Maturity of the Remote Pharmaceutical Representative in Italy: a measurable fact

The maturity of the remote pharmaceutical representative market in Italy is a fact and can be measured.

As is well known, the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) is a unit of measurement of project activities expressed in terms of man-years. An FTE is equivalent to the employment of one full-time person for one working year. In terms of hours, it can be quantified as approximately 8 hours per day worked for 220 days (the average number of days worked in a year, excluding holidays). For example, a project of 1.5 FTE means employing labour for one work unit and part time for one year. This is obviously not related to the duration of a project and only indicates the number of hours worked needed to complete it. So if the duration is to be 6 months, 3 people will be employed full time or 6 if the project lasts 3 months. It is used as a way of resource planning and workforce sizing, but in practice it is only a unit of cost.



Full Time Equivalent and Frontal Pharmaceutical Sales Representative in Italy

In Pharmaceutical Sales Representative in Italy, the FTE does not allow for an unambiguous calculation of the number of FTEs for a given time. The standard calculation of FTE is developed from the number of visits per average working day (average visits), schedule (number of doctors to be visited) and frequency (number of visits per different doctor in a cycle). A cycle is generally defined as a quarter even if it does not coincide with the calendar quarter for reasons of expediency. Let us take an example: in a cycle of 51 working days, a group of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives must visit 10,000 doctors with a frequency of 1.5, i.e. make 15,000 visits. The expected average number of visits per day is 9 working in contiguous areas. The calculation of the theoretical number of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives is: number_total_visits/average_day/working_days, and in our case this will be =15,000/9/51 or 32.5 PSRs for an FTE of about 7.5 calculated as 15,000/9/220 . But if the doctors were distributed widely over the territory, the 33 FTEs would have to have more than 20 bricks each. Therefore, in planning either one assumes that the physicians on file are in defined areas concentric to 33 barycentres or the number of ISFs would have to be even larger. Otherwise, it could not be possible for the Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives to work productively and realise the 9 daily visits envisaged in the assumption. The calculation of 7.5 FTE is therefore purely theoretical and does not respect the number of resources that will have to be deployed. In any case, the sizing of the network is dependent on the surface area and the number of targets and not on the FTE which is only the cost valuation.

 

Weighted Call and FTE

The FTE is also used to calculate, at the end of the resource allocation processes per target, the relative spending commitment, i.e., the share of investment per target visited in the period by the sales force. The calculation of the Pharmaceutical Sales Representative's time commitment per product is the Weighted Call (WC), and is measured in FTE. In daily practice each Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives during the visit can speak and present more than one product to the doctor. If the visit is dedicated to only one product, the FTE corresponds to the WC. But if he has to present three or four products, it is customary to 'weigh' each product argument, known as a 'joke', within the visit, with a conventional scale (expressed as a percentage). This is often 60/30/10 for visits with three products and 50/30/15/5 for those with four. Thus, the first line of aPharmaceutical Sales Representatives line - which is dedicated to a specific target group and presents three products - is worth 60% of the FTE, the second line is worth 30% of the FTE, and so on. This result of the FTE multiplied by the batting weight is the Weighted Call of the product. Following the example above: the WC for a single cycle of the second beat out of four is 7.5*30%, or approximately 2.5 FTE. This theory is defined by practice and usage and is mainly used for economic calculations of network and resource costs. However, WC is above all a measure of information pressure and thus of the use of company resources in communication, being an index of push communication towards the doctor. If we want, we can say that it measures quite precisely the time, or rather the attention, that the scientific information network is devoting to the individual product.



Full Time Equivalent in Remote Pharmaceutical Representative in Italy

How does one transform or transpose this practice for remote pharmaceutical representative, i.e. those who operate from headquarters with remote tools such as the telephone or the web? How do you reconcile the calculation of FTE and WC for what are increasingly referred to in English as 'inside sales'? How to find the correct correspondence of information pressure intensity and economic resources? Practice and experience at Merqurio help us a lot in these metrics. With around 600,000 remote calls per year and 150,000 remote interactions via web or video per year, we have developed metrics that have become market standards. For the calculation of FTE we transpose the front-end pharmaceutical representative model. Hence remote FTE is calculated as: visits_total (number of doctors contacted remotely multiplied by the number of times they are expected to be contacted)/planned_working_days/number_of_contacts_per_day of theremote pharmaceutical representative. The calculation is made more complex by the fact that this last number, the daily productivity, is dependent on: type of target, type of call planned, quality of the database, and is also dependent on the time itself needed to complete the cycle. The cycle in the remote communication process is often shorter than the quarter and therefore the actual duration of the remote project cycle must be taken into account for the correct FTE calculation. Assuming a target of 10,000 doctors to be contacted twice in 50 working days, for an average daily productivity of remote visits of 15, the number of ISFs is 27 and the FTE is 6. This calculation of remote pharmaceutical representative in Italy productivity is very theoretical as it is also dependent on the type of interaction that is planned: obviously, an PSR is more productive in remote call than in video call. Calibrating the right mix between the different types during a cycle is part of proper execution. In addition, productivity also depends on the number of contacts on the same doctor during that period, as appointments with a short time span are rarer and more complex to take.

Weighted Calls in Remote Pharmaceutical Representative

The way we measure Weighted Calls is instead very formal and less complex. For each remote contact we carry only one product or, in a mature phase, we can carry a second product as a reminder. Thus, WCs weigh exactly the same as a single contact. But how can we relate different call types and communication patterns to the WC? We have established a practice related to experience. A contact call counts as a third line, a web interaction counts as a second and a video call as a first line, with a weight of about 55/30/15. This was defined on the basis of three different pieces of evidence: outcome measured downstream, time spent by the doctor on the remote visit, and possible in-depth discussion of therapeutic and scientific issues. The ability to achieve the maximum outcome of the project is correlated with the experience of working on the same target group and the qualification of the remote pharmaceutical representative in Italy in terms of relationship skills and scientific relationship. In remote information it is more difficult to capture and maintain the attention of the doctor and the ISF must possess excellent skills and experience developed by continuous field training and role-play. Obviously, experience, practice, and dozens of outcome measures allow us to precisely define these data from the sales results obtained with respect to vacant, the Share Of Voice (SOV) measured downstream, memory recall tests, or even the measurement of prescriptions and intentions measured by agencies experienced in these surveys. Let's take an example: the visit time of a video call is on average over 15 minutes and reaches peaks of 30 minutes. It is obvious that in this case the correlation should be much more than a single first line.

The maturity of the remote pharmaceutical representative market is a fact, and can be seen in research conducted periodically by market research agencies. This maturity, thanks to experience, can make it possible to correlate investment in remote pharmaceutical representative and WCs. In this way, it is possible to correlate the investment with the SOV.

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero nasce a Napoli nel 1964, si definisce un imprenditore seriale. Oggi a capo del gruppo Merqurio, di cui è stato anche fondatore. Sposato con Giuseppina, ha due figli e nel tempo libero, tra un'escursione e un'altra, tra un film ed un altro, è alla ricerca della ricetta dei biscotti perfetti.

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