Home / Areas of Expertise / Case studies / Message Recall

Case Study: Sales Message Recall


In today’s pharmaceutical market, the sales force has become the largest component of sales and marketing budgets. At the same time, physician access has decreased so sales representatives have less time to deliver a product’s value proposition.

As a result, a leading pharmaceutical company wanted to ensure that physicians were “connecting” with the main messages delivered by its sales force. They also wanted to understand the messaging impacted brand positioning, and how easily it was recalled after a sales call.

In addition to measuring message recall, the company was interested in a related sales metric: sales force effectiveness, which determines the elements of a sales presentation that have the most impact on prescribing habits.

Business Question

For this company, the question was two-fold:

  • Sales Message Recall: How well is our brand message resonating with physicians?
  • Sales Force Effectiveness: How effective are our sales representatives in presenting product benefits, asking for the business, and, ultimately, influencing prescribing behavior?

The Answers & Insights Approach

