Biologic Manufacturing
Competitive selling

New Pharmaceutical Sales Strategies in a Competitive Market

Is Competition Poised to Take Over Your Market Share?

January 23, 2024 – 5 min read

Your pharmaceutical company has basked in the glory of being the market leader for a specific product for many years. However, in the wake of your success, your competitors intensified their research and development efforts. Now, they are poised to unleash their own version that promises to disrupt the market dynamics. Your rivals are eagerly awaiting the final FDA approval of their product and have meticulously prepared their sales and marketing teams to swoop in and seize your market share? So, what are you doing to combat this threat? This article provides some key strategies that will help you stay in the game and continue to dominate it. 

Focus on Value and Advisement

One of the biggest challenges pharma companies face is increased competition in an already crowded marketplace. Every time a new competitor enters the picture, the marketplace changes.  Your reps suddenly find themselves in a new arena—because their HCP customers have yet another prescribing option to add to their decision-making.

Facing an onslaught of similar product offerings, reps can no longer differentiate solely on clinical outcomes. Instead, they must shift focus to differentiating based on value. This calls for a more consultative approach, with reps positioning themselves as trusted peers who can advise HCPs. It requires having in-depth clinical knowledge of your products to highlight nuances and uncover unmet needs.  

biomedical vial and needle for medication

Facing an onslaught of similar product offerings, reps can no longer differentiate solely on clinical outcomes. Instead, they must shift focus to differentiating based on value. 

Improve Product Knowledge and Differentiation

Allowing skilled reps to use their clinical expertise and consultative strengths can shape a powerful differentiation strategy to help improve engagement. Companies should consider investing in programs that will equip sales teams with the knowledge to have peer-level discussions about the subtle yet meaningful distinctions between superficially similar therapies.  The focus is on understanding each product’s niche, allowing sales reps to offer personalized guidance on integrating treatment plans. Through thoughtful preparation and positioning, the shift in focus to differentiation based on value can make sales reps indispensable partners to the HCPs they serve. 

Build HCP Engagement by Adopting a Customer-Centric Focus

Today, HCPs are increasingly pressed for time, making it crucial for your sales reps to maximize the impact of each interaction to drive results.  The ability to create more meaningful, tailored conversations will result in higher engagement and willingness to spend more time with the rep.. Sales reps can achieve this by asking insightful questions, actively listening to the customer, and focusing on how to solve the challenges and meet the goals of HCPs rather than quickly jumping into a product pitch. Reps can also use insights from data, market research, or other sources to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the HCP’s inherent challenges. 

Along with sharpening competitive positioning externally in the marketplace, pharma companies should also consider adopting a customer-centric mindset internally. This might mean structuring initiatives, processes, and continual development around the customer experience rather than internal goals or rigid ways of working.

One of the critical success factors is the frontline leaders’ ability to coach and develop their sales teams in this customer-centric world. Ongoing coaching and feedback are essential to hone your sales reps’ consultative skills for partnering effectively with HCPs under intensifying competition.

Sales rep using key to unlock ideas

By 2030, patents will expire for nearly 200 drugs, and almost every major pharma company will be impacted. 

Leverage an Omnichannel Approach

Adopting an omnichannel approach can provide pharma companies with a competitive edge. Companies can achieve more personalized and consistent outreach by coordinating messaging across in-person, email, social media, and other touchpoints. Robust analytics should reveal preferences and gaps that can inform a differentiation strategy and allow tighter targeting. Armed with this 360-degree view of the customer, sales reps can proactively provide information that’s most relevant to each healthcare professional’s practice.  

Omnichannel personalization helps reps stay top-of-mind while addressing individual HCP needs. By combining clinical prowess with a tailored omnichannel strategy, reps can shift focus to differentiating based on value and become indispensable partners. 

Enlist the Help of Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can power competitive sales and marketing strategies. AI and predictive analytics can help uncover deep insights into prescribing behaviors, treatment patterns, and the patient journey to inform real-time data-driven targeting, positioning, and engagement strategies. As new data is gathered, machine learning algorithms automatically adjust recommendations to optimize sales rep success. AI-driven analytics also frees reps to focus more attention on strategic, high-value activities with healthcare customers rather than getting stuck in manual data crunching. 

In Sum

Competing successfully in pharma requires new frameworks, processes, skills, technologies, and ways of partnering tailored to today’s busy HCPs. While intensifying competition can be challenging for sales reps, pharma sales leaders who take proactive and strategic steps to build product knowledge, differentiate offerings, prioritize customers, and leverage AI will sustain strong momentum into the future. A renewed commercial strategy focused less on transactions and volume and more on relationships and value promises continued growth even as products mature in the market lifecycle. 

male pharma rep engaging with healthcare providers

Discover How PDG Helped a Major Pharma Company Prepares its Sales Reps for New Competition.

Our Expert
Jeff Weisiger, JD

Jeff Weisiger, JD brings 25 years of experience as a former life sciences sales leader to help companies improve revenue by bridging the gap between commercial strategy and slaes execution.

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