As increase in sales of pharmaceutical products takes place from children to seniors it has opened up new opportunities for the linkage of information between pharmaceutical companies and e-commerce. Thus information exchanges have had a huge impact on the pharmaceutical sales industry. Internet usage has been the chief contributor in this respect and has provided a greater amount of reliability which was not present before. Electronic mail and chat groups have noticeably assisted communications.
Information collection that once took several hours or days of research, whether for homework assignment of a student or to look up information on the medical condition of a family member, can now be accomplished in minutes. This fast access to information and data collection has made analysis of situations, products and tasks of people much easier and reliable. The Internet is quickly changing the way we live, work, and shop in all sectors of the country. Tele-medicine permits individuals in isolated areas to access the knowledge of doctors available in the region at finest academic health centres.
The Internet permits a rising amount of persons to get hold of an excess of medical information that frequently helps them to comprehend health issues and treatment options. In actuality, millions of Americans use the Internet every year to find medical information, either in documented resources or via online discussions with health experts. Approximately forty three percent of internet surfers look out for health related information annually. Prescription drug sales on the Internet can give spectacular benefits to customers.
Through online drug sales disabled customers can access drugs easily, at times making a trip to the pharmacy is not possible, people can shop round the clock with no limitation to time, unlimited number of products are available with the privacy of those who are reluctant to share their medical condition in public. Hyperlinks and search programs present online clients with written product information and references to other sources of information much more effortlessly than in the usual store.
Moreover, as the use of computer expertise to transmit prescriptions from doctors to pharmacies enhances, a decrease in prescription errors can be possibly achieved. While online pharmaceutical sales will be significant for a number of customers, it is seen that traditional “brick and mortar” pharmacy provides certain benefits or services that are regularly not available through the Internet, such as instant access to prescription drugs needed for instant treatment. These pharmacies will unquestionably stay a necessary element in the deliverance of effective health care.
Therefore the efficiency of the online pharmacies is there at the cost of their effectiveness. Often health care professionals require check ups to analyze the situation in a better way. Thus at times the online prescriptions may not be effective enough (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). The challenge for government at both the State and Federal level is to follow policies that will allow lawful electronic trade to thrive but provide safety that is assured.
Consumers will have assurance in the excellence of the medicinal prescription and in the drug being delivered because the protection for online consumers is equal to the safeguards of the conventional local pharmacy and the exercise of drug and pharmacy. Concerns about Online Sales As helpful as this new equipment can be, the Internet also creates a new market for action that is at present considered illegal, online sales of drugs often results is sale of unapproved drugs and drugs also dispensed without valid prescriptions.
At times products that are marketed with false health claims are sold through the internet. This increases the illegal trade of health care products and should be checked by the relevant authorities. As FDA regards the issues connected to online drug sales, we distinguish that there are a variety of websites being used for drug sales. Many websites keep their focus on selling prescription drugs and have been popularly known has ‘Internet Pharmacies. ‘ All these websites sell FDA approved, unapproved and illegal versions of the prescription drugs.
These licensed websites that sell legitimate products provide benefits to their customers not provided by those websites that are un-licensed or involved in illegal selling of prescription drugs. These sites are a serious threat to the health and safety of all American citizens. Fraudulent health claims are prevalent on several websites which sell unapproved products at times these drugs include drugs for recreational purposes. These products include products used to develop muscles in the body and websites that offer cancer treatments.
These sites are involved in false claims and try to entice the customer by making such claims that are not approved by the FDA. Internet pharmacy is seen by many people as a threat to the health care industry because substances being used in drugs being sold in online pharmacies are not regulated by any authority and are illegal under many standard specifications. Several of these sites operate illegally and unlawfully, strong measures are taken against them by the FDA and regulation and check is regularly carried out (http://www. hhs. ov/asl/testify/t000525b. html).
The exclusive virtues of the Internet, plus its broad reach, relative anonymity, and ease of creating new websites or removing old ones, pose new challenges for the enforcement of existing laws. These sites are usually composed of multiple links and related sites thus the investigation procedures are very difficult and require more resources. If the websites are made more transparent a check on them would be made much easier. FDA should regulate such websites and their content to protect the interests of the people using them.
