Wednesday, September 07, 2011

How Sales Reps Can Use Tablets to Fool Their Sales Manager Overlords

While reading "How Pfizer Uses Tablet PCs and Click-Stream Data to Track Its Strategy" (see here), I was struck by two thoughts:
  1. Pfizer's use of technology to collect sales analytics seems pretty basic; eg, David Kreutter, a Pfizer VP of US Commercial Operations, revealed a source of "predictive analytics" to be a simple Web log that shows what physicians click on and what they click through to when they visit a product website. But Pfizer doesn't have "any greater data on how those clicks translate into prescription writing."

  2. and

  3. The "real-time" data they get from sales reps using tablet PCs seems pretty easy to falsify. Here's how Kreutter describes it:

    "As they click the screens with their styluses to illustrate points, those clicks are recorded. That’s how we’re able to see things like the order of presentations, the messages within a presentation that were presented, if the physician found it engaging. Representatives synchronize their tablets on a daily basis, and we get a data stream back to our data warehouse. Our customer data master now has all of that click-stream data for each representative and each doctor."

    Maybe I'm being a cynic or not understanding the technology, but what's to prevent a sales rep from doing all the clicking while waiting in the physician's office hallway just to drop off samples?

This sort of thing is probably not new -- no doubt sales reps have falsified paper-based sales call reports as well. But now the amount of data coming in from 4,000 representatives, each seeing "about seven or eight physicians a day," and each detailing "about two to three products in each of those calls," provides a false sense of knowing in detail what's going on. As has been said ever since computers were invented, "garbage in, garbage out."

P.S. I also note that Kreutter only spoke about "tablet PCs" and NOT iPads. I guess Pfizer has not yet progressed to using that technology.


  1. CafePharma is awash in step-by-step instructions on how to game the geolocation and timestamp tracking built into each company's tablet platform. (The doctor's parking lot seems to be a more favored location for these activities than the office itself, as non-CIA-strength GPS can't resolve the difference between the two.)

  2. Ha Ha! I should of checked cafe PHARMA, but I was too lazy :-)

  3. I've lost respect for you now. Blame the reps, try blaming the marketing people for the false advertising for years. Marketing wants ipads to reduce their printing costs, ha, they love any gimmick to get docs to listen to the remanufactured stats they chart.
    Major changes in Mkting starts in Feb,2012, be forewarned.


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