We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews across Latin America with both physicians and sales reps in order to gain an understanding of the current profile of a sales rep and importantly, understand how the profile is expected to change in the next 5 years. This involved exploring issues such as whether a traditional sales force will still be needed and the role of the face- to-face meeting versus digital touchpoints such as online or mobile communications.
In order to get our respondents in a future mindset, at the time the new market events / technological changes are expected to happen, a ‘Journey to the Future’ projective technique was used. As well as the market events we were interested in, we interspersed the journey with other news items that might occur, such as news related to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the first Virgin Galactic commercial flight in 2019. Using our in-house graphic design resources we were able to produce stimulus materials that conveyed the journey to the future and gave the respondents a feeling of time progressing. These materials helped respondents think more creatively about how their needs and expectations may change during this time.
Perspectives from the different stakeholders were triangulated, allowing us to provide recommendations around the elements that make up the ideal profile of a sales rep in the next 5 years.
This exploratory market research process provided our clients with clear and actionable guidance regarding how they should structure their sales force, what skill sets effective reps will need to have and where to invest training budget.