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Fostering Relationships With Specialists

Specialty marketing training can help sales forces that promote specialty drugs foster relationships with specialists even when the business environment is challenging. And even though specialists have changed their business practices in 2020 to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are still seeing patients who require ongoing care for multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetic retinopathy, and other illnesses.

So there is still a critical need for specialty drug information and resources from healthcare sales professionals to help inform specialists’ decision-making. Here are some thoughts on how you and your team can ensure your customers get the information and programs needed to care for patients.

Selling Specialty Drugs: What You Can Do Now

You already know that every aspect of the industry has been affected by the pandemic. Some clinical trials and drug launches may be postponed this year, and the specialty drug supply chain has been severely disrupted by the crisis. What’s more, industry sales teams are working remotely. But even so, you can still build relationships virtually with your customers using e-detailing platforms and other tools.

In the weeks and months ahead, you can expect many specialty practices to be more strained than usual. Some of your customers may face smaller profit margins, as the pandemic affects their ability to see patients or schedule elective procedures. They also may be adapting to new technology like telemedicine to see patients remotely. In this challenging time, practices may have even more limited resources for patient care and education. In addition, patients may be sicker than usual because they had to postpone care during the initial stages of the pandemic.

With this added stress, specialty practices may look to you to offer meaningful support to their practices. CMR Institute has developed a tool to help you provide more value-added services to your customers. This Partnering with Specialists job aid also teaches you how to speak the language of specialists, whether you are selling remotely or in person .

Moving To Virtual Specialists

As a healthcare sales professional, you understand that when you sell to sophisticated customers like specialists, you need to lead with solutions. And that is especially critical now, when time is at a premium for most specialty practices. Consider the following tips as you shift your focus to virtual selling.

When you move to virtual selling, you need a narrative, or “story,” that can help make your presentation more compelling. One way to do this is to ask other specialists for patient stories that they have to share. Visuals also go a long way to make your case.

Data also helps set the scene. Make sure you understand what health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) data is available from your company that can help demonstrate the value of your specialty product or program.

Consider costs and offer patient assistance. Most specialty drugs cost more than traditional drugs, and this issue may come up during your virtual sales presentation. You’ll want to offer any data you have on how your product can help reduce other costs of care, such as unnecessary hospitalizations, complications, and so forth.

Because of the economic impact from the pandemic, many patients may be unemployed or underemployed and lack health insurance. Be sure the specialist is aware of coupons or co-payment cards and patient assistance programs that can reduce patient costs and help patients start or stick with their treatment plan. You’ll also want to continue to work with your hub services and/or field-based reimbursement team to address any other issues that can compromise patient access.

Continue to focus on quality. Even though the government has relaxed some of its reporting requirements for physicians because of the pandemic, specialty practices are still concerned about their quality measures. Make sure you understand what outcomes measures the practice might have in place that relate to your product so you can help them achieve their goals. 

Specialty Market Training Programs Available

CMR Institute also offers a range of specialty market training courses and other resources to prepare you and your team for calling on specialists today and when business returns to normal.

This includes topics such as:

You can find more information about the specialty market training courses in our extensive course catalog.

New Virtual Selling Courses

We recognize that selling is different when you cannot connect face-to-face with your customers. That’s why we have developed other resources that can help you sell virtually to specialists while social distancing guidelines are in place.

Our new virtual selling module, Engaging Your Customers: Virtual Promotion Strategies That Work,” provides best practices that healthcare sales professionals can use to engage specialists through e-detailing and other virtual selling tools.

Sustain Your Specialty Selling Success in 2020

Your skills and expertise will be tested in new ways over the coming weeks and months. We’re here to help you sell with greater confidence to your customers and ensure that you are making the most of your remote time.

Let us know how we can help you and your team better understand the specialty market, virtual selling, value-based care, managed markets, and other topics to improve your market access. We offer a variety of free resources and customized learning modules to help you feel more grounded and productive.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us at (800) 328-2615 or at solutions@cmrinstitute.org to learn how we can provide you with a custom home study program or other support.

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We can provide you and your teams with a custom home study program, allowing for opportunities to upskill while you work remotely.