Did you know?

  • A staggering 1.6 million new cancer cases were diagnosed, and 602,347 lives were lost to cancer in 2020, as reported by the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS).
  • At 18%, cancer drugs make up the largest share of the global pharmaceuticals market share, and it is expected to go up to nearly 22% by 2025, as per the Statista Health Market Outlook.
  • The oncology drug sales market is poised to generate $2.2 trillion in sales between 2023 and 2029, according to GlobalData.

These numbers underscore the profound impact of cancer on our society and shed light on the pharmaceutical industry’s deep commitment to this critical therapeutic area. As a result, the oncology space is highly complex and competitive, posing great challenges for pharmaceutical companies to provide differentiated value.

Getting oncology sales numbers right

To provide differentiated value, pharmaceutical companies need to develop capabilities in their sales teams to respond to the continuously evolving care and treatment paradigms. They must be aware of the latest research and developments in oncology medication and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.

One of the key changes in the care and treatment options for cancer patients is the wide adoption of precision medicine. This innovative approach leverages the power of genomics and personalized therapies, while taking into account individual lifestyle and environmental factors, to tailor cancer treatment plans to the unique genetic makeup of individual patients.

Precision medicine offers new hope and effective treatments to cancer patients, and it poses newer challenges for pharmaceutical companies to prepare their customer-facing teams with deep knowledge—from genetics to patient profiling and diagnostic biomarkers to the skill set to engage and build relationships with all key stakeholders—from HCPs to GPOs, insurers, and hospital procurement departments.

Three things oncology sales specialists need to succeed

Oncology drug sales specialist is a role that requires much more than selling skills. The need to keep up with the latest research, clinical trials, developments, and innovations in treatments and therapies adds to the challenge for both training and customer-facing teams.

1. Comprehensive knowledge of cancer

The study of genetics has revolutionized how we understand cancer and approach its care and treatment. Oncology sales specialists should understand the role of inherited genes and acquired genetic mutations and be able to communicate the role they play in oncology. Knowing how certain genes affect the care and treatment options of cancer patients is important. Understanding transformative precision medicine, now the preferred treatment option, will be easier for sales specialists who understand genetics in oncology. The onus is on training teams to provide sales reps with updated and relevant learning resources on an ongoing basis to develop knowledge of cancer.

2. Cancer care and treatment information at the fingertips

Understanding the symptoms, early detection, screening, diagnosis, types of therapies, and pain management plays a role in the ability to effectively engage with key stakeholders who rely on sales reps for credible information. In cancer care, it is imperative for sales reps to know precision medicine and the types of cancer in which it helps with treatment options. Oncologists expect sales reps to present novel data or information during their short visits. A ZoomRx study uncovered that 43% of visits where sales reps used visual aids (print or digital) rated as high impact versus 35% of visits without visual aids. This gives training teams an excellent opportunity to equip oncology sales reps with visual aids and strategies to engage effectively and demonstrate value in a meeting whose median length is only 10 minutes.

3. Understanding of oncology-specific marketplace and business acumen

The healthcare system is complex and the oncology marketplace adds to its complexities. Oncology sales often involve high-cost treatments, so the financial aspects play a crucial role in decision-making. Along with clinical pathways, sales reps need to be well-versed in healthcare economics, which includes reimbursement models, formulary decisions, and the cost-effectiveness of therapies. Given the patient-centric focus in oncology, sales reps must have the skill to articulate how the product improves patient outcomes, addresses side effects, and enhances overall wellbeing. With the increasing adoption of precision medicine, sales reps must have the knowledge and skills to explain how their products align with personalized treatment plans.

How can CMR help training leaders?

CMR maintains a library of learning content on oncology. Our Oncology: Treatment and Management and Oncology Business Acumen training are widely used by pharmaceutical companies with oncology portfolios to train their teams. Three new eModules—Genetics in OncologyPrecision Medicine and Patient Identification in Oncology, and Diagnostic Advances and Mutations in Oncology were recently added to our oncology learning library.

Training leaders can save valuable resources and minimize delivery timelines and costs with this customizable and always up-to-date eLearning content. Training leaders can leverage CMR’s subject matter expertise in oncology, deep expertise in online learning design and development, and years of experience in enabling oncology sales teams of various pharmaceutical companies to create custom learning solutions.

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