Ranbaxy Laboratories is reportedly planning on substantially bulking up its salesforce on home turf under a strategy to boost revenues and reclaim its crown as India’s number one drugmaker.

The New Delhi-based firm is looking to hire 1,500 marketing executives - including medical representatives, regional and area managers - in a bid to expand its salesforce by more than 50% and make extra cash from rural markets, according to a report in India’s Economic Times.

The group’s sales team is currently around 3,000-strong and primarily focuses on the bigger cities in the country, but an “increase in affordability and accessibility of healthcare have made rural India an attractive and key growth segment,” Vijay Zutshi, associate director (healthcare) at research firm Synovate, told the paper.

Meanwhile, a report by healthcare research provider Cegedim Strategic Data says that global promotional spending on salesforce and other marketing channels grew by 1.6% to $93.2 billion in 2009.

While spending on salesforce promotion alone remained level at $55.7 billion it still represented almost 60% of the tracked marketing mix, as cuts to sales teams in developed market are countered by an increasing amount of cash being sunk by drugmakers into emerging markets.

The amount of money shelled out on meetings and other events, however, grew by more than 10% for the year, and that on e-promotion jumped 15% as more healthcare professional tap into the web worldwide, but spend on print advertising, direct-to-consumer and post-marketing product trials dropped from 2008, Cegedim said.