FDA has found that most drug sale websites are actually made up of multiple related sites and links, thereby making investigations much more complex and resource intensive. Since the internet is a global it creates problems for the law enforcers to carry out effective law enforcement strategies that can actually check the sale of illegal health products. Different countries have dissimilar laws for drug approval and marketing in their own country which complicates the issues faced by the United States government.
The FDA should work with close association with the several foreign governments to establish international standards for regulation of sale of illegal health products. At present the FDA has authority to take action against any drug that is sold or distributed adulterated or misbranded, any sale of unapproved drugs, any illegal promotions being carried out by the company, dispensing drugs without a proper and valid prescription and any counterfeit drugs. These classifications help put a focus on the activities of the authorities so that they can manage a sound regulation procedure.
When an illegal health care product has been sold over the internet it should be treated in a similar fashion as a product being sold from a store or a magazine would have. The case should be similar and the charges as same as would be in the case of a normal illegal sale through the conventional method. The FDA has taken strong notice of this and has been very active in referring cases to the legal department. In the process the FDA has comprehensively enhanced its law enforcement activities currently with respect to drug sales made via the internet (http://www. hs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). The state has placed laws to regulate the practice of pharmacy and medicine in order to protect its citizens from the harmful effects that these drugs carry along with them. When these unsafe drugs are used the patient puts his or her life in danger and if the FDA has not checked the sale of these drugs the customer can file a suit against the authority of not having an effective system in place for regulating such sales.
These drugs often include counterfeit drugs that are found in abundance in through the internet. While receiving the drug for the first time the patient must be examined by a licensed health care professional having expertise in his field. The physical examination may reveal certain externalities that are not known via the internet. The practitioner will determine the prescription and assign an FDA approved drug for the patient.
This law has helped the FDA streamline the procedure and make it much more transparent and effective for its citizens. Many companies manufacturing illegal drugs and selling them through the internet use the internet as a means to bypass the regulatory infrastructure. The regulatory authorities often require certain fees to be paid which only raise the costs for the company. Other than that since the FDA has very strict measures for approving a drug it is highly unlikely that a drug with certain amount of illegal substances will be approved.
The speed and ease with which customers can buy health care products is so enticing that the companies manufacturing it are determined to use the internet for quick and easy sales. The company does not need to get into many hassles which are faced while selling the product through the conventional channel, thus the companies are much more attracted towards internet sales. Many individuals who are not licensed to sell prescription medicine have and can create websites that are synonymous to internet pharmacies.
These pharmacies will appear to be legitimate and propose selling legal, FDA approved products. The appearance and location of the websites poses another threat to the regulation procedure since these websites can be easily located anywhere and have their appearance changed as liked. The unapproved sale of prescription medicine poses a great threat to the health and safety of the consumers. The patients using these websites are risking their lives and may suffer adverse consequences, several of which can be a threat to their lives.
The inappropriately assigned drugs may cause potential side effects to adversely affect the consumer and also cause contaminated or intoxicated drugs to be delivered to the consumers. Not knowing the aspects the consumer’s goes for short term ease to face long term problems that can be very risky. Many of these products have ingredients that are a life threat to the consumer and they must be checked in order to bring into effect efficient and effective monitoring of online sales (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html).
It has often been seen that certain patients are buying counterfeit products that are not composed of the actual ingredients that should be used for the manufacturing of that drug. These drugs may contain legitimate substances that are outdated and have inert ingredients that have been sent to illegitimate sellers for reselling or composing of dangerous sub-potent or super-potent types in the similar categories. Moreover, consumers who are anxious for a treatment to a grave medical problem may be more vulnerable to buying an unapproved product. This situation compounds the problem two fold.
Firstly the health of the patient is not good secondly the drug exacerbates the whole situation. FDA is extremely worried about the proliferation of sites that replace a simple online questionnaire for a face-to-face assessment and patient management by a health care practitioner. Without proper examination of the patient and assessment through only an online questionnaire medical practitioners do not meet the set guidelines for dispensing care to their patients. To meet appropriate standards of care these medical practitioners are required to examine and then analyze the situation to dispense care to their patients.
