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Products & Services Sales Leadership Sales Training

Optimizing Sales Training Resources for First-Year Pharma Reps

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ID: 4882


Metrics, Graphics

Pages/Slides: 64

Published: Pre-2019

Delivery Format: Online PDF Document


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Study Overview:

Given the diversity and complexity of the medical subject matter, lower training budgets, and the limited amount of time (often only 30-90 seconds) in which pharma reps can impart their messages with doctors, bringing new reps up to full productivity is a huge challenge for pharma sales training leaders. New sales reps need not only training in products and sales, medicine, disease state, and diagnosis and treatment--but also on compliance and industry regulations, managed care, the hospital environment, marketplace issues, competition and general business. The effectiveness of sales training during reps' first years dictates the future success of the employee, sales force turnover rates and directly impacts the bottom line.

This 64-slide presentation allows pharma sales effectiveness, development and training managers and executives to evaluate if they are providing new reps with the right training at the right time to bring new reps up to speed as rapidly as possible. Sales leaders can make this assessment based on benchmarks and best practices for the volume, content and delivery of new rep training among 18 pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices companies at four employment intervals. These internals are the: 1) first 30 days; 2) 30-90 days; 3) three to six months and 4) six to twelve months.

Key Topics:

  • Training content and timing
  • Volume and content during key employment internals
  • Training scope and budget ratios
  • Budget allocations and outsourcing
  • Training management
  • Sales rep qualifications and attributes
  • Training policies and best practices
  • Top priorities for improving training, expanding curriculum, managing programs and using technology
  • Best practices in business alignment, content and approach, good management and technology

Key Metrics:

Thoughout the data charts, metrics are reported separated by US (15 companies) and non-US (9 companies) segments.

  • Number of new reps hired annually
  • Number of days training at each employment interval
  • Percent of training provided at each employment interval
  • Training topics provided at each employment interval
  • Frequency of specific training topics throughout employment intervals
  • Trends in needs for training (e.g., increasing, decreasing, or the same)
  • Top areas where specific training topic needs will increase
  • Average budget per rep trained (new vs. all reps)
  • Average budget per hour of training (new vs. all reps)
  • Average number of hours per rep trained (all vs. U.S. reps)
  • Distribution of training resources (new vs. experienced reps)
  • Relationship between training budget and employees trained (scatterplot)
  • Relationship between training budget and training hours (scatterplot)
  • Percentage of training that is outsourced
  • Outsourcing vs. internal costs
  • Sales training budget trends (e.g., increasing, decreasing, or the same)
  • Average hours per sales rep trained
  • Ranking of training effectiveness measures
  • Program effectiveness ratings
  • Most common attributes of new hires
  • Most desired applicant qualifications
  • Requirements for hiring new reps

Sample Key Findings (blinded):

--New reps average about xx% of all employees trained but account for xx% of the total training budget at benchmarked companies. The percentage of budget for outsourcing is xx% of the total (U.S.) With xx% of U.S. and xx% of non-U.S. respondents predicting that their training budgets will increase over the next two years, there is likely to be a substantial business opportunity here.
-While companies in the U.S. offer 14% more training for sales reps in the first year than non-U.S. companies, U.S. firms tend to offer more training in the first xx days – xx% versus xx% throughout the rest of the year. In contrast, non-U.S. companies provide xx% and x%, respectively.


This research was conducted on behalf of one of Best Practices, LLC's Business Excellence Board (BEB) clients and was based on survey and interviews with 24 pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices company sales training leaders at 19 companies. Sales leader titles include directors of sales force effectiveness, corporate learning, and training and development. The benchmark class includes sales forces that differ in size, volume of new reps trained, types of sales groups supported, and geographic regions. Three quarters of the benchmark partners are in the pharma industry, with the remainder in biotechnology and medical device industries. Most of the participating benchmark class companies train specialty and general/primary care sales reps in addition to sales managers.

Industries Profiled:
Pharmaceutical; Manufacturing; Biotech; Consumer Products; Diagnostic; Medical Device; Health Care

Companies Profiled:
Abbott Laboratories; Amylin; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals; Bayer; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Dey; Fournier Pharmaceutical; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; Medrad; Merck; Novartis; Pfizer; Roche; Sanofi-aventis; Schering-Plough; UCB Pharma

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