Even amid the heat of the largest two sales controversies, pharmaceutical sales reps are finding reasons to keep their heads high.
In fact, an overwhelming 50 percent of sales reps, overall, in our most recent report said they believe medical marijuana legalization will positively impact their jobs — so there’s no doubt the future is bright. Furthermore, an additional 38 percent said the same about the opioid crisis and new legislation.
However, it’s not easy to make a positive impact during a challenging time and, often, for some time after devastation strikes. Last year certainly had its share of controversies and PR blunders, many of which major companies, like United and Uber, are still trying to recover from.
Major controversies are bound to creep up no matter what industry you’re in. Rather than sitting and dreading the inevitable, the best thing sales reps can do is look for ways to make a positive impact for the greater good of their company, product, and customers.
1. Diffuse controversy by owning mistakes
Whether controversy is directly related to your company or products like yours, it’s out there for the public to see and is affecting your customers. Before you can chip away at making a positive impact, you must first accept what’s happening.
A prime example of this was PwC during the 2017 Academy Awards mix-up. After 80 years of counting the Oscar votes, the company made its first mistake — handing the best-picture award presenter the wrong card.
PwC could’ve easily walked away from the mistake without opening up and taking full ownership. However, after the blunder, PwC figured out what went wrong and U.S. Chairman Tim Ryan offered several public, apologetic interviews.
Take a note from PwC and start your journey to making a positive impact while facing mistakes and controversy head-on in the industry. While you are not personally responsible, as a sales rep, the company relies on you to face customers in a one-on-one setting to reinforce public apologies, answer questions, and accept organizational responsibility offering hope for a solution and resolution.
2. Lobby for more research
The proof is in the numbers — especially in medical sales. Research proves whether a product is working effectively, serving your customers’ needs, and notifies development when improvements should be made.
Lobbying for more research doesn’t just put information in your hands, it gives the public and your customers undeniable facts. And according to our previously mentioned report, that’s exactly what you need. In fact, 94 percent of sales representatives said a lack of proper education impacts their sales.
What better way to educate, build trust, and make a positive impact than with updated research?
Take research initiatives into your own hands as far as you can. Go beyond mentioning the need for data to your managers, and take it straight to research and development — or even the c-suite. Explain how the numbers are crucial for making a huge impact on the public’s opinion, especially when trust is wavering during a controversy.
3. Be an advocate
If you look at any news source or go to your social media feed, it’s obvious controversy is surrounding every one of us. With the constant and immediate access to this information from our smart devices, there’s no way to escape it.
That’s likely why many brands are stepping through the cloud of controversy and are standing up for what they believe is right — not what’s good for PR. In 2017, many companies let their varying personal beliefs out of the box after a contentious election season.
Rather than taking a ‘politically correct’ stance or following in line with your company, be an advocate for what you feel is right. Get all the information from your company, then find out where your customers stand on the issue and why. Based on this information, form your own opinion and find ways to advocate inside and outside of the office.
How do you make a positive impact during a time of controversy? Let us know!