Market access training can help you and your sales teams identify strategic opportunities to support your customers and ensure that patients receive the critical therapies they need. This was true before the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s still the case today.

Here are some tips on how you and your sales team can protect access to your product and help your customers get the support they need to be successful as they respond to a new healthcare environment.

What Market Access Looks Like Today

Some new product launches have been halted during the pandemic, and manufacturers haven’t been able to rely on their traditional promotional strategies. With sales teams unable to visit their customers in-person, many are adding more virtual selling to the mix.

For many organized providers across the country, value analysis and P&T committee meetings have been put on hold. Instead, the focus in recent weeks has been on managing a surge of COVID-19 patients and securing supplies to keep their staff safe. Meanwhile, many non-COVID patients have stayed away from healthcare providers and delayed getting necessary treatment, including new prescriptions, because of the crisis.

For your account teams, the disruption caused by COVID-19 could affect formulary reviews and present added market access challenges. At least one consultant, writing in Pharmacy Times, predicted that customers might be less likely to enter complex, risk-based contracts with manufacturers in the months ahead.

But in other ways, patient access to pharmaceuticals has eased as a result of the pandemic. To ensure their members have access to the drugs they need, health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have changed some of their utilization management policies.

According to the actuarial services firm Milliman, many PBMs have extended prior authorizations for previously approved prescriptions. In addition, several health plans are easing up on their early refill policies. Aetna is waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for members who receive their drugs through CVS Caremark.

Other payers are actively moving members to mail-order pharmacy services. Cigna is offering free home delivery of up to 90 days of prescription maintenance medications through Express Scripts Pharmacy.

Improving Pharmaceutical Market Access During The Pandemic

Not knowing when personal interactions with customers will resume in the field can be frustrating for your highly motivated sales representatives. Fortunately, there are strategies that you and your team can use to support customers and ensure that patients have access to your brands. Consider these approaches:

Step up virtual promotion

If your sales team needs to build its virtual selling acumen, add a training module on e-detailing to your remote learning schedule. Your team should also recognize that your customers have different communication preferences, and some may prefer one mode of virtual selling to another.

Don’t underestimate the power of email

A simple but targeted subject line is most likely to engage your customers. Train your sales teams to personalize their messages (rather than relying solely on templates) and propose solutions based on the customer’s patient or member population. Your team’s communication should avoid overly promotional language and focus on the support that they can provide.

Keep the resources coming

In many areas of the country, health care providers are slowly seeing patients (either in-person or via telemedicine) and scheduling elective procedures once again. That means they still need resources that can improve patient adherence to their treatment plans. This includes patient education, coupons and co-pay cards, onboarding resources, and other types of support.

Providers are still seeking solutions that help them manage population health, particularly when many patients have postponed necessary treatments because of the crisis.

Manage your team’s expectations

Don’t expect a full return to normal any time soon. It’s likely that virtual selling (from e-detailing to live or on-demand speaker programs) will account for a larger share of your team’s promotional activities in the month’s ahead.

Finding the right balance of marketing activities to protect your brand’s access will require some nimbleness from your team. Qualities like emotional intelligence and resilience that make your sales reps successful in the field will also help them adapt to this new selling environment.

Market Access Training Program

Training can improve your team’s chances of success in this uncertain market. CMR Institute offers a variety of market access training courses that can serve as the foundation of your market access curriculum. This includes topics such as:

  • Value-Based Care and the Changing Healthcare Delivery Model (click for a demo of this module)
  • Current Trends in Healthcare
  • Today’s Medical Groups and the Transition to Value-Based Care
  • Key Issues Affecting Physician Practices
  • The Affordable Care Act
  • Population Health Management: A Strategy for Higher Quality and Lower Costs (click for a demo of this module)
  • Major Healthcare Payers and Managed Care Payment
  • Selling in a Hospital Environment
  • Selling to Federal Accounts
  • Commercial Health Insurance
  • Understanding Medicare Part D
  • Government Healthcare Programs
  • Employers and Individual Consumers as Healthcare Purchasers
  • EHRs and Health Information Technology
  • Information Technology in Managed Healthcare

These market access courses can give you and your team the essential market knowledge needed to successfully call on physicians, hospitals, and payers, virtually or in-person.

Virtual Selling And Other Market Access Pharma Courses

CMR Institute’s new virtual selling module, Engaging Your Customers: Virtual Promotion Strategies That Work, includes practical strategies that your team can use to improve access to your product through e-detailing and other virtual selling tools.

We also offer several concise eBriefs to quickly bring your team up to date on organized providers such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and integrated delivery networks (IDNs). We can also provide practical tools like job aids to help your team have more meaningful customer conversations, whether they are selling face-to-face or virtually.

You can find more market access training courses and other resources in our extensive course catalog.

Upskilling Now For Successful Virtual Selling And Re-Entry Into The Field

You and your sales team will be tested in the coming months as you experiment with new ways to engage your customers. 

Let us help you prepare your team with better market access knowledge that they can use now during virtual calls and later on when they re-enter the field. Reach out to us at (800) 328-2615 or at to learn how we can provide you with a custom home study program or other resources.

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