In my last post, I wrote about some of the changes that may result when sales representatives’ performance evaluations are measured against the value and service they provide to their customers rather than sales targets. According to a 3-year longitudinal analysis of IMS Health value metrics, value received correlates more strongly with physician prescribing behavior than conventional sales force effectiveness (SFE) metrics. That sounds great, but what metrics can you use to measure your ROI?

While this is still a moving target, here are some guideposts to consider:

Start establishing value-based metrics, such as how well HCPs understand patient types and optimal therapies. IMS Health reports that this is a better driver of market share than frequency of use of materials. Improving performance on this metric alone was worth 3.5 TRx share points to one company. It involves measuring how well (and how helpful), the sales rep has been in achieving the desired outcome, which is educating HCPs.

Assess built-up equity in physician relationships. This will need to be measured over time rather than simply gathering perceptions from the most recent sales calls. Some areas that can be measured include increased accessibility to hard-to-see physicians, identification of key business drivers, and establishment of advocates. Another important metric is whether sales reps are successfully influencing HCPs to make a long-term commitment to your brand. It’s not just about getting new customers; it’s about keeping them — and keeping them happy.

Remember to consider patient satisfaction. Times have changed, and HCPs have come to expect that they will be seeing more knowledgeable and more informed patients. Sales reps can provide HCPs with tips on answering patients’ questions, and they can be measured on how well they are adding to the patient experience.

Know the impact of training on your business. It is important to identify areas where your efforts are succeeding or where they need improvement. This includes qualitative assessment of potential SFE, as well as traditional quantitative measures, such as the amount of sales. Another important, but often over-looked, metric is whether your training is inspiring the confidence, trust, and motivation of your sales force.

See how peer-to-peer influence can help. Being a team player may not be measurable, but sharing results of sales calls with peers is. You should be able to track whether increased communication is positively influencing SFE.

Once value-based metrics are in place, the next challenge is how you evaluate them beyond the traditional measurement of increased sales. One approach is by using a multi-rater survey. This allows you to get feedback not just from HCPs, but also from other stakeholders, including sales managers, sales peers, and even sales reps’ self-assessments.

The biggest challenge with any survey is getting HCPs to participate. An appealing incentive may help, but you will only succeed if you can convince HCPs that their input will result in greater value for them.

But that’s really a win-win because what’s good for them is also good for us.

Ken is a great deal more than just the president of a medical communications company. He is something of a hybrid. He’s part marketing manager, part creative director, and part copywriter. To the chagrin of his peers—but to the delight of his clients—Ken is a consummate perfectionist. As a former creative director for a high-end consumer agency, he challenged his creative teams to go beyond the mundane to produce work with real creative impact, something he’s just as fervent about today. From producing and directing TV commercials, to launching DTC and Rx-to-OTC switches, Ken brings his clients a world of experience in OTC pharmaceuticals as well as business, lifestyle, and high-end consumer products and services. Whether huddled with clients behind a mirror in a market research center in Houston, facilitating a strategic workshop in Madrid, or developing a global campaign either in the New Jersey or California office, Ken is always fully engaged, bringing “bestness” to all areas of his hectic but full life.