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Why AI will soon be indispensable for pharma sales teams

Posted by Dr. Andrée Bates | Oct 16, 2019 3:09:29 AM

We have the technology … We can make him better than he was.  Better, stronger, faster.

You may recognize that as the intro to The Six Million Dollar Man. But it could just as easily be about pharma sales reps. The technology in case isn’t bionics. It’ artificial intelligence.

I’ve written before about how AI can make sales reps more productive.

And that’s just the beginning. AI used across sales force functions from targeting to messaging to automating admin tasks will create stronger engagement, cut costs and help reps exceed their sales quotas.

There are hundreds of metrics in the typical CRM. Are you making full use of them or relying on just the most familiar few to make important decisions? Imagine if your reps were able to sort and analyze millions of data points. I’m talking about everything from past interactions, similar deals, demographic and psychographic information to less obvious factors that can have a significant impact. AI makes all this possible.

Identify and Prioritize the Greatest Opportunities

When planning sales visits, a rep might segment by specialists within a certain geographical radius. But, that’s still not very targeted. By analyzing all the data available and applying predictive modelling, AI can identify those specialists who are most likely to be receptive to what your reps are offering.

So instead of going to all doctors in a 20 mile radius, your reps can go to doctors within a 20 mile radius who are showing signs of switching away from one brand to another and are most likely to have a window of time available.

Personalize and Enhance the Sales Experience for Prospects

Any salesperson worth his or her salt knows that focusing on the prospect is the key to success. AI can help with this as well. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-most approach, reps will be able to deliver the right message at the right time based on that prospects’ preferences.

Think about how hard it is just to gain access to physicians, let alone build rapport with them. Wouldn’t it be easier if your reps knew these preferences beforehand and could tailor each appointment accordingly? Don’t you think those physicians would be more receptive?

Get Recommendations to Help Close the Sale

AI-powered sales enablement can provide a precise roadmap through the sales cycle. Because it is able analyze a broad data set and identify patterns otherwise imperceptible, it can suggest best next steps, activities, and assets that lead to a high success rate.

Those traits also make AI effective for sales forecasting. And with machine learning, these solutions only get more accurate over time. When you factor the time and cost savings of all the functions it can automate with all that, it’s easy to see why AI is going to change the sales landscape.


Compared to the way pharma sales have worked for years, AI can seem like science fiction.  But the AI sales revolution will happen faster than you may think. Unlike The Six Million Dollar Man, the technology here isn’t limited to a single person. AI solutions are readily available to those pharma companies that wish to empower their reps to succeed.

According to McKinsey & Company’s Thomas Baumgartner, Homayoun Hatami and Maria Valdivieso de Uster, authors of the book Sales Growth, companies that have pioneered the use of AI in sales have seen leads and appointments increase of more than 50%, call times reduced 60%–70% and cost reductions of 40%–60%.

With results like those, in the highly competitive pharma sales landscape, it won’t take long before AI is a necessary part of the process. After all, competing for sales against an AI assisted sales force is like competing in a race or arm wrestling match against the bionic man.


For more information on any of the topics contained here, please contact the author ,Dr Andree Bates, at Eularis or sign up for our one day masterclass on Innovating with AI in Pharma Sales and Marketing on October 29th in London, UK.


Topics: Sales Force Effectiveness, Marketing Effectiveness

Written by Dr. Andrée Bates