“Emergencies”— in the form of vacancies, planned and unplanned, temporary and permanent— are inevitable. And just like in an ER, for pharma sales to effectively respond, preparation is key.

Years ago, I worked in an emergency room, where my job responsibilities boiled down to two essentials: Respond to emergencies and prepare for emergencies.

Responding to an emergency— quickly and effectively treating and stabilizing patients— is what immediately comes to mind, of course. But equally important is preparing for an emergency. Whenever our team had any downtime, we were preparing— planning, re-stocking supplies, taking inventory— so we’d be in the best possible position to respond to the next emergency. Lack of preparation leads to poor patient care, which in an ER can be a matter of life and death.

The same business model applies to pharma sales. “Emergencies”— in the form of vacancies, planned and unplanned, temporary and permanent— are inevitable. And just like in an ER, for pharma sales to effectively respond, preparation is key.

Vacant territories and the depreciation curve

Although not quite a matter of life and death, there’s an obvious correlation between territory vacancies and sales. When a territory is uncovered, scriptwriting declines. When a prescriber has fewer touchpoints with you, your brand is not as top of mind.

Temporary declining sales aren’t the only risk. Nature, as they say, abhors a vacuum. And a space left vacant will not be left vacant for long. If a sales team doesn’t perform triage, and step up to fill the void, an astute competitor (or competitors) will, resulting in permanent loss of market share.

Traditional remedies for mitigating decay or brand depreciation bring their own risk. Another rep might temporarily take on the vacant territory; however, covering two territories can leave key accounts exposed. Digital marketing can be quickly implemented to maintain some type of contact with prescribers, but digital marketing efforts can only go so far in replacing a personal rep. And in the meantime, as your team scrambles to respond to the vacancy, time ticks away, further exposing your brand.

So what are your options? How can you maintain presence – quickly and effectively? Just like in the ER— by being prepared.

Planned for the best, prepared for the worst.

One of our existing pharma clients recently experienced what’s becoming a pretty common situation – an unexpected restructuring.

In this instance, the restructuring wasn’t going to result in one exposed territory; Dozens were going to be suddenly vacant. Although the situation was unexpected, the manufacturer was prepared. TKXS was already working with them to supplement their sales team with our RepOnCall solution, a remote team of pharma reps detailing key accounts by phone and email. With RepOnCall in the wings, the solution was a simple phone call asking us to ramp up our existing efforts. With very little notice – and virtually no down time, RepOnCall stepped up with our existing virtual sales team to seamlessly cover the vacant territories for the short-term, the long-term, or however long the manufacturer deems appropriate.

TKXS’ RepOnCall solution is flexible and fast. Even when we’re working with a manufacturer for the first time, we’re able to stand up a program in as few as four weeks. Put us on the bench now, though, and we’re ready at any time, stepping in to cover planned and unplanned vacancies, and keeping you prepared – and in control of your business.

Read: What Comes With The Territory Shouldn’t Leave With It.

Read: Boldly Go Where No Rep Has Gone Before.