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Improving Sales Rep Performance: Life Scientists' Perspectives

  • ID: 682616
  • Report
  • April 2007
  • Region: Global
  • 189 Pages
  • BioInformatics, LLC
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With the large amount of product data available on the Internet, the constant changes in the competitive landscape, and the popularity of online ordering, the role of the sales rep is evolving. Improving Sales Rep Performance: Life Scientists’ Perspectives identifies how sales representatives remain a crucial element of competitiveness in the life science market. Detailed descriptions of the strengths and weakness of the leading sales forces in the life science market will permit head-to-head comparisons and help you organize, recruit and train your sales force to reflect the needs and expectations of the customer.

Benchmarking the Customer-Sales Rep Interface

This report will identify how often scientists want to interact with sales reps and what their preferred means of contact are. In addition, the concept of receptivity to technical and purchasing assistance is explored and recommendations on how to maximize interactions with the most valuable types of customer, 'the highly receptive' scientist, are outlined. The specific preferences of these scientists will be outlined, allowing suppliers to understand and target this key group of scientists.

Customer Expectations for Support & Advice

Find out what types of technical and purchasing assistance scientists want, as well as what types of products require the most support. The report will also identify how often sales reps should follow up, both in aggregate and by level of receptivity to purchasing.
Additionally, alternative sources of technical support are identified by usage level and effectiveness.

Evaluating Your Sales Force’s Performance

Scientists report on how visible they find your sales reps to be and what they find to be the most useful type of assistance. Scientists also identify which personal and professional attributes they prefer in a sales rep. Customer satisfaction with purchasing assistance and technical assistance from sales reps is presented, allowing suppliers
to understand how they compare and where they may be falling short. Finally, purchases that can be attributed to the influence of a sales rep are identified, allowing suppliers to better understand the importance of sales reps to achieving overall sales goals.

Maximizing a Sales Rep’s Effectiveness

Good customer service is essential for any sales rep. This report identifies what scientists expect from sales reps in terms of follow up time to questions, preferred materials to leave behind after a meeting, and more. Additionally, the report identifies how scientists
prefer to order—through the supplier’s Web site or via the sales rep—once they’ve been convinced to buy.

Recruiting & Training Your Sales Team

This report is essential for understanding what personal and professional qualities your sales team should have. Scientists identified the traits and skills they expect from their sales reps. Additionally, they indicated their preferred means of organizing a sales team—with this report, find out if your customers prefer to have a single sales rep for all of their purchases or a number of specialists for different disciplines, products, or techniques.

Report Objectives

This report is designed to offer insights on how sales executives can recruit, train, organize, and support their sales force to reflect the needs and expectations of their scientific customers. Based upon the best-selling 2005 report, Improving Sales Rep
Performance: A Global Analysis, this report includes several new features designed to help increase the effectiveness of sales reps in an increasingly competitive and electronic-based market:

- Quantifying the customer value of sales reps on a supplierspecific basis
- Examining customer expectations regarding sales reps by receptivity level to technical and purchasing support
- Understanding the sales rep’s role in eCommerce

This report also provides readers with insights into key aspects of identifying, training and managing an effective sales force team including:

- Identifying the personal qualities that characterize an effective sales rep
- Describing the professional training and skills that increase a sales rep’s credibility
- Clarifying how a sales rep can best facilitate purchase decisions
- Determining what types of support customers expect from their sales reps
- Recognizing which suppliers have the best-trained, most successful sales reps

Data on the following companies is included in this report:
Agilent Technologies
Applied Biosystems
BD Biosciences
Beckman Coulter
Dako Sigma-Aldrich
GE Healthcare
Gilson VWR International
Invitrogen Waters
New England Biolabs
R&D Systems
Roche Applied Science
Santa Cruz Biotechnology
Thermo Fisher Scientific
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Section 1. Analysis and Interpretation of Survey Results


Study Objectives

Significant Findings

Benchmarking the Customer-Sales Rep Interface
- Frequency and Type of Customer-Sales Rep Interaction
- Interaction Frequency by Product Category
- Identifying Highly Receptive Scientists

Customer Expectations for Technical Support and Advice
- Most Valued Technical-Assistance Services
- Products Requiring Technical Support
- Alternative Sources of Technical Support

Customer Expectations for Purchasing Support and Advice
- Most Valued Purchasing-Assistance Services
- Products Requiring Purchasing Support
- Frequency of Sales Rep Follow-Up

Evaluating Your Sales Force’s Performance
- Customer-Perceived Sales Rep Visibility
- Favorable Personal and Professional Attributes
- Most Useful Type of Assistance for Customers
- Customer Satisfaction with Technical Assistance
- Customer Satisfaction with Purchasing Assistance
- Ability to Generate Customer Recommendations
- Customer Purchases Attributed to Sales Rep Influence

Maximizing a Sales Rep’s Effectiveness
- Facilitating eCommerce
- Promoting Customer Service
- Improving Lead Generation