This is negligence on the part of the practitioners which should be monitored and an effective solution should be adopted and put in place. Recent reports by the State Medical Boards ha found out that “Prescribing of medications by physicians based solely on an electronic medical questionnaire clearly fails to meet an acceptable standard of care and is outside the bounds of professional conduct. ” This report is especially significant in light of the main task of States in regulating the practice of medicine.
In addition, FDA is anxious that the use of such questionnaires may put at risk the privacy of a patient’s medical records. Administrative efforts will be carried out to provide appropriate protections for the patient’s medical information and history. The authorities will also continue to differentiate legitimate online communications from illegal conduct that augments patient risk (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). Many agencies are evenly concerned that in some Internet transactions, there is a visible non-existence of any health professional and patient association.
This is an exacting concern where the recommendation involves a first time use by a patient or where the patient may be taking other medications. FDA is apprehensive that the choice of prescription drug products or healing schedules for a particular patient should be made with the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner well-known with the patient’s existing health status and past medical history. In situations like these where a relationship between the physician and the patient does not take place the patient starts practicing self-diagnosis and self-treatments.
This can result in several negative outcomes like harmful drug interaction, allergic reactions and improper dosing. Over the years, the FDA has honed its focus on the subject of Internet endorsement, promotion and sale of drugs as online movement has enhanced. The FDA has been carrying out regular meetings to check the promotional activities being carried out through the internet with the help of consumer experiences and through the advice of health care professionals. This emerging issue is raising great concern to the relevant authorities and plans have been put in place to effectively counter the problem.
FDA has adopted, and has been implementing, an Internet Drug Sales Action Plan to increase and enhance the activities of the Agency in countering illegal sale of drugs over the Internet. This plan is lays its foundations on internal deliberations, meetings with Federal and State regulatory and law enforcement authorities that are responsible, as well as organizations linking consumers, health care professionals, and the pharmaceutical and pharmacy industries.
The plan is very comprehensive and contains essential elements for proper sale of drugs through the internet (http://www. hs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). The FDA has decided to get engaged in public outreach. Every drug sale, at the bare minimum level involves a purchaser and a seller. Consumers buy drugs on the Internet for diverse motives and some may be specifically targeted by the unscrupulous business practices, such as the selling of dangerous, non-approved, expired, fake or otherwise illegitimate drugs. The Public outreach gives a mechanism by which the Agency can help defend consumers from unsafe or unsuitable drugs.
FDA is increasing its public outreach to notify the public about hazardous practices involving Internet buying and to give details what conformity and enforcement actions it has already taken in this regard. This outreach attempt comprises of FDA Talk Papers; articles in the FDA Consumer Magazine; and information on FDA’s website to help teach consumers about securely buying drugs through the internet and give consumers a chance to give in to the Agency information on sites that may be violating the principles mentioned by the FDA..
FDA is actively involved in media campaigns which profess the ways in which safe purchase of pharmaceutical products over the Internet can be possible. The campaign involves placing advertisements on health associated websites; taping public service declarations for allotment to television and radio stations countrywide; and initializing a “safety checklist” to be placed online and distributed via health care professionals and consumer support organizations. The media is a direct link with the consumer thus is a very effective way in creating awareness about the hazards of unsafe sales via the internet.
The Agency will keep working with consumer groups, health care practitioner organizations, and industry to encourage these companies to keep their ingredients and the public up to date about safe practices for buying drugs via the internet. Continuous improvement in delivering the message of proper substance use in medicines and more of such health care awareness programs will slowly and gradually remove the current situation of sales administered illegally over the internet (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html).
The FDA has decided to get involved in professional outreach and partnering with the companies to spread awareness of these fallacies that are conducted in online selling of health care products. There are a number of regulatory bodies performing their duties at the different levels of the whole regulatory procedure. These organization have come together to prioritize their respective tasks and responsibilities according to the need of the situation. The roles played by each and every organization and what benefits it can and are providing to the people in order to have safe access to FDA approved health care products.
These authorities have partnered together to achieve collective goals of providing awareness to the people about online selling and buying of health care products. In the past programs have been carried out to create awareness amongst the people about sites that are verified as being legitimate. A program called, ‘Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites or VIPPS provides websites with a seal of approval which clearly tells the people about the legitimacy of the product. People should only buy medicines through these approved websites to stay clear of any negative effects that may crop up due to use to illegal health care products.
