July 14 2007, London U.K. - The pharmaceutical market in Asia-Pacific has quickly become the focus of global pharmaceutical companies as they seek to drive growth worldwide. With traditionally strong markets like the US and Europe stagnating, emerging markets, like those found in China, India, Singapore and Hong Kong are gaining importance.
Market experts agree that success in the region will rely on transferring effective approaches developed in core markets, but adapting them to the diverse needs of local areas within the region, which are all at varying stages of evolution.
Pharmaceutical executives surveyed by EyeforPharma say healthcare cost containment, competition from generics and increases in codes and regulations are key challenges for companies operating in Asia-Pacific. But the biggest gains, they believe, will come from developing strong pipelines and increasing the efficiency of their sales forces.
When it comes to the sales force, survey participants say that finding, developing and retaining top talent are the greatest challenges facing companies in the in Asia-Pacific. Targeting and segmentation, overcoming the silos between sales and marketing, the lack of customer data and implementing customer relationship management systems and change management processes also are key challenges in the region, participants say.
One sales director for a top-five pharma in the region says talent management is a big issue across all markets in Asia-Pacific. "Finding, recruiting and developing sales managers and directors that understand the business model is changing and that they need to embrace coaching and performance management is a key challenge," he admits.
Experts say improving customer base segmentation and daily call rates, as well as developing more targeted promotional messages and targeting new channels and alliances will also be important.
"We are used to segmenting customers around relationships, rather than around high economic needs," admits the sales director for a top-five pharma in the region. "Cultural norms have caused us to put a stronger emphasis on the relationship than on the product. We must differentiate brand messages instead."
The Asian-Pacific market is a growing and dynamic one that multinational pharmaceutical companies cannot afford to either ignore or mishandle. Cultural nuances and a fast-changing market landscape create many challenges for companies operating in the region.
Sales force effectiveness is and will remain a key issue as companies expand into geographically and economically diverse regions facing major transitions in healthcare delivery and accessibility. The ability to forecast and react to rapid change will be critical to success in the region.
Successful companies in the region will recognise the need for a unique balancing act between tradition and innovation in their approaches to SFE.
To learn more about SFE in the region, make plans to attend EyeforPharma's Sales Force Effectiveness Asia-Pacific conference 11-12th September, 2007 in Singapore.
For more information or to register, please visit www.eyeforpharma.com/SFEAPAC or download a free report on Sales Force Effectiveness in the Asia-Pacific region at http://www.eyeforpharma.com/sfeapac/report.shtml
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