Recruiting and Training Your Sales Team
- Desirable Personal Qualities
- Critical Professional Skills
- Optimal Sales Force Organization


Section 2. Study Methodology and Demographics
- Questionnaire Overview
- Questionnaire Design
- Analytical Techniques
- Demographics
- Questionnaire

Section 3. Presentation of Survey Data

Types of Assistance from Sales Reps
- Value of Specific Types of Technical and Purchasing Assistance
- Satisfaction with Technical and Purchasing Assistance from Sales Reps

Personal & Professional Qualities of Sales Reps
- Importance of Specific Personal Qualities of Sales Reps
- Overall Satisfaction with Personal Qualities of Sales Reps
- Importance of Specific Professional Qualities of Sales Reps
- Overall Satisfaction with Professional Knowledge of Sales Reps

Purchasing Support & Advice
- Products for which Purchasing Assistance is Useful
- Products for which Purchasing Assistance is MOST Useful
- Percentage of Orders that Require Purchasing Assistance
- Desired Frequency of Contact from Sales Reps after Purchasing Instrumentation

Technical Support & Advice
- Products for which Technical Assistance is Useful
- Products for which Technical Assistance is MOST Useful
- First Source of Assistance for Technical Problems
- Other Resources of Assistance for Technical Problems
- Percentage of Orders that Result in a Need for Technical Assistance

Improving on the Job Performance
- Form of Sales Force Organization that is Most Useful in Supporting Research
- Usefulness of Having a Dedicated, Single-Point-of-Contact Sales Rep for All Requests
- Usefulness of Having a Sales Rep Set Up an Online Purchasing Account for a New Supplier
- Usefulness of Interacting with Sales Rep for Existing Account Regarding Questions or Problems in Placing an Order
- Length of Time Willing to Wait to be Contacted by Sales Rep for Question or Problem in Placing an Order
- Ordering Through a Sales Rep vs. Through Supplier Web Site
- Preferred Product Information for Reps to Leave Behind
- Preferred Promotional Item from Sales Reps

Your Experience with Sales Reps
- Times per Week Contacted by Sales Rep, Initiated by Rep or by Lab
- Frequency of Interaction with Sales Reps for Specific Product Types
- Company Sales Reps Regularly Interacted With
- Satisfaction with Specific Areas of Technical & Purchasing Assistance of Sales Reps from Company
- Overall Satisfaction with Technical & Purchasing Assistance of Sales Reps from Company
- Assessment of Specific Areas of Overall Experience with Sales Reps from Company
- Assessment of Sales Reps’ Understanding of the Research
- Circumstances under which Assistance of Sales Rep from Company would be most useful
- Likelihood to Recommend Supplier Based on Experiences with Their Sales Reps
- Percentage of Purchases from Supplier that were Influenced by Sales Rep


Section 4. Appendices

- Insights and Perspectives
- Quadrant Analysis
- Cross-Tabulations by Supplier
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This report is based on responses to an online survey fielded to registered members of The Science Advisory Board, an online community of more than 32,000 scientists from around the world. Each of the qualified respondents received a personalized email message containing a unique Uniform Resource Locator (URL) directing them to the online questionnaire. The email message described the objectives of the study, the incentive for participating, and a privacy guarantee. Between February 21 and 27, 2007, 989 scientists from The Science Advisory Board participated in the survey. The questionnaire, consisting of 32 closed or partially closed questions and 5 open-ended questions, was designed to take a maximum of 15 minutes to complete. Results were tallied automatically through a proprietary software application and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Special analytical techniques used to prepare the report include:

- Derived Importance Modeling for the construction of the quadrant charts relating customer perceived value and impact on satisfaction to various purchasing support services delivered by a sales rep.
- Net Promoter Score analysis designed to calculate the percentage of a supplier’s customers who are promoting the brand to their colleagues based on their interactions with sales reps, taking into account the percent that are not promoting the brand.
- Sales Rep Receptivity Modeling, a measure of the degree to which life science researchers seek out and/or receive either technical or purchasing assistance from a supplier’s sales rep(s). The Model enables us to segment life scientists into three receptivity groups.
- CHAID (Chi-square Automatic Interaction Detector) Analysis to identify key market segments within the respondent population based upon like characteristics.


Market Segment

Academic 614 62%
Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology 297 30%
Contract Research 32 3%
Medical Device/Diagnostics 30 3%
Commercial Testing Lab 15 2%
Hospital or University Medical Center 1 <1%

Job Position

Staff Scientist 226 23%
Principal Investigator 177 18%
Post Doctoral Fellow 153 15%
Lab Director/Supervisor/Coordinator 142 14%
Professor/Teacher 125 13%
Graduate Student/Research Assistant 113 11%
Laboratory Technician 37 4%
Department Head 9 1%
Production/Manufacturing 5 1%
Bioengineer 2 <1%

Geographic Region

North America 565 57%
Europe 340 34%
Asia 69 7%
Australasia/Pacific 9 1%
Africa 4 <1%
Central/South America 2 <1%
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