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Mobile Video Sales Certifications Open Doors for Pharmaceutical Companies [Case Study]

Chris Gish had a problem.

The Vice President of Sales at a global pharmaceutical company needed to certify the sales force on a new indication (read: usage) for one of the company’s drugs. On one hand, learning about the new indication wouldn’t require that much training. On the other, the firm’s 140 reps were scattered across the country, so flying everyone to HQ for a relatively short meeting would be a waste of both human and financial resources.

In the past, Gish would have simply resorted to using video conference software to hold a live training, but this method was cumbersome and offered no audit trail, which is critical for pharma companies. Recognizing that this problem presented an opportunity to improve the whole certification process, Gish considered several alternatives, ultimately picking Allego because it would enable him to certify reps on the product’s new use in an effective and compliant way—without requiring the time and expense of HQ travel.

“Compliance was adamant that we had to certify them on the new content,” said Gish. “But this was the first time I got them to agree not to certify the reps in person.”

A Two-Part Strategy to Certify Reps

To accomplish the feat, Gish devised a two-part strategy:

Part 1 was a televised meeting involving the entire organization. He gathered a handful of sales trainers and reps at the company’s headquarters to broadcast a presentation of the new content, which the rest of the sales team watched from their offices.

Part 2 was an assignment for each rep. “We gave everybody a week after the meeting to practice,” said Gish. “Then, we asked them to upload two practice videos to their manager, to get feedback from the manager, and then deliver their final video one week later, which they did.

“The manager would watch the videos, certify the reps or give them a failing grade, give them feedback where appropriate, and then share what was learned. We told each manager to take the very best video–only one–and send it to everybody else on his or her team. The sales director would then review the finalists. If he had nine or 10 managers, for example, he would look at these nine or 10 videos and pick one to send to everybody in the area. It was perfect.”

Video Gets People to Practice

One of the biggest benefits of video, said Gish, is that “it gets people to practice. Practice is important, and video is one of the best ways to do it.”

He noted than when sales reps are asked to record practice sessions on video, they rehearse their presentations an average of ten times before submitting a video for review. “When you have a platform like Allego, you get the benefit of having someone review the reps’ performance and give them feedback, and reps also get the benefit of doing it in the privacy of their own homes. And that seems to make people a lot happier.”

Mobile-video practice can also provide insights and reveal flaws that might otherwise go unnoticed during a purely “mental” rehearsal or a live role-playing session.

“While I was talking to a group of reps, they said, ‘I don’t know if I want to do the videos.’ When I asked why, they said, ‘I don’t like the way I sound on video.’ So I said, ‘You realize that’s what you actually sound like, right? The voice that you hear in your head – that’s not what the rest of us hear.’ That’s why video sales practice is one of the best ways to improve. It’s a great way to self-correct.”

In addition to the discipline provided by video rehearsal, Gish noted that mobile video also gives reps fast and easy access to more peer-to-peer learning opportunities – in the form of bite-sized best-practice examples, objection-handling instructions, and customer win videos. It’s one thing to see a leader showing you how to do something the right way, he said, but it’s even better when you see one of your peers deliver a great performance. “That really spurs them to practice.”

Involve Compliance Up Front

“Don’t assume that your compliance people aren’t going to be on board with this,” said Gish, “though it did take a little explaining at first, because we were recording people. We involved compliance from the start, and this process really grew their confidence because there were a couple of cases where somebody on a video said something that was non-compliant.”

In those cases, “the compliance people would come to me, saying, ‘Okay, we caught this problem on video.’ And then I would talk to the rep’s manager, the manager would give the rep some coaching, and we would document that coaching.

This provided compliance with evidence that an effort had been made to correct a problem, “…So if anybody ever comes calling about any of this stuff it would show that we did the right thing, as opposed to simply telling the rep ‘don’t do that.’” Documentation showing that the company made an effort to correct a problem is “another great case for this kind of certification.” 

Results

After all was said and done, Gish’s team was able to certify the field on the new indication in a much shorter period than had previously been possible. Reps practiced their messaging and walked into sales calls with the competence and confidence to make the most of their interactions with physicians and staff. The company now had a mechanism to ensure successful and speedy launches for new drugs without having to budget exorbitant amounts of money for training.

Gish’s problem was solved.