FDA is striving to Improve Data Acquisition to increase its ability to check the Internet and recognize potentially violating websites in the course of the use of a variety of search tools and by raising its data management facilities This is helping the organization to better realize the kind and degree of illegal behaviour on the Internet and to more precisely gauge whether its enforcement pains have had an impact on illegal Internet behaviour or not. In an effort to better understand the universe of websites selling drugs, OCI reviewed a number of websites and identified several websites involved in the sale of drug products.
These results came from internet search software search engines and a manual review of sites that were appearing to be selling online drugs. Since new websites are coming up daily and old ones are removed, the total number of sites is going to change and will not be constant over time. Moreover, as OCI’s skill and methodology almost certainly varies from others. One hurdle that the sales representatives face earlier to starting their daily sales trips is linked with research for the presentation that they will give during the following day’s sales calls.
The representatives have to visit their assigned physician at least five times a year. Before each sales visit, the representative has to find time to reconsider the content of the previous meetings taken place with the general practitioner and to find out new information not mentioned in earlier meetings that the physician may think are helpful and appealing. Certainly, the representative’s efficiency in their meetings with physicians is reliant to a large degree on the extent to which the physician believes that the meeting with the representative has been academically value-adding.
In many cases based on such analysis the physician can make a decision about the future of the association with the representative (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). Moreover, the representatives face another difficulty before starting their sales visits is adjustments to the limitations linked with the technical support they have which is usually a laptop to make sure that the information they need during the day is obtainable and accessible when and where it is necessary.
For instance, it is a fact that the representatives know that they cannot access anytime and anywhere to the information stored with them in their laptop or within the business database, thus they ensure to print out all the data in the evening and the documents they think might be helpful during the following day’s sales meetings. Though, the scheme of printing files on specific topics as in the case of, the whole day’s programme is not always very effective or efficient in familiarizing yourself to the deficiencies linked with the hi-tech support they have access to.
This problem is faced by many representatives due to certain family limitations and certain events that occur on a daily basis. It may happen for any reason that the representative does not have the printed list in his hand in the morning of the sales visits. Thus when such a situation occurs the representative might have to memorize the list or just wait for the next day to access the database. A heavy reliance on electronic communications can be very vital in the progress and daily sales of the company. Thus a constant manual backup should be created so that it can be used whenever the need arises.
Several challenges are faced by the sales representatives on their visits to the physician. These barriers can be characterized as being barriers to the effectiveness and the efficiency of the sales representative. One obstacle to effectiveness the representatives face throughout their daily sales trips is when a physician calls off a previously arranged meeting. In numerous circumstances the sales representative is unsuccessful in meeting the physician because of irregular conditions that may make the doctor unavailable for the meeting.
The sales representatives never really know if the general physician will be there and he or she can only hope that the meeting will take place and if any problem may occur the representative has to counter it by adjusting his or her schedule. It becomes very annoying and frustrating for the sales representative to wait for the next meeting if one is cancelled due to some reason by the doctor. The sales representative may become demoralized and not be able to work on his or her full potential. As a result he or she will not be able to complete the total number of visits assigned to him on that day (http://www. hs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). Another hurdle to efficiency identified in the complexity in turning periods of dead times into productive ones.
Dead time means the time during the day that the representative believes as being wasted since it is spent without performing any work-associated action. Examples of this may include the time spent in transportation between the day’s planned meetings, time exhausted as a result of a last minute cancellation of a booked visit with a physician, or time on hand because of less time than usual being spent with a physician.
In such cases of Pharmaceutical’s sales representatives, the incidence of dead time is recurrent and has a variety of causes. The major cause being the complexity in forecasting the happening of a sales so that the representatives can chart ahead for the type of actions that would allow them to make good use of the time usually wasted. For example, if a last minute cancellation of a visit happens the representative finds it hard to fill that time with a value generating action, such as going to another contact (http://www. hhs. ov/asl/testify/t000525b. html).
Usually physicians need to get in touch with in advance in order to organize a meeting with the representative. Consequently the time dedicated to the cancelled meeting becomes dead time. The representatives face delays due to cancellation daily, when a delay takes place the representatives cannot contact the next doctor because they are reliant on their availability which is usually seeked before hand so that the ever busy physician can take time out from his schedule and meet the sales representative.
