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They say, ‘Nothing succeeds like the Idea whose time has come’. Scientific Product Presentations became the most talked about idea at that time.
More presentations on other subjects; ‘Tarivid in Typhoid Fever’, ‘Claforan Safety in Neonates’, ‘Diabetes – the Metabolic Syndrome’ were developed. They all became instant hits. I became busier as a ‘Presenter’ immediately. Sultan Khan also started making presentations in Karachi. Then the RSM South, Shakil Ahmed was trained and included as Presenter.
The execution format in the hospitals went like this. The AM would talk to the Professor for arranging the SPP in her/his ward. They were magnanimous and always agreed. Every ward had a weekly clinical meeting. The SPP was mostly slotted in the same meeting. The entire ward sat and attended the presentation. There was a Q&A session at the end. The presenter handled the Q&A. He referred the clinical questions to the consultant who would elaborate on the subject and answered the product related questions himself.
We also did groups of General Practitioners; the format was like this. The AM would select 10 – 15 GPs of an area. He would choose a place such as a meeting hall in a hotel as presentation venue. The day and time was fixed. The AM along with his MRs extended invitations to the selected GPs and got their intent to participate. They would remind the planned participants a day before the event. The presentation was delivered to the group and was followed by Q&A. These were lively sessions and the discussion continued even after the formal presentation was over.
Scientific Product Presentations were a ‘Marketing Coup’ also.
Consider that an MR gets anywhere between one to five minutes from a doctor for a regular call. In this limited time, she/has to present three products. How much time each product would get? If the discussion got longer on one product, it would mean that other products will not be discussed. This amount of time is fine for regular customer calls, but short for talking about new information. Now look at the SPP format. You got 15 – 20 minutes talking time and another 5 – 10 minutes for Q&A. You had 30 minutes of undivided attention from 10-15 minutes or more customers at the same time. Add to this the time when participants started coming in, waited for the presentation and till they left after presentation. The average length came to one hour or more. It was a huge time and opportunity to communicate a lot of things.
Do consider this as well. In order to be able to get to this level of customer interaction, you have to prove that the information being delivered is evidence based and proven, that the delivery itself is interesting enough to keep the attention, and that there is no hard-sell activity. Falter slightly, and the activity would fall down as a cheap commercial exercise, which no one would entertain.
Hoechst did a great job with SPP program because it chose the most authentic information, packaged it into a logical and interesting format and delivered it with high quality. Hoechst sales teams were looking at the huge support it gave to their business effort and soon there were demands from all over Pakistan to do the programs in their areas. I was traveling most of the time, but ‘one-person-team’ was becoming insufficient quickly. It was decided to induct few more presenters.
The process of inducting a new presenter was rigorous. The intended person, usually a Sales Manager, was invited to head office. I was also called in. He would be trained on the concept of presentation and the way to deliver. Then he would do several rehearsals during which Sultan and I would keep refining. When we considered him to be ready, we asked him to make a formal presentation to in-house audience including Tariq Umar. The audience would critically view his presentation and there would be a mock Q&A session also. When approved, he was included in the ‘Presenters Group’. During the first live field presentation, a senior person like SK or I would join as observer. This was how Hoechst was able to control and maintain the quality of SPP program.
Couple of companies tried to follow and launched their own versions of SPP programs. They could not do well enough and stopped early……