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    How Does A Pharma Rep Stays Motivated In Hard Times?

    Motivated pharma sales rep
    Anyone who involves in sales, which includes pharmaceutical sales rep, needs to stay motivated most, if not, all of the time. The challenge is not only to get excited but to keep them at that level. 

    It is not an easy task, especially in a bad economic situation.

    In the previous post, we've looked at how sales target influence sales rep income. It is a genetic correlation, and most people who do sales get it.

    In a hard time, like in a financial downturn, sales target doesn't seem to take the 'down' turn. 

    For individual companies, they took this as the time to work extra hard, and the simplest way for them is to make the salespeople chase after a bigger target.

    For salespeople, when numbers are not coming in, and they still need to meet the plan because, perhaps, a personal commitment they've made previously, it is easy to find them facing 'burnout.' 

    As a salesperson myself, getting into sales burnout is not difficult, getting out of it is.

    So, what can you do as a salesperson to stay motivated in this trying time?

    A lot is going on in the Pharmaceutical industry as I'm writing this. 

    Restructure, reshuffle, layoff, and generic replacement are just tips of the iceberg. 

    Many things are brewing, and sort of under the radar ;)

    So how a pharma rep can stay motivated despite all these?

    Allow me to share my personal experience going through them all these years. 

    If you like what you read, try it on for size and see if it fits.

    Case #1: Bestselling Antibiotic Gone Generic (2000)

    I refrain from naming the product and company, but you could probably guess from my list of past employers ;)

    One thing for sure, the company was well prepared for it. 

    Previously, it went through a bitter experience when its tranquilizer brand's patent expired.


    A well-prepared company does make a difference. 

    It makes the transition process easier and smoother for everyone.

    But then again, in this case, there's so little role that a rep can play. 

    It's more like moving along.

    If there's a lesson to be learned from this event: 

    it's the realization that patent expiration is real. 

    Losing product patent expiration is going to happen sooner or later. 

    When that happens, notice that it does not affect a single person. 

    It affects everyone to a certain degree.

    And it's good to be well prepared, individually or as a whole company.

    It is also good to be able to share the burden, even if it just to voice it out to someone who's in the same shoes :)

    So, patent expiry is real, accept the fact, talk about it if appropriate, and be prepared. Then move on...

    Case #2: Global Product Suspension (2005)

    Well, it's around that time...

    The product was a painkiller and sold a lot worldwide. 

    Due to an adverse event by another brand of the same class, from another company, the authority decided to temporarily suspend the sales of the drug.

    The company responded by reducing factory output and axed some jobs, which include sales and marketing department.

    That took place globally.

    I remember a motivator was called in to uplift the spirit of sales reps at that time. 

    He was from a neighboring country, and I saw that he had a very vague idea about what's going on at the moment.

    It's a commendable effort anyway.

    The take-home message?

    Find your inner strength. The external force could not bring out what's not there, inside of you.

    If you only have fear, skepticism, and negativity inside, when you're squeezed, that's all you're going to get.

    It is also helpful if you stay motivated all the time, even a few minutes a day, and not wait for that 'squeezy' moment to pay you a visit.

    Case #3: Blockbuster Cardio Drug Hit by Generic

    Unlike the previous case of the antibiotic, in the year 200, this cardio product patent was not yet expired.

    But those generic's scientists were genius, meaning: 

    they're very good at what they do.

    They spot a loophole in the compound and quickly capitalize on it. 

    After all, it's worth going through the hassle. 

    The product sales were well in the billion dollars range!

    The company did respond to this. 

    It launched a lawsuit campaign.

    The campaign did not pan out. 

    In certain areas, the generic was allowed to be marketed. 

    Since the price is lower, and the efficacy appears to be the same, the generic came out the winner!

    This time, the original company responded with the classic move: 

    jobs cut to lower expenses.

    And our local office sent out the voluntary separation scheme offers...

    And I took it!

    It was a mix of faith and rapid survival calculation that lead to my decision. 

    It had the element of 'I had it with this person,' not the job, and 'what if there's a better world out there?'.

    I plunged ahead and move on.

    My message to you: 

    don't wait for the perfect time. At times, trust your instinct, have faith, and keep moving.

    You are alive as long as you keep moving. 


    It won't hurt if you add a clear direction :)

    As a parting thought, rainy days and sunshine take a turn in showing up in your life. 

    We always know what to do during good times, and the motivation is high during such a period.

    When it rains, it washes part of the motivation and could drench people wet in negativity, fear, and sorrow.

    As long as we're alive, let's accept the fact that things happen, it helps if we prepared, always maintain a positive outlook and good faith in things to come. 

    They make it easier for pharma sales reps (or others, for that matter) to stay motivated in hard times :)

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