4 Reasons the iPad is a Sales Rep’s Best Friend

Originally published in PharmaPhorum

iPads are vaulting ahead in pharmaceutical and medical device companies. The WSJ Health Blog recently noted that it was becoming an “iPad arms race” in medical devices. Here are just a few reported iPad purchasing statistics to put this in context:

  • Abbott (drugs), 1000 iPads
  • Medtronic, 6000 iPads
  • Stryker, 2000 iPads
  • Zimmer, 1000 iPads

In my Prolifiq life, I have recently spoken with a number of pharma and device companies not listed here who have already purchased and have / will be implementing thousands of iPads in sales and marketing. So, if there are tens of thousands of iPads circulating in pharma and medical device companies today, why is an iPad a sales rep’s best friend? There are four reasons:

1. Converse, convey, complete
Your physicians barely have enough time to see you. In fact, some don’t. Ask yourself three questions, have you ever:

  • Watched the physician or healthcare practitioner’s (HCP) attention wane as you attempt to find the right content online or in your briefcase?
  • Landed a meeting or conversation … but had them ask for something you didn’t have on hand?
  • Had the printed, static brochure not adequately convey what they were looking for?

Well, in under 30 seconds with three simple motions: press on button, slide finger across screen and click open an app, you have access to what you need to keep the conversation rolling, convey what you need, and complete your conversation.

2. Job security

You like your job and would like to keep it — let’s assume this anyway. In the past, compliance would beat sales reps over the head with piles of paper to read, digest and sign. You, the highly mobile and verbal sales guy or gal, were to somehow, someway recall all of this on a daily basis while sitting in front of an HCP. Well, forward-thinking compliance departments can actually build compliance transparently into some of these applications. Here are a few examples:

(disclosure: Prolifiq and Reprints Desk are sponsors of goodpromotionalpractices.com

Yes, I know it sounds very big brother, but if it doesn’t slow you down and in fact makes your life easier while protecting you from individual liability and prosecution, isn’t that a good thing?

3. Cool and innovative

You and your company look like innovators. Or, at the pace of the iPad arms race, at least like you are in the game. In fact, a recent study showed that:

  • More than 33% of physicians recently received a pharma detail via iPad
  • More importantly, 68% were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the format

It will also change the way you work for the better. The iPad 2 is nine times faster than the original, thinner than an iPhone and compatible with the Verizon network — the most used by sales people. And, three more reasons just in case you are not convinced:

i.  Add in a dose of mobile device management (MDM) ala MobileIron (the one I keep hearing about at all the pharma and medical device companies) so IT can keep all your apps up to date without any interaction from you.

ii.  To really amp it up, if your company has a presence system, e.g. Cisco’s, you can quickly see who is available for an online video conference call in medical affairs (with loads of disclaimers of course) to discuss a scientific article or an off-label use with your customer. Note: You may have to exit the room for the conversation, but you would still be delivering great customer service.

iii.  Read Medtronic’s experience in deploying iPads to their enormous sales force.

On a closing note, you will also be “cool” because all of your content will be digital and trees will be saved. At Medtronic’s estimates of 25 pounds of paper and 6000 reps, that’s 188 pine trees saved. Perhaps that will put a dent in global warming …

4. Your customers expect it

If your customers have gone wireless and paperless and you are still lugging 25 lbs of tree around, how do you think that will be perceived? Stacey Homan details the  iPad rapidly making inroads within the medical community in a few of her blog posts. Here are the key excerpts:

  • 70% of hospitals are launching iPads
  • US healthcare professionals are the fastest area of iPad uptake
  • One in five physicians plan on purchasing an iPad within the first year of the device on the market
  • 35% of Proscape’s medical device and pharma clients are already using iPads
  • Carrying around a small, lightweight, battery-operated computer which can access patient information quickly with instant-on is a a natural fit for physicians and hospitals.

Stacey says, “Physicians are leading the charge with 63% of physicians currently using a healthcare application via a smartphone in their practice. Physicians can use apps at the point of care to:

There are your four big, heavyweight reasons why the iPad is your new BFF (best friend forever in adolescent parlance). So, any hesitation? Any reason why you shouldn’t jump? Don’t let your big brother, old-school mindset stand in the way. If my 79-year-old mother loves her iPhone after two days and is a self-professed technophobe, you can do it too. Jump on in, the iPad water is nice!

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Additional References

  1. CHART OF THE DAY: The iPad Is Becoming The Only “PC” That Matters (AAPL, MSFT) (businessinsider.com)
  2. 5 Great iPad Apps for Field Sales Forces (goodpromotionalpractices.com)
  3. The iPad in the Hospital and Operating Room (healthcareitscope.com)
  4. iPads and Stanford Medical Students (VIDEO) (goodpromotionalpractices.com)

5 responses to “4 Reasons the iPad is a Sales Rep’s Best Friend

  1. Pingback: 2012 Digital Trends for Healthcare Marketing slideshow | Good Promotional Practices

  2. Pingback: 2012 Digital Trends for Healthcare Marketing slideshow | Good Promotional Practices

  3. Excellent point point provank, what apps have you seen that you liked recently, for sales reps

  4. Pingback: Five Ways to Make the Most of Your Streamlined Sales Force | Good Promotional Practices

  5. Good, succinct information — it’s not just about how many iPads are out there, it’s about how the applications you can access that change the game.

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