Dear Colleagues!  This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #779 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

Continued from Previous……

Benefits of SFE

Sales force effectiveness programs can bring numerous benefits to a company, including but not limited to:

On-target strategy and execution: The data generated through SFE program can be used to design strategies which are targeted at specific needs. The marketing and sales should sit together to jointly design programs which are aimed at achieving effectiveness which is practical and possible. The usual gap between planning and execution can also be largely filled.

Better alignment between sales and marketing: Sales force effectiveness programs can help align the efforts of sales and marketing teams, resulting in a more cohesive and effective overall strategy. In present Pharma scenario, the schism between marketing and sales is based on one major reason: sales teams think that marketing works in isolation and is not aware of the market realities.

Improved sales performance: By identifying areas of weakness and implementing strategies to address them, sales force effectiveness programs can help increase the productivity and efficiency of sales teams. It is common knowledge that the salespersons are becoming more and more limited in coverage and approach. In most companies, med reps work with 25-30 customers, leaving other customers and areas. SFE identifies performance area by area and can point out gaps.

Greater insight into sales performance: By tracking and analyzing sales data, companies can gain valuable insights into their sales performance, which shall help with future sales strategies and decisions. The pharma companies work with macro level figures while the current competitive environment demands that analysis should be in depth, at micro level. Sales growth shall not come from known doctors sitting in larger towns; it will come from new customers in many locations. SFE insights can provide areas of opportunity.

Better customer satisfaction: With a more effective sales force, companies can deliver better customer service, improve customer retention rates, and ultimately increase customer loyalty. ROI is the current buzzword, but ROI is improperly understood and even more improperly applied. SFE helps to monitor customer investments in a better way.

Higher revenue: Improved sales performance and customer satisfaction shall lead to increased sales and revenue for the company.

Enhanced sales team morale: When sales teams are more effective, they often feel more motivated and engaged, which can boost their morale and job satisfaction. The biggest motivation for a salesperson is achievement. Rather than helping their team members to achieve, the managers try to motivate them with false praises and empty slogans, or threats and fear. All of these become unnecessary if the focus is shifted to achieving together.

Overall, sales force effectiveness programs can help companies improve their sales performance, increase revenue, deliver better customer service, and team building and retention, which can all contribute to long-term business success.

Fundamentals of SFE

The fundamentals of sales force effectiveness can vary depending on the specific industry and company, but the following relate more to Pharma Industry.

Strategy alignment: Sales force effectiveness starts with aligning the sales strategy with the overall business strategy. The sales team should have a clear understanding of the company’s goals and priorities to ensure that their efforts are focused in the right areas. Marketing teams are the link that translates company goals into strategies; market share, segment share, indication addition, segment addition, geographical coverage, approach to customers, and so on. Strategy alignment would bring all in line and make the understanding common for better execution.

Sales process optimization: It’s important to have a well-defined sales process that is optimized for efficiency and effectiveness. This can involve streamlining sales processes, identifying bottlenecks, and implementing best practices. Pharma sales processes are supposed to be straightforward, but things do not happen on time. Promotional materials are delayed, inappropriate or insufficient, customer requests are not filled on time, dispatches to distributors are not complete, shortages persist, and expenses are not reimbursed on time. These are some examples, but these and other things are a routine in most companies. These are all components of sales process, and it is important to optimize these for better results.

Talent management: A company’s sales force is only as good as the people who make it up. Sales force effectiveness involves recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent through training, coaching, and ongoing professional development. Quality of pharma salespersons has constantly gone down over time, and there is severe shortage of talent now. Better people are not willing to join pharma sales, they want to join marketing. A strong marketing team with a weak sales team is a non-winner. Talent is urgently needed on both sides.

Performance measurement: Sales performance should be tracked and measured against established metrics to identify areas for improvement and ensure that sales teams are meeting their goals. Performance management is a wider term which applies to all departments. Measurement is more directly related to sales. Pharma companies system of ‘sales review’ is severely faulty, it reviews sales figures against target figures in block terms; it does not review the work done. Sales are an outcome of work done, looking at figures without relating these to work is an incomplete measurement. The metrics for sales performance measurement should include customers visited, customers converted, ROI conversion if any, brick-wise sales vs customers, town-wise sales vs coverage, and sales progress against time.

Technology enablement: Technology can play a key role in improving sales force effectiveness, from providing tools to automate manual processes to using data analytics to devise sales strategies. Several software solutions are available to record doctor visits, distributor sales, daily sales, stock movement etc. Local solutions include Ikon and MRep. The companies who have installed these need to see if they are getting the required information and benefit or not.

Customer engagement: Sales force effectiveness also involves building strong relationships with customers and understanding their needs and preferences to ensure that sales efforts are targeted and effective. The business happens at the customer level. That is why outside-in approach is required to put the customers first. Marketing teams should also engage with customers directly through focus groups, round table discussions, and develop corporate relations. A common misconception is that salespersons try to cultivate personal relations with customers with the hope that it will generate more business. This is utterly wrong; business relations give business, not personal relations.

By focusing on these fundamentals, companies can improve their sales force effectiveness and drive long-term business success.

John DeVincentis and John L. Graham are credited with coining the term ‘Sales Force Effectiveness’ in their article “Sales Force Effectiveness: The Key to Competitive Advantage” published in 1991. I could not get the full article but would keep searching. Meanwhile, what I have gathered in bits and pieces is this.

The authors argue that the effectiveness of a company’s sales force is a critical factor in determining its success in the marketplace. They assert that a company’s sales force is not only responsible for generating revenue but also for building customer relationships and providing valuable feedback to the organization.

The authors identify several key factors that contribute to sales force effectiveness, including salesperson selection and training, compensation and incentives, and the use of technology to support the sales process. The authors also stress the importance of developing a sales strategy that aligns with the company’s overall business strategy.

The authors emphasize upon the importance of continuous improvement in sales force effectiveness. They suggest that companies should regularly evaluate and adjust their sales force strategies in response to changing market conditions and customer needs.

Overall, the article highlights the critical role that a company’s sales force plays in achieving a competitive advantage and stresses the importance of investing in sales force effectiveness to drive business success.


Sales force effectiveness is not just measuring the sales performance of sales force. It is a holistic plan to enhance and maintain sales force effectiveness through a series of steps.  To achieve sales force effectiveness, companies must implement a comprehensive framework that addresses key aspects of the entire business process.

To be Concluded……

Disclaimer: Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images and Pexels. Credit is given where known; some do not show copyright ownership. However, if a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.

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