Ron Sheeley

Ron Sheeley

Should we get rid of all field supervisors?


This is a very tempting position to take, and there are many reasons for frustrated Pharma reps to take this position.  One is that managers need to be trained to be a part of the support staff for their field reps.  They need to be more knowledgeable than their even their top reps about field promotion aspects including published clinical studies both for their corporate products as well as those of their key competitors.  Once they have that knowledge they need to be asked, What DO they bring to the table to help their reps succeed?  What has their rep turnover rate been recently?  How do they recognize outstanding reps?  Their job will change to being less about criticizing reps for failure to convert their prescribers, criticize filling out their expense accounts correctly, and not making enough calls.  IT WILL BECOME ABOUT MAXIMIZING THE VARIOUS POTENTIAL SKILLS IN THEIR DISTRICTS TO HELP THEIR REPS WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM!

  • Being a member of the field staff for a pharmaceutical company is a very challenging job.  So many managers have gone into offices with their reps with the goal of SHOWING THEIR REPS HOW TO REALLY GET A CLOSE BY CAUSING THE DOCTOR TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS, that many offices no longer allow managers to come back with their reps.  Prescribers never like being double-teamed.  After the call, the rep can be berated for failing to mention “certain key points” and “not asking for the business”. The job becomes more torture than reward.
  • There is another way to go forward and that is to change the culture and the relationship between the reps and their managers.  There are so many ways that managers can help their reps gain momentum and self-respect WHILE LEARNING TO INCREASE MARKET SHARE INTELLIGENTLY that we have developed a successful and proven training course for management.
  • This change must come from the top and work quickly down thru regional managers to the district managers.  This fresh approach should start with manager job descriptions and change the ways DM’s are evaluated by their regional managers.
  • Reps need to know how to present information so that it is interesting to their prescribers, and have a point of interest that can be agreed upon quickly.  THEN a specific close may be in order.
  • This is not a single step in a new direction.  It is a massive change in corporate emphasis and training.
  • This change is going to change the way pharmaceutical companies work in the field, and will result in a real increase in customer respect for field staff leaders who redirect their emphasis.
  • The visual image that works here is one of a field management staff who are fighting with swords for every inch of gain.  A new marketing approach guy has a totally new, advanced weapon and they won’t pay attention to him because they can’t spare the time from the battle.

Written by Paul Snyder – Founding Partner, Sheeley Consulting Company

February 2020

Share this post