, perseverance and focus. Failures are not interested in this long run. They want to short-circuit the process which has never worked. If you push your product to the pharmacy without generating demand, you are bound to fail. Either the pharmacist will not pay for the goods supplied or there will be no repeat order.
- A medical representative’s job is not an arm-chair job. It is for those who are ready to dig for water in a stony or rocky environment. It is a job for long-distance runners and not for the faint-hearted.
Lack of knowledge:
- You cannot give what you don’t have. Most medical representatives lack knowledge about their products and therefore have no confidence to face the doctors and pharmacists.
- Without basic knowledge about the products that you are detailing, you cannot succeed.
- Self-development is your personal responsibility. You cannot be taught all you need to know within a classroom setting and the limited time allowed for training. You must re-train yourself. Learn more about your products, competitors and the business environment.
- Failures in this field set out woefully. They see their employment as an opportunity to steal and become ‘rich’ rather a chance to prove their worth and advance in a chosen career path.
- Dishonesty manifests in different forms:
* Manipulating expenses. Making false or exaggerated claims.
§* Re-invoicing goods received from the head office at a higher price.
* Over invoicing. We had a case of a medical representative selling a product for N400 at a time when the distributor’s price was N160! To make matters worse, he still failed to remit the company’s share of the transaction.
* Misappropriating company’s resources. Representatives failing to remit money collected from customers.
* Working for two or three companies at the same time. Etc
- You can only run for a little while. Eventually, you will be caught and sacked. You may even be jailed if the case assumes a legal dimension.
- Failures do not obey rules
- They do not write their reports, nor do they follow up on regional or head office assignments.
- They carry on as if they owed allegiance to no one.
- Such individuals cannot last in the organisation.
- Success Factors:
- You must plan very well for your success.
- Gather planning data for your territory (number of hospitals, pharmacies, agencies, doctors, nurses, laboratories, etc.)
- Plan how to cover the target audience effectively.
- Create your own environment of success.
- Territory management is a must. Avoid zig-zag travel.
- People will buy into you first before they into buy what you represent.
- Effective salesmanship is relationship-building. You must have key doctors, pharmacists, etc., who are doing something for you in all the facilities, departments, units or agencies. You and your product must be known. There must be a minimum of five customers who can buy N500k – N1m or above of your product per month. You cannot be successful without these partners.
- These relationships are not built in one day or one month. It takes persistent efforts to get through.
- It starts from you: your dressing, attitudes, mannerism, salutations, motivation, etc.
- You must have knowledge about your products and the competing alternatives.
- You must have knowledge about the patho-physiology and management of the disease condition.
- You must have knowledge about your operating environment.
- You must constantly update your knowledge.
- Success requires focus on the assignment. You cannot succeed when your mind is on so many things at the same time.
- Many newly-employed medical representatives have their minds on:
* going back to school for postgraduate studies;
* Doing business;
* Travelling abroad;
- Salesmanship is a profession that demands focus, adequate tutelage and concentration for advancement.
- You cannot succeed if you see yourself bigger than the job.
- The initial period is usually very hot, hard and there will be a lot of insults and rejection. You have to humble yourself and in most cases stoop to conquer.
- Hard work and determination.
- Tenacity of purpose
- Characteristic honesty.
- Career Path:
- A very good medical representative should, within two or three years, have the opportunity of being promoted.
- Possible positions in ascending order include area manager or product manager, field force manager or group product manager, national sales manager or marketing manager, sales or marketing director and managing director.
- Job rotation is also possible. A very talented and interested medical representative can move to human resources or supply chain functions.
- At the end of the day, IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU!