VACANT TERRITORY MANAGEMENT – The sole accountability of F.L.M. (First Line Manager)

In three of mine Learning & Development series i.e. ‘5-Essentials’, ‘Selling to Managing’ and ‘Supervising to Managing to Leading’; I have tried to cover all the five functional segments and hierarchies of the industry in sales and marketing.  I am a firm believer of the fact that any pharmaceutical company will be as strong as its first line managers. And the First Line Managers will be as strong as they understand the basics of the industry and know there customers well. To help and guide to Know Your Customers I gave the course for the first line managers as they quite often face the problem of vacant territory management.

Vacant territory management is the exercise a first line manager is supposed to do till he gets the suitable medical representative for the territory. And this exercise involves the process of not only managing the existing business in the particular vacant territory but also to keep the supporters of your company & moving products professionally alive with the focused investment of time and efforts as a first line manager.  And this needs to be done effectively because the visibility of the organization is a must for survival in this highly competitive Pharma industry.  And with a word of advice would like to state that it can be done only if you know your customers well in the particular territory since the good time of your joint field work. Simultaneously would also like to say that had you been attending your internal customer also in a professionally required manner then probably would not have faced the problem of vacant territory and its management.  Well, and then take this understanding to home that if you know your external customers well, there will be no shortage of business in the territory. And if you know the internal customers also equally well then you will rarely face the problem of attrition and vacant territory. And you may know your internal customer best at the time of induction only. Therefore, I have given you the course for 1) Induction of Medical Representative (Fresher) 2) Induction of Medical Representative (Experienced).

I believe that effective induction will definitely reduce the probability of attrition and therefore the chances of vacant territory management. However, this is your positional privilege as a first line manager that some time or other you need to deal with the situation of vacant territory management.

So, the above courses will be helpful for knowing your customer well and for effective induction of medical representative. And when you induct the new medical representative (whether fresher or experience), you must be perceived in such a manner that your leadership gets established in the first call itself.

Now with this understanding, providing you the course Vacant Territory Management. And being a firm believer of 5 Essentials, once again would like say that anything having life always contain 5-Essential elements for that. And our profession of Sales & Marketing in pharmaceutical industry is also a profession with life only. Therefore, it’s having 5 functional segments, 5 step hierarchy and 5-essentials to generate prescription.  The five functional segments of the industry are market, products, people, system and vision.  And these five functional segments are attended as accountability by the 5-step hierarchy i.e. MR, FLM, SLM, TLM and National managers. And since the business can be generated through prescriptions only; therefore, to generate prescription you require 5-essentials i.e. Day’s work plan, R.C.P.A. Dr’s call preparation, Input utilization and Effective closing of call. Now for learning Vacant Territory Management would like to make it loud n clear that if you believe that vacant territory management to be done only for business management you are wrong. In fact, the vacant territory management to be done to attend all the five functional segments of sales and marketing in pharmaceutical industry. And further grab it as an opportunity as a first line manager to recheck and sharpen your skills on account of five Essentials required for prescription generation. This opportunity of vacant territory management may reveal such astonishing facts to you sometimes which you could have never come across while working jointly in the field with the medical representative.  I suggest to all the first line managers to go through this course for their learning not only to manage the vacant territory but also to strengthen yourself for the better induction of a medical representative with the learning and exposure of vacant territory management which will hopefully not allow you to face the situation again.

Author: Mahendra S. Bisht

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