5 Essential Time Management Tips for Pharmaceutical Reps

If you’re a pharmaceutical or medical sales rep, panic triggered by running short on time is probably a familiar feeling.

With calls to prepare, doctors and clinics to visit, data to pull as well as admin work to finish, the tasks can feel endless as your to-do list grows longer and the day grows shorter. 

Unfortunately, you can’t add hours to your day, but there are some time-saving tips that sales reps can adapt to make their work week run a little smoother and improve productivity.

Even if you commit to one or two of these time management skills, your days will become less stressful and you’ll have more time and energy to focus on the important stuff like connecting with customers. 

1. Optimize Your Calls

Since visiting healthcare facilities often isn’t possible during the pandemic, it is important that your phone and video calls are impactful.

There are some tactics you can use to avoid wasting time making multiple calls to the same physician or spending days waiting for your call to be returned.

First, try scheduling your phone or video call with an email a few days before.

In your email, let the physician know the purpose of the call. If the doctor is informed on what product you will be discussing and how it helps their patients, they will be more apt to speak for a few minutes rather than taking a cold call where the purpose is unknown. Currently, physicians are very busy. When you do get your customer on the phone, be brief, know your facts and get to the point quickly.

Secondly, meet the physician where they’re at.

Whether they prefer FaceTime, Zoom, or a traditional phone call, make sure your virtual connections are done through a channel they are comfortable with. Ask them what they prefer and adapt. Don’t spend valuable time setting up a Zoom call, only to later realize your customer prefers a phone call. 

2. Get Quick Access to Data

When you spend too much time on administrative tasks and not enough time with your customers, performance can suffer.

Tasks like running reports, pulling product information or finding answers to customer queries can quickly eat up valuable time.

Though sales and marketing analytics are vital for you to be able to determine where you should spend your time and efforts, extracting the information becomes cumbersome, especially on the go.

Investing in Aryia, a text and voice-enabled application to pull analytics, has proven to be a major timesaver for medical and pharmaceutical reps.

You won’t have to mess with complicated dashboards, type in formulas or wait for an analytics specialist to answer your question via email. You can get instant answers to your data inquiries so you can move on with your day, equipped with valuable knowledge and data you need to satisfy your customer’s needs.

3. Intentionally Structure Your Day

A study published by InsideSales.com has shown that only 28 percent of sales reps follow a structured time management system.

Without a structured guide to follow, it is no wonder the majority of medical sales reps find their days slipping away from them. A structured, yet flexible, schedule is critical for completing important tasks.

We all know that “life happens” and we have to adjust and adapt our schedules, but having a tentative plan for the day promotes focus and intentionality.

Structuring your day in time blocks can be helpful.

1

Listing

Make a list of everything you want to get done in a given day.

2

Timing

Jot down about how many minutes (or hours) you think each task may take.

3

Booking

Block out that time on your calendar.

Now you’re committed to completing those tasks at a certain time of the day.

Word of advice, when timing your tasks make sure you factor in drive time and prep time.

Then, if there are any recurring tasks, like entering data into your CRM, make sure you automate the recurring task on your calendar so you don’t have to enter it repeatedly.

When structuring your day, consider when you are most productive and energized. Some people work best in the early morning, while others prefer the afternoon.

You’ll also want to consider your clients routine as well. Get to know your customers schedule, that way you know when to avoid the office and when is the best time to schedule a meeting.

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4. Eliminate Distractions

Ringing phones, social media notifications, talkative co-workers and urgent emails can all nag for our attention.

But did you know that surrendering to these distractions can actually make you much less productive?

A study done by the University of California Irvine found that it takes an average of about 23 minutes to get back on track after attending to a distraction.

Gain minutes, maybe even hours, back in your day by eliminating distractions when possible. Close your email window when you’re working on a project with a tight deadline, turn off social media notifications and silence your phone when you need to stay focused.

Though not all distractions can be eliminated, they can be effectively identified and managed.

If you find it difficult to do by willpower alone, there are apps out there that can help you manage online distractions like Freedom and Mindful Browsing.

5. Utilize Templates

Emails and proposals to clients should always have a personal touch, but there is no reason why you can’t start them from a template.

Using pre-written templates for routine emails and documents can shave off some time in your workday and boost efficiency.

It may seem simple, but it is often overlooked!

Browse through your “Sent” email folder and recent documents. Pay attention to the kind of emails you routinely send to prospects and the documents you frequently create.

Write-up a template for each and copy and paste the template when you need it, but make sure to add in the personal details and times associated with that specific client or meeting.

No reason to start from scratch each time you send an email!

Final Thoughts

We’ve all heard the saying, “Time is money.”

The phrase was coined by Benjamin Franklin, a philosopher, statesman and inventor. He knew a thing or two about the value of time! Since every minute is precious, even saving a few here and there is worth it.

Follow a few of the tips and tricks we touched on to maximize productivity in your workday. You may even see a boost in your sales, and you can tip your hat to effective time management.

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