Here’s how an incentive program can help pharma manufacturers exceed their sales targets.

In the pharma industry, products rise and fall for various reasons. Central to a new product’s commercial success, however, is the sales reps and their motivation to sell.

Motivation is the key to any successful people management role, particularly in sales. Motivated workers perform better, leading to increased sales and profits for the company.

Incentive programs have proven to boost performance by anywhere from 25 to 44% if conducted in a way that addresses all issues related to performance and human motivation. So, it’s no surprise that 90% of top-performing companies use incentive programs to reward their sales associates. 

How a sales incentive program works

The purpose of a sales incentive is to help you connect your sales team to your sales plan. It’s a way to set targets, engage interest, motivate performance and reward success.

Achievement Awards Group designs tailored sales incentive programs that meet your sales objectives specifically. A measurement system is used to define behaviours and ROI. From there, the program features regular, targeted communications to inform, educate and motivate sales staff. All incentive programs have a wide range of customised rewards for motivational appeal and maximum impact.

Benefits of a sales incentive program

A well-structured incentive program encourages your sales reps to be their best, empowering them to meet their targets on time, every time. And improved sales performance means increased sales for your company, and satisfaction with your sales staff.

Other benefits of sales incentive programs within the pharma industry include:

Increased motivation and productivity

The most obvious benefit of a sales incentive program is motivation. It’s a great way to jump-start your sales team and get them excited about selling your products again. This increase in motivation will inevitably lead to an increase in productivity, something that all pharma manufacturers need to get their products moving fast.

Growing bottom line

When your pharma sales reps are motivated, you’re likely to see an increase in earnings for the entire company. Companies that offer a sales incentive program generally see a rise in their bottom lines that is in direct proportion to the sales generated by their sales teams.

Successfully launch new products and move old stock

A successful drug launch is becoming harder to achieve, with nearly half of product launches over the last eight years having underperformed. Continued pricing pressure, increased competition and more demanding consumers are some of the reasons for these failures. 

While many factors contribute to a successful launch, sales reps play a crucial role. A sales incentive program is a great way to bridge the gap between the launch strategy and the sales force.

When needing to move excess stock, an incentive program can also be used to motivate sales reps to sell more of certain drugs by setting targets and rewarding them.

Develop a skilled, knowledgeable sales team

In pharma sales, your sales reps must have the right education. A closer collaboration with sales reps through a medical education strategy is one way to ensure success at launch. After all, they’re the first to inform and educate health care professionals on your products.

Increased loyalty in sales reps & reduced turnover

As employees work harder to earn incentives, they are more likely to become loyal to the company they represent. This loyalty is a benefit both to your company and to your customers who can enjoy long-term business relationships with your sales reps.

How to structure your pharma sales incentive programs

For employee incentives to work, they must be done correctly.

Any incentives offered need to be relevant to the jobs to which they relate, in this case, pharma sales. They generally work best when linked with a good pay structure, favourable working conditions and acceptable management practices.

Other conditions for a well-structured incentive program include:

  • Tailored and targeted: Profile your target audience (i.e. sales reps) to ensure that a relevant and motivational reward is presented. 
  • Communicate clearly: A lack of good communication can cause frustration and disinterest from the participants.
  • Properly planned: Consider all eventualities before implementing.
  • Reviewed regularly & easily adaptable: Adopting a flexible incentive program will put you in a better position to adjust to changing market conditions and meet key objectives, such as the total number of prescriptions for a particular drug.
  • Keep things simple: Try to avoid creating overly complex incentive programs with multiple formulas and factors. Many incentive programs fail because of the complexity of reporting or how rewards are earned.

It’s all in the details

Incentive programs, even for small sales forces, involve many variables; and it can quickly become overwhelming when trying to administer. Many pharma companies will either hire an internal team or outside experts, to help develop and manage the incentive program.

Getting assistance from experts in this field helps ensure quality control and integrity of the data and reporting. It also helps commercial teams feel confident, and sales reps more motivated and satisfied.

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