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What Skills Should You Hire Next? Download Our Guide for Commercial Team Leaders in the Healthcare Industry

The recruitment landscape: where we are now?

In 2019, just 1% of GP appointments were conducted virtually. By April 2020, this had increased to 93% [1]. The NHS’ Long Term Plan in 2019 set out to start offering patients virtual appointments in 5 years’ time. That transformation has happened far more comprehensively than could be imagined in a matter of weeks this year, with 1.25 million NHS staff adopting Microsoft Teams in just over a month [1].  

The impact of Covid-19 on the healthcare professional—pharmaceutical representative relationship has also been profound. In a survey in March 2020, 37% of GPs across Europe said that virtual calls from a sales representative were the most effective method for reaching them to provide support, news or product information [2].

Emails from representatives have surged in popularity, seen by 59% of European doctors as the most effective method compared to medical journals at 55%. 

It’s hardly surprising then that 95% of pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to upskill their existing field-based teams so that they are more confident and competent in engaging with healthcare professionals remotely [3].

According to our own clients, it is the representatives with existing relationships with healthcare professionals who are the most likely to secure virtual appointments, so training is a sound investment. 

What about recruiting new people? While 43% of pharmaceutical companies are currently not planning to hire new staff [3], there is a remaining majority who are. In our own conversations with clients, there is a growing demand for omnichannel representatives – individuals who are able to interact confidently with healthcare professionals face to face as well as remotely via phone, email and virtual platforms. This is reflected in research elsewhere too, where 55% of respondents said that their respective companies are considering adopting hybrid roles in the future [3].

There is also a strong argument for building in geographical flexibility into commercial teams, given the recent development of local lockdowns in Leicester and more looking likely to follow in other cities. With some territories suddenly closing down, the ability for representatives to switch locations at short notice is a key consideration.

So what skills do you need to hire next to succeed in this environment? Download the full article with insights from Kate O’Neill and Huw Nicholas at CHASE below...


[1] Dr Peter Carter OBE, NHS Pathway Improvement in the New Normal: Implications for Industry - Integrated Care System Focus: A Webinar by Soar Beyond on 1 July 2020

[2] SERMO HCP Sentiment Study Series, March 2020

[3] Managing Field Forces through Covid-19. Industry Impact Results Summary. Wax. June 2020


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