The most typical question which strikes the mind when anybody plans to change Job is, Which questions will be asked in Interview?

What do I need to prepare to prove myself capable to handle the position I am interviewed for?

I am sharing below a few Do’s and Dont’s of Interview for Area Manager (Area Sales Manager/ Frontline Manager/ 1st Line Manager.

The Position of Area Manager is Gateway to Management in Pharmaceutical Business, This is the 1st Position which needs a complete paradigm shift from a Doer to getting Job Done.

The most critical aspect and challenging for any Just Promoted Area Manager is coming out of Medical Representative Mode.

Role of an Area Manager

  • Leading team of 4-6 Medical Representatives.
  • Controlling, Supervising Performance and Productivity
  • Building Brands of Company.
  • Developing Market Image/Reputation of Company & Products/Brands.
  • Vacancy Management.
  • Supply Chain Management.
  • Training and Developing Team Members.
  • Preparing Talents for Level Next.
  • Managing Performance, Communication and Strategy execution.
  • Feedback to seniors or Cross function departments.
  • If Needed proceeding for Disciplinary actions.

Responsibility of an Area Sales Manager

  • Team Development.
  • Developing Competency of team Members
  • Achievement of Targets.
  • Building Brands
  • Redressal of field grievances
  • A bridge between Management and Field.
  • Supervision and controlling Activities of Team.

Job Profile of an Area Manager

  • Handling Team of 4-6 Medical Reps.
  • Achievement of Targets as Assigned by the organization.
  • Ensuring Customer Coverage as per strategy.
  • Managing and Execution of Strategies meant for Customer coverage, Promotions, KOL’s
  • Performance Review and Intervention.
  • Vacancy Management/Vacant Territory Management.
  • Sourcing candidates for filling vacancy/or Keeping Backup plan ready.
  • Course correction.
  • Be a Mentor. Coach or Trainer for his/her team of Medical Representatives.

Tools Available for an Area Manager

1. Fieldwork: Joint Field Work.

The objective of Joint fieldwork are as follows

  • Personally connect with the Field staff (M.R)
  • Understanding Execution of strategy v/s Planning.
  • Developing Field force.
  • Change in Market Dynamics.
  • Close supervision of Strategies – Customer Coverage, Calls, Follow-ups, Promotional Strategy, Promo Material Distribution.
  • Sales Presentation skills (Detailing/Retailing Skills)
  • RCPA Evaluation, New opportunities evaluation.
  • Give Task before you leave the territory, with a defined feedback mechanism.

2. Daily Call reports: Analysis of Performance when not in Field

DCR’s are not just attendance, they are the mirror image of execution level by the field force.

What needs to be looked into DCR’s

  • No of Calls v/s Objective of Organizations (Dr’s and Chemists are equally Important)
  • Time Utilization during fieldwork. (Ex How scattered was Fieldwork? Waiting Period, Travel period, etc)
  • Dr. Brand Matrix, Promotion of Brands v/s specialty… v/s Previous Report.
  • No. of Brands Promoted.
  • Are brands focussed as per strategy? eg. No of Dr/Brand.
  • The frequency at which customers are covered (Regular as per Plan or Haphazard, erratic, irregular?)
  • Missed Calls/Customer Analysis (Missed calls are different from Missed Customers)
  • Analyzing which customers are missed more than twice and why?

3. Review Meetings

The objective of Review Meetings could be Postmortem of Past Performance or Working out Plan to Improve Performance.

Meetings should be designed in such a way that it gives you the insights of past performance, makes your team understand its weakness/strength and Gives you a platform to plan for the Next Performance cycle.

“Any meeting which is not aimed at improving performance is Just Harassment.”

How to Design Meeting Format/Agenda?

  • Focus on the Objective of the Organization.
  • Transformation of Objective to Doable task.
  • Analyzing Brand/Product Performance.
  • Analyses based on Customers… No of Prescribers Regular/Casual/Loyal/Exclusive etc parameters.
  • Insight on Customer Coverage/Service Patterns.
  • Input utilization and ROI.
  • Sales/Brands/Products trends
  • Work Hygiene.
  • Objective setting for the next performance cycle (Week/Month/Quarter/FY)

Conducting a Review Meeting:

What to communicate?

Always start with Achievement, how little that might be even in tough times, remember the objective of the meeting is to plan something productive and Improve performance.

Appreciate the achievements and Achievers, Slowly move politely to the area of Concern… This makes your team understand your view.

Never start meeting with -ve feedback or failures, Never use harsh words, in the beginning, this may turn meeting destructive instead of being productive.

Always encourage solutions from your team, those solutions will have better ownership.

Never Forget, A leader Keeps objective in His mind and Makes team to reach objective through his/her effective communication. In such practice, the ownership and adherence by the team are significantly better and result oriented. In no condition, the Leader can deviate from his Objective.

Involving team and taking them towards your predefined objective results better than telling Objective and asking them to Achieve. Making them Part of discussion and Planning brings better ownership than directing them to do or assigning the task. It is your ability how smoothly you take them to your objective and Agreeing on a Doable Plan.

While Communicating with your team always remember, Tasks are easy to do and measurable than objectives.

“An effective leader effectively converts Objective into achievable Tasks.”

If at the End of Meeting Team is not Charged with Enthusiasm and is not having the plan to achieve something special in the next performance cycle… The day is wastage of time, energy, and resources.

Is Area Manager a Coach or a Trainer?

Amongst the Various other Roles/Job responsibilities of Area Manager, Coaching his team remains the most important, this Helps

  • Gaining respect from team members.
  • Facilitates objective achievement.
  • Increases cohesion, reduces attrition.
  • Prepares for level next.

Induction

  • Briefing Him About Organization.
  • Briefing Products/ Brand Positioning
  • Handing over CVL/DVL
  • Taking through various procedures/Processes and Hierarchy.
  • Building Organizational Image and Personal rapport.

Joint field Work

On the job training is most critical and Important.

  • Focus on Sales presentation skills.
  • RCPA Skills
  • Data analysis and usage.
  • Rx demanding and Managing skills.
  • Reporting and its inference.
  • Objection handling and Discussion skills (eg Probing skills, asking questions)

During Meetings

Plan Product presentation and question-answer in Agenda, this can impart additional skills in your Team.

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