Business Results from Maximizing Sales Call Productivity

Pharmaceutical companies have been contracting their sales forces in a response to the end of the blockbuster drug era. The outcome has not always been profitable. However, since sales reps carry an annual price tag of about $225,000, it’s time for pharma to think in terms of getting the most from each and every sales call.

There are three keys to maximizing sales call productivity:

1.) Place each sales call where the expected incremental sales are greatest.

2.) Detail the right brands in the right sequence to maximize the sales resulting from each call.

3.) Sample each doctor only enough so that filled scripts are being generated faster than they were being given away.

For most companies the potential gains from improving the productivity of the calls currently being made exceeds the potential gains from paying for more calls.

PBE wanted to know how much a typical company stood to gain by doing each of these things perfectly.

To explore this issue, PBE used data from 14 different brands marketed by four different companies to build detailing/sampling simulators brand-by-brand for each individual doctor in the U.S. With some minor adjustments, the 14 brands totaled $13.75 Billion in annual sales for the hypothetical company that was simulated. This simulator quantified, in fine detail, the dynamics of the relationships between levels of detailing/sampling and resulting Rx’s for the hypothetical company.


The Simulator was asked two critical questions:

What would the sales have been if the brands had not been detailed or sampled at all?

What would the sales have been if the amounts of details and samples originally put against the 14 brands had been optimally allocated so as to maximize the incremental sales resulting from each sales call?

The answers were eye-opening!


Sales $13.75 Billion
Promoted Brands 14
Representatives 2,500
Cost/Representative $225,000
Total Cost of Sales Force $562,500,000


Scenario Simulations

Incremental Sales vs. Baseline
Base Line (Zero Sales Calls)
Actual Sales Calls
Optimal Allocation of Sales Calls

Key Findings:

The 2,500 reps had more than covered their cost of $562 Million by generating $1.815 Billion in incremental sales.

However, by optimally allocating their calls, the representatives could have potentially generated an additional $1.815 Billion for the same cost. In other words, their productivity could have been doubled!


Tilt the Playing Field in Your Favor