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Two-thirds of U.S. adults get their news from social media. This staggering statistic — from a 2017 Pew Research Center survey of 4,971 U.S. adults — is a result of social media’s rise in popularity and accessibility.

The issue with so many people relying on social media as an information hub is it’s challenging to know if they’re being properly informed.

The harmful impact of misinformation is undeniable in the pharmaceutical sales world. In fact, 68 percent of sales reps noted social media as the biggest obstacle when it comes to selling controversial products, according to our most recent report, Selling Controversial Products: Rising Above the Negativity to Find Positive Impacts.

As social media fans the flames of controversy, pharmaceutical reps are left salvaging their companies’, products’ and, even, their own reputations. Unfortunately, they can’t immediately jump in and pick up the pieces. Instead, pharmaceutical sales reps must first master social listening.

This tactic of monitoring online conversations gives reps the business intel needed to tackle the public’s views and opinions.

Here’s how you can use social listening to empower your pharmaceutical sales career:

1. Know what they’re reading

Whether or not you believe social media is a reputable news source isn’t important. You must know what your target audience believes is quality information. During a time of controversy, prepare yourself to approach conversations from all angles — not just your own viewpoint.

Use social listening to understand what sites, companies, and influencers consumers are using as their trusted sources. Find out what details they’re consuming and determine if it’s fact or opinion-based.

Readying yourself with this information puts you in a position to hold deeper, more informative conversations with customers and the public.

2. Know what they’re buying

Because the competition in pharmaceutical sales is tight, it’s crucial to know what competitor products your target audience is buying and how they feel about company-wide actions.

Social listening gives you the combined power of knowing exactly what consumers are buying and what competitors are doing to motivate the purchase. With this insight, you’ll have the ability to not only learn from competitors’ mistakes, but also improve sales strategies based on customers’ actions.

Look at your target audience’s buying habits. Find reviews they’ve posted on social media, product recommendations they’re asking peers about, and posts they share from their favorite companies. Then, personalize your sales pitches to individual customers. Take action and engage with them by liking, commenting, following, and sharing their posts on social media.

3. Know what’s important

From their personal lives to passionate causes and products, knowing what consumers find important helps you customize messaging while in the field.

Once you feel intune with your target audience’s favorite products, research them and their parent companies. What results do the products promise? What type of messaging surrounds them? For example, some consumers are looking for health solutions that give them a better quality of life to spend with their family.

Use these types of findings to fine-tune your pitches and educational materials to speak directly to consumers. Ask managers for research and case studies that prove your product is equipped to give people the results they want — health and living-wise. Remember, the more personal messaging you can get into the field, the more valuable connections you’ll make.

How do you use social listening to improve your sales game? Let us know!

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