At times the representatives want to be notified weeks before the meeting so that they can arrange the meeting as suitable to them. Another cause of dead time for Pharmaceutical representatives is the lack of suitable technical support that would facilitate the representative to carry out a work-related action through the dead time. A solution of a laptop computer emerged to be uncomfortable to help the representatives during dead time since its size is big and also the time it takes to get the machine mobilised to give the necessary support. The representatives try to use the laptops usually in the car.
However, it often does happen that if the representative wants to find a suitable place to work in the hospital for instance, he or she is discouraged because of the time it takes to find an appropriate place where he or she can work effectively. Therefore, the representative may choose to use the short dead time just waiting outside the physician’s office or in the hospital canteen. A third obstacle to efficiency that the representatives face during their daily sales trips is the complexity of accessing contact information when the representatives have meetings in big hospitals.
A meeting that takes place in a relatively big hospital is a good chance for the representatives to execute their prospecting activities. This is because of the large number of physicians working in large hospitals (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). A key enabler to help the representatives search for new clients in such hospitals is to have right of entry, whenever they have time available to sales information such as the contact names of the physicians they know who are present in the hospital.
Then the representative could have those physicians with whom they have by now built a relationship introduce him or her to their colleagues, during a coffee break for instance. Nevertheless, the representatives store helpful sales information in their laptops, which in several cases they do not carry along with them. As a consequence, they rely largely on the contact name they have in mind. The time obtainable for performing prospecting activities is as a result spent just waiting for the next meeting.
The hurdles to effectiveness the representatives encounter daily during their sales trips are diverse and have numerous sources. One barrier to effectiveness is the difficulty the representative’s face in terms of organizing a schedule with field secretaries during sales trips. Such difficulty comes out from that fact that the representatives as mobile workers cannot be conscious of the booking actions made by the secretaries at the time of their sales trips. They have to wait until they are at home or office and connect to the company database. The field secretaries face the same problem.
In order to know the representatives’ opinion about probable meeting dates or the representatives’ activities with respect to getting in touch with a particular physician, they need to wait until the representative puts in the information into the corporate system. Such management difficulties are a consequence of problems such as booking a meeting with the same physician two times, which can be harmful to the representativei??s association with physicians (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). It often happens that duplication of time slots occurs.
If the representative has booked a time for himself with a doctor and the secretary books another doctor for the same time slot duplication may occur. This is highly unprofessional on the part of both the secretaries and the representative, but they are reliant on the system thus at times commitments with the physicians cannot be honoured and leave a bad impact on the sales representative’s performance and credibility. This can result in loss of valuable sales and creation of a bad image in the minds of the physicians regarding that sales representative.
A second barrier to effectiveness is the long hold-up in providing physicians with response to their outstanding questions. Outstanding questions are those questions that the physician asks and to which the representative does not know the answer about. This situation needs to be avoided by representatives to keep a strong link with the physician. Until and unless a reliable and trustworthy relationship is not developed between the two, matters will always be wrongly treated leaving an unhealthy mark on the part of the sales representative.
At times doctors may need things immediately; the earlier you deliver the information it is the better. The sales representative needs information to answer certain questions that require a high amount of information searching and gathering. The representative skims through all the data and resources to come with an answer for the physician. This whole process can only take place at home or at office, therefore it requires the representative to hold up the decision of the physician, which is not considered a good omen for the sales dealings being made.
The mind of the physician may change as more time elapses in finalizing the deal. At times the representative waits for answers from his or her colleagues who are more specialized in the particular field of which the question is asked about. The wait may be prolonged because the colleague has his or her own lists of meetings to take care of before looking at his or her colleagues problems. However, the inability to check electronic-mail while on the move expands the time it takes the representative to give an answer to the physicians’ outstanding questions.
As a consequence it may be that the colleague from whom the representative seeks help with regard to a physician’s outstanding question has by now submitted an reply using electronic-mail to the representative during the day. Nonetheless, in the nonexistence of access to electronic-mail in the field, the representative will not be conscious of the colleague’s reply until he or she gets home in the evening and accesses his or her company database (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html).
Moreover another barrier to effectiveness is physicians expecting representatives to become accustomed to physicians’ information needs. Physicians necessitate that the representatives give them new information through each sales meeting. Many physicians are pleased with information they have never heard before. The sales representatives should prove their knowledge about the product they are selling and project that they know a lot about the deal they are making. Boasting may not help rather a balanced approach to work is best in making a successful sales to take place.
Many a time’s physicians want to hear about experiences of other fellow physicians and are interested in their dealings with them. The sales representatives are under obligations of not providing information about other physicians, this hinders their meeting progress and has a negative impact on the promises made by the sales representatives. The physician asks for other doctor’s experience because he or she feels that the other doctor is more reliable as compared to the sales representative.
It is a matter of great concern for the sales representative because many times the sales representative knows the product much better than the doctor prescribing it. This can have a negative impact on the sales of the product. The way sales representatives used to store helpful information was highly ineffective. They relied on their small memory capacity and penned down any details pertaining to issues facing the doctors and patients related to the drug. Later on they use to enter the information in their database to generate results accordingly and acquire information when required.
The whole process is very lengthy and time consuming, having a very bad impact on the effectiveness of the sales visits. With the advent of new technology the details of the visit and the information can be stored on a hand held device, which will be discussed later on. Once at home, the representative accesses the company’s records and enters the sales reports on a daily basis. Some representatives leave reporting jobs till the weekend and input the sales reports for the complete week at one time.
This time lag in between the sales and the reporting affects the worth of the reports. Certainly, if the representative carries out the reporting action at the weekend, then he or she will have to input on an average twenty five reports. Consequently quite a lot of useful information might be left out or locked somewhere on a piece of paper. This time gap would also result in an information sharing gap between representatives in terms of sharing facts about physician linked experiences with the company’s drugs which have been bought before by the doctors (http://www. hs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). A representative may achieve useful information from his or her interactions with doctors.
Nevertheless, other representatives cannot access such knowledge and use it as a basis of sales argument during their sales visits even though they try to connect up to the office in order to access the corporate database, until the representative enters it into the company database at the end of the week. A final barrier to effectiveness that representatives faced is the ease of use gap.
When physicians feel a pressing need for information about Pharmaceutical drugs, they try to make a phone call to the representatives. Nonetheless, during his or her sales visits, the representatives put their mobile phone in meeting profiles and thus they cannot answer incoming calls. After the sales visit the representative may try to call back the physician who initiated the call, but the physician may be involved in some work and not be able to take the representative’s call.
Such an availability gap results in the physician missing context-specific information that he or she may need to deal with a patient being administered treatment to. Many companies have invested in sales force automation in the hope of getting the benefits it can provide in terms of increasing the sales force’s performance, enhancing organisational knowledge about customers and building gainful long-term customer relationships and associations. However it can be clearly seen that sales force automation has not reaped as many benefits as it was originally hoped (Rigby et al 2002).
Many of these failures occurred because a large amount of the sales force either did not recognize the technology or did not use it properly. The lack of both suitable planning of the Sales Force Automation investment and communication of its benefits to the sales force accounted for the problems and hurdles associated with Sales Force Automation failure. Firms have often failed to evidently identify the business problems that need to be resolved and then associate the appropriate technology to this quandary.
The chief reason for sales force automation failure can be attributed to the fact that companies did not set clear goals for the sales force automation process. It was an activity that was carried out without keeping in mind the benefits it could reap and without communicating these benefits to the employees using this new technology database (http://www. hhs. gov/asl/testify/t000525b. html). Many firms have believed that sales force automation will result in an efficient sales management procedure but they desire all the things to become automated through one sales force automation programme.
The basic goal of the sales force automation procedure is not clearly defined by the company. Another popular belief is that the management thinks that if all the companies are actively involved in sales force automation and if they are not, then the other companies will gain a competitive edge over them. This approach to sales force automation harmed the basic goal of the programme and left a deaf ear to the many problems faced by the company.
The incapability to identify specific goals for Sales force Automation makes it tricky for firms to prepare proper plans and schedules, communicate and appraise the benefits of the Sales force automation investment to the sales force. As a consequence the sales force may notice the Sales Force Automation as just an additional task or a burden on them. The management should clearly identify the goals and determine proper channels to achieve the goals so that the sales force is motivated towards the goals and tries to gain from the automation process.
Otherwise, it will be another investment that will go to waste. The fast and ever-changing set of technical equipment accessible to sales representatives like different mobile technologies will carry on to pose a challenge to sales managers in terms of choosing the equipment that would reap the expected outcomes with optimization in mind. As a result, it is very vital that sales managers completely be aware of the barriers that hinder their sales force performance.
When the barriers are recognized, sales managers can take steps in the direction to select and implement the Information Communications Technology that matches the barriers’ support requirements. Information of users’ barriers to performance is mainly significant when we are dealing with Mobile Information Communications Technology. The physical and computational restraint of mobile devices makes them unreliable and out of date for some tasks, for instance providing a general idea of large amounts of information.
Many studies have been conducted that clearly state those mobile devices can be extremely helpful in carrying out the job related tasks for both the sales manager and the sales representative. But it is a fact that these studies do not relate mobile devices to other technical support accessible to the users, which can provide support to them better than mobile technologies. Nevertheless as, mobile applications can balance somewhat than substitute present applications and support in terms of benefiting users to deal with particular tasks (http://project. kkk. fi/helsinkimobility/papers/Mobile%20Enterprise_3_3. pdf). Likewise, many have argued that mobile technology support should be examined as one module among the “web-of-technologies” on hand to support the user’s jobs and schedules Therefore it is suggested that mobile devices need to complete at least one of the many demands in order to be characterized as doing well: They should be able to expand an already existing service or system by giving them mobility and making it likely to solve a set of specific tasks in a specific context.
This means that the mobile technologies available should be much more focused in their approach and usage. They should provide enhanced technological experiences related to the specific problems faced by the organizations utilizing them as a service to monitor sales force performance. They should be able to offer an answer to a well-defined, targeted task, i. e. provide here-and-now related information. Mobile Information Communications Technology should permit users to have a timely and relevant information support in a number of ways.
Firstly, with a mobile device and a wireless connection which essentially means GPRS or UMTS, the mobile user can have right of entry to the Internet as well as diverse databases anytime time is available and irrespective of location limitations to get the information he or she needs. This real time information access will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of sales made through electronic channels in the fast paced and every changing world of today (http://project. hkkk. fi/helsinkimobility/papers/Mobile%20Enterprise_3_3. df).
Wireless bandwidth is enhancement which supports the requirements of business applications such as electronic-mail with attachments, multimedia contents and Web services. The present growth of positioning technologies has the promise to increase the availability of on time information support made possible by mobile technologies. The ever-present features of mobile sets free the users from the time and space restraints that may obstruct their access to the information systems ability and capacity.
This is a chief feature of mobile information systems as compared to traditional information systems that were wired, where users have to be in a precise place usually the office or home in order to use the system’s capabilities For instance, technically speaking mobile digital calendars are not very dissimilar from their Personal Computer based calendar systems, but they obviously slot in portability benefits, a main desired feature in calendaring.
Likewise as the mobile device is “always on” it facilitates the user to get in contact to the mobile system’s functionalities anytime and with declined booting time in contrast to laptop computers, particularly in situations where the user has only very little time to please his information and communication requirement. This real time information sharing and transfer is very beneficial in improving the performance of the sales force and making the organization save valuable money invested into it (http://project. hkkk. fi/helsinkimobility/papers/Mobile%20Enterprise_3_3. pdf).
Another quality of Mobile Information Communications Technology is that it gives elasticity in terms of the message medium that the representative could select when it comes to teamwork and synchronization in the field with fellow workers. The communication channel delivering the information support can take such forms as SMS, MMS, e-mail, phone call, pushed alert or real-time access to databases. The selection of the communication medium depends on both the surroundings where the representative is functioning for instance, face-to-face meeting with a customer, in a train or restaurant and his or her information support value chain.
An approach that use audio based augmentation enables the user to perform tasks simultaneously while listening or speaking. This is of huge interest for the sales representatives whose information support need is both time-independent and space independent. Speech growth would provide the representatives with an easy and straightforward natural mechanism to improve the efficiency of their operational time even in circumstances where their capabilities are engaged in other functions such as driving the car.
Around fifteen to twenty minutes that were previously allocated to sales visits have now been cut down to five minutes or even less. With time passing by quickly than ever representatives must be capable to present data rapidly and precisely on both their company’s products as well as competitors’ products. While doing so, they must ascertain excellent working relations and give on time, reliable information and to do well long-term, each representative ought to collect instances of flourishing outcomes from physicians’ advice of their products.
In addition to doctor visits, representatives also call on pharmacists, hospitals, practitioners at managed care health facilities, and other health care related workers inside their territory. The actual calls made may increase and number eight to ten per day. Pharmaceutical sales performance is significantly benefited by a mixture of expertise. All of the customary tools; handhelds, notebooks, wireless e-mail devices can assist, but none provides a comprehensive total solution (http://www. toshibadirect. om/content/pc/b2c/downloads/MS_WP2_Pharm_FINAL. pdf).
Field operations need a solitary machine that covers each and every feature of their job: presentations, communication with the office, forms, e-mail, and several forms of input, and even signature imprinting. Hardware advantages of the convertible Tablet Personal Computer meets all of the pharmaceutical sales representative’s needs and offers them a package that’s eye-catching and appealing, helping to recognize the salesperson as an accomplished expert, part of a high quality performance team.
The tablet personal computers are fully functional as both a Tablet Personal Computer and conventional notebook, with built-in Wi-Fi technology and Bluetooth connectivity features and a high-resolution screen well suited for workstation presentations. The modular drive bay recognizes an optical drive that is very handy in running business presentations and the large hard disk gives quick access to a large amount of data, contacts, presentations and more.
When equipped along with available and accessible wireless broadband services, the convertible Tablet Personal Computer is in continuous contact with the office, facilitating the representative to obtain real time updates of pricing and promotions, check availability and inventory positions, track present orders, get approval of quotes, broadcast approved orders from the provider’s office, and receive immediate acknowledgement of receipt. Internet and e-mail infrastructure are secure, using industry-standard encryption methods.
Most of the tablet personal computers have a fingerprint reader that ensures complete security for the sales representative. More than often the data is confidential and cannot be leaked out in public or to any other employees, therefore the fingerprint reader helps in securing the data of the sales representative. A number of presentation benefits can be achieved through the convertible tablet’s capability to move flawlessly from keyboard to stylus provides it an exclusive benefit over all other Personal Computers, since it can incorporate signatures as well as keystrokes (http://www. oshibadirect. com/content/pc/b2c/downloads/MS_WP2_Pharm_FINAL. pdf).
By using the Tablet Personal Computer’s signal recognition ability for instance, a rapid up or down flick of the pen, the sales representative can page from side to side presentations without the visual disruption of looking for a key. Tablet personal computer’s distinctive zoom capacity allows the representative to zoom in on a particular area and then zoom out immediately, with a single button.
Forms that were previously restrained to paper can be displayed on the screen, and they can be filled out as if they were paper documents with the stylus or with a keyboard. Representatives can put forward contracts like drug sample agreements to doctors, who may sign them on the spot. This increases the amount of sales by making the procedure quicker than before. Numerous software advantages can be achieved through the use of tablet personal computers. The Tablet Personal Computer runs an improved version of the different available operating systems, which fully ties together its capabilities.
Tablet Personal Computers allow the representative to move effortlessly from typing to diagrams such as organization charts and building layouts, to handwritten notes by means of digital ink. It can change handwriting to text and can even fit in voice dictation or recorded conversations into a given probable or customer’s record and using speech recognition, representatives can dictate notes straight into the Tablet Personal Computer, save the notes and make them obtainable later in digital format (http://www. toshibadirect. com/content/pc/b2c/downloads/MS_WP2_Pharm_FINAL. df).
Pharmaceutical sales is a very wide area of expertise, being dealt with on a daily basis. The sales representatives have faced numerous hurdles over the years and have somewhat successfully overcome them to perform in a much better way than they were previously. Continuous improvement in technology has made it possible for sales representatives to make more sales visits daily and increase their effectiveness and efficiency with real time software’s that store, maintain and provide retrieval when required to the sales representatives in the quickest manner possible.
Security was a major concern which has also been effectively met with the advent of secure technological devices that provide secure access to information for the sales representatives. Conclusively, the sales representatives are better equipped than before and electronic communication has had a great positive impact on pharmaceutical sales in all areas of medical expertise.