The sales representatives that give the most value to doctors cover psychiatry, oncology, paediatrics and ophthalmology, results from an exclusive poll for PharmaTimes show.

More than 1,200 nominations were received from doctors for medical representatives in the industry’s biggest customer satisfaction survey, which makes up part of the sales representative category in the new PharmaTimes Sales Awards, and was conducted by Binley’s and in February and March.

The NHS doctors were invited to vote for their favourite representatives based on a number of criteria including: openness and transparency; provision of services; understanding of medicines guidance within the relevant health economy; therapy knowledge; as well as the representative doctors most enjoy working with.

Psychiatry representatives were the most highly rated, taking more than 15% of all nominations, followed by oncology, paediatric and ophthalmology reps. Lilly was the top company in psychiatry, rising from third position last year with Roche leading in oncology and Shire leading in paediatrics.

Ophthalmology was the biggest riser in terms of doctors’ votes, climbing from less than 2% of the vote in the 2012 poll to the fourth most nominated specialty in 2013, with more than 6% of the final vote. Representatives from Allergan polled the most nominations followed by Novartis and Alcon.

Diabetes had been the fourth most popular area in 2012, but dropped to sixth place in this year’s poll with Sanofi cited as the most nominated company followed by Novo Nordisk and Lilly.

Other strong performances were from Servier in cardiology, Astellas in urology and geriatric medicine, Janssen in dermatology, Ferring in gastroenterology, Novartis in haematology, UCB in neurology, GlaxoSmithKline in respiratory medicine and Pfizer in rheumatology.

Results from the poll show a decline in primary care nominations, which make up less than 10% of all nominations – a drop from 11% in the 2012 poll. Chris Wilkinson, national sales manager at Galderma UK and member on the PharmaTimes Sales Awards steering committee, said this figure reflects the fact that GPs have less say in their decisions. “Decisions are increasingly being made over them and only once all key clinical commissioning group stakeholders have been satisfied will companies invest significant salesforce time in primary care. It’s a sad but true fact.”

AstraZeneca was the most nominated company in primary care for the second year running.

Nominations from specialist care physicians represented more than 90% of the total poll, while 42 medical device companies were also nominated, which is a significant increase over the 2012 survey, which identified 18 device organisations.

Wilkinson said the industry must work hard to continue to attract the best people into sales representative roles. “The NHS has evolved and our industry along with it. Gone are the days of transactional GP calling with a basic detail aid talking purely efficacy and cost. It’s much more about win-win-win now, with all stakeholders an inclusive key to success. Many industries benchmark themselves against competitors and I believe that the PharmaTimes Sales Awards provide the most comprehensive way of assessing core sales ability. For the awards to remain relevant, they must test the skills relevant to the new NHS and the new environment in which we find ourselves. Representative motivation and recognition is as important as it ever was and, speaking from personal experience, there is no better recognition than the PharmaTimes Sales Awards.”

The doctors’ poll forms one element of the new PharmaTimes Sales Awards – encompassing PharmaTimes Sales Representative of the Year, and PharmaTimes Business Manager of the Year – which aims to help develop and improve industry’s medical representatives and first-line managers through benchmarking data and qualitative feedback, as well as recognising excellence at all levels of career development.

The new competition has 22 categories – five for sales managers and 17 for representatives. Entry to the sales representative categories is through doctor nominations, while entry to the sales manager, key account manager and team categories is either through direct entry or by nomination from industry colleagues.

The nest stage of the competition for the best representatives is the finals day on 13 June, run by PI Partnership at Twickenham Rugby Club, where physician assessors will rate the representative’s ability to communicate the value of their medicines and services in a number of in-call competency areas.

The competition for sales managers closes on 30 May. To enter the competition for sales managers, go to:

The winners of the Sales Awards will be announced on 11 July in Central London. To book tickets, go to: