Inside China’s Pharma Sales Force – insights from the frontline

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Publication Date:
July 2013
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In 2011, China’s pharmaceutical sales force exceeded that of the U.S. for the first time. However, very little data is available on China’s sales operations and tactics. FirstWord’s new report sheds light on how Pharma is using its still-expanding Chinese sales force, with exclusive insights from sales managers at multinational and domestic companies.

China’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, and its pharmaceutical industry is also experiencing extremely rapid growth. Just as in the U.S., Japan, and Europe, China’s pharma industry is also being transformed – with moves towards universal healthcare coverage, more ethical practices, and greater use of digital channels. However, China’s unique geography, government, and culture mean that local knowledge is essential to bring an understanding of what is happening on the ground.

In creating this much-needed report, FirstWord interviewed seven regional and district sales managers at western pharmaceutical companies operating in China. FirstWord also conducted interviews with regional and national sales managers at two Chinese companies to ascertain the differences in the way local and multinational companies operate their sales teams.

Along with exclusive research, this report is packed with useful information about China’s pharmaceutical industry, including an overview of the key Pharma companies investing in China, a city tiers reference, and a China-specific definition of a Key Opinion Leader.

Whether or not your company has a presence in China, understanding the Chinese sales force gives you a significant competitive edge. Download this illuminating new report today!

Report Highlights of Inside China’s Pharma Sales Force – insights from the frontline include:

  • Details of how promotional spending in China is changing
  • Guide to how pharmaceutical sales teams are structured in China – including what percentage of reps deal with physicians vs. other stakeholders
  • Insight into how sales reps in China conduct meetings with physicians, what information they share, and how they record the interaction
  • Comparison of multinational pharmaceutical company and local company sales cultures
  • Profile of the key characteristics and tactics of a successful sales rep in China

Key Benefits

FirstWord’s new report fills that significant knowledge gap with exclusive statistics, trends, and expert commentary that comes straight from the source. Now you can compare your sales activities with those of other multinational and local companies in China, understand the current commercial environment in China, and stay ahead with insights into how it is expected to change. With this concise report, you will:

  • Understand how to structure a sales force across China
  • Learn the key characteristics of a successful sales rep in China (and recruit accordingly)
  • Know how often your sales reps in China should visit physicians, and how many doctors should be on their list
  • Learn how promotional spending in China is changing, and benchmark spending against the industry average
  • Be aware of significant opportunities for growth and greater efficiency that still exist in the Chinese market

Selected Quotes

“In China, there is a social aspect to the relationship between the reps and the physicians, where very often personal free time is used to speak about the pharmaceutical products outside of the hospital setting.” Delphine Perridy, country manager China – regional director SEA, Cegedim Strategic Data

“In order to achieve a full cover of the ‘viable market’ you need between 80 and 400 distributors/wholesalers if you are to avoid having products going through one or two layers of distribution for more hospitals. The smaller the number of primary distributors that the company works with, the larger the number of total suppliers of their products as they will have a lack of control of the ‘route to market’.” Anonymous consultant

“We have a sales representative to see physicians at every level of the hospital. Above them we have key account managers and a regional manager. We also have a government affairs department which deals with government officials.” District Sales Manager from western pharma company