How Meeting Technology Can Boost Sales

By Heather Baldwin

Can a single sales meeting solve the problem of flat sales in one area of the country? It sounds a little ambitious, but that’s exactly what one major pharmaceutical company did using Meridia’s Audience Response technology at a regional sales meeting not long ago. The Audience Response technology instantaneously captured reps’ knowledge and perceptions as they responded to various questions and then displayed the aggregate responses in charts and graphs on a big screen. When the responses revealed a divide between customers and sales reps that could be causing the sluggish sales in the west and mid-west, managers pounced.

Here’s how it worked. Over a one-year period, the pharmaceutical company held a series of symposia for physicians at which they used Meridia’s Audience Response to poll physicians on a variety of issues. One of the questions asked the doctors in the audience about their chief concern when prescribing heart medication. Their response: Product effectiveness was the primary concern.

Several weeks after the last symposium the company held its regional sales meeting and once again used Meridia’s technology to get instant feedback from sales reps. During the meeting some of the same questions put to the doctors also were asked of the reps. Which is where the disconnect was revealed.

When sales reps were asked what they thought was the doctors’ chief concern when prescribing heart medication, the reps responded that doctors were primarily concerned with side effects. When this result was displayed on screen, the regional sales director halted the meeting, took the stage and revealed how doctors had responded during the symposia. He told the reps that product effectiveness, not side effects, was the doctors’ chief concern. Within minutes sales reps could visually see the results of the polling, identify the gap between the doctors’ concerns and the focus of their presentations, and resolve to reconstruct their sales presentations to address upfront the issue of product effectiveness. Problem solved.

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