How tabs help with Consultative Sales?

  • In today’s day and age, pharma sales reps should know the in and out details of the product, they are selling. This means they should be aware of the indications, interactions and contraindication of their products. They must adhere to the industry’s codes and rules and regulations and act according to the Government regulations.
  • Pharma companies have now moved to using customer management tools and sales force automation to help out their medical reps. With the various advancements in gadgets, a number of tools like tablets and laptops have been introduced, but with limited success in this field.
  • What does consultative selling mean?
  • The term “Consultative Selling” first appeared in 1973, in a book named Consultative Selling by Mack Hanan. He was the one who coined the term. Other contributors are, James Cribbin and Herman Heiser. Since then many companies have made their own versions of the book and model.
  • Meaning: Personal selling in which a salesperson plays the role of a consultant. He or she first assists the buyer in identifying his or her needs and then suggesting products that satisfy those needs.
  • The best example that can be used to explain consultative selling is farming.
  1. A farmer doesn’t sow and grow his seeds all in one day. It takes a LONG time before that happens. He needs to remove and get rid of all the obstacles that come his way, like removing trees, rocks, stones, etc. from the soil. This is how a sales meeting is done. It doesn’t all happen in one day. It takes time.
  2. The farmer then prepares the soil for planting. This is similar to determining the customer’s needs.
  3. After all this, he plants his seeds. This is the same thing like sales reps presenting their recommendations to customers.
  4. Once the seeds are planted, the farmer needs to take care of them. He needs to get rid of all bugs and insects. This stage is similar to resolving all objections.
  5. Lastly, comes the harvest. You reap what you sowed. This part is the same as closing the deal.
  6. This is a long process and takes a lot of time.
  • Hence, we can say that Consultative selling has 5 steps.
  1. Step 1: – Positioning the meeting:
  • Since a sales call is a meeting, it requires an investment of time. The positioning of the meeting means,
  1. Make the customer feel at ease,
  2. Setting an agenda,
  3. And preparing the customer for the questioning process.
  • Usually, this phase lasts for up to 5mins if the physician is free. But if he/she is busy, it barely lasts for 2mins.
  1. Step 2: – Analyzing the situation:
  • The general fact is that the more questions you ask, the more sales you get. But only once you are inside the physician’s chamber can you assess and analyse the situation accordingly, which is the most crucial part of all.
  • You need to listen and question correctly because they are the key to making a deal. Remember all the sales training you got? Now’s a good time to use all those training skills. Poke and probe in the right direction and you are bound to find your what your customer’s needs are.
  1. Step 3: – Offering of recommendations:
  • This step/phase is the favourite of all sales reps because now it when they get to talk their heart out. Here, the reps try to offer physicians ideas that are beyond the product line. A lot of surveys suggest that this phase makes most of the sales reps very comfortable.
  1. Step 4: – Resolving the issue and objections if any:
  • This is the most challenging part of the whole thing. Most sales reps hate this part because it isn’t a pleasant feeling to be rejected. Having to deal with resilient buyers is a very frustrating feeling. But nonetheless, they do it. Consultative selling looks at objections as unfulfilled desires of the customers. Sales reps use these objections to transform them into a need and make sure the customer involves himself and together resolve the issue.
  1. Step 5: – Closing the deal:
  • Here comes the trickiest phase of all. This phase is when the sales reps try to make a deal with the physician or to at least establish the plan of action. The previous phase focuses on resolving all objections made by the physician. Now is the time to confirm and close the deal.
  • What are the challenges faced by Consultative Selling in Pharma?
  • Pharmaceutical sales calls are unexpected and come out of the blue. This is why sales representatives cannot make formal presentations using notebook PCs and mostly rely on printed collateral. Printed material is often outdated, lacks information and is difficult in making an informative dialogue. Because of this, many pharmaceutical industries have made the decision to use tablets and electronic promotional material. While there are companies that stand by the use of tablets, some companies deploy it, for example, Merck and Co., AstraZeneca, etc.Tablet PCs run apps that support pharmaceutical sales cycle, from accessing CRM-based contact information to getting electronic signatures.
  • How can tablets make Consultative Selling easier?
Issues faced by MRs Benefits of handheld tablets Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Limited time for sales Content is available anywhere Average duration of sales calls
Dynamic. Up-to-date information which catches the doctor’s attention
Documentation of visit Material presented is easily tracked Improved accuracy of sample inventory
Sample info and signatures can be collected at the point of delivery Sales calls per day increase
Form-based CRM entry is
linked to the sample and
presentation data
Better customer service
Improves response time since sales team is updated immediately
Need to respond to objections immediately Every information received is organized and readily available Increased professionalism
Information is referenced using gesture technology Increased prescriptions
Search option is available and capable for all data
  • Conclusion:
  • Tabs support the concept of this new promotional material. The use of tabs helps save time. How you may ask. Simple. Whenever a new product is launched, all the sales reps need to do is download the materials for that particular product and they are good to go. This saves paper, which in turn saves the environment. It reduces paperwork and has an all-time availability of information – personal, history, purchases, etc. Time saved will make the sales reps more productive. The use of tabs can lead to an extensive customer relationship. Reps can incorporate information that pertains to a particular customer and then show him/her the benefits of the product, stressing the benefits that are most effective to physicians, hospital dispensaries, and pharmacists.
  • If sales reps are looking for a long-term relationship with the physician, rather than have sales calls that are designed to bring in a product day in and day out, they need to be more successful. All this can be seen as an opportunity to build the kind of relationship you are looking for.
  • About Veltrod:
  • Veltrod offers on-demand, affordable mobile SFA solution to manage end to end activities and performance of medical representatives, efficiently with ease. For a demo,  please drop an email to

About Author

Zeina Sravya

Zeina Sravya

Zeina Sravya is a Marketing Technologist, a strategist & a visionary with experience in traditional & digital marketing. She is responsible for the development & execution of sales force effectiveness strategies, tools, processes for SFA for pharmaceutical companies. Lead key initiatives, critical projects & continuous improvement activities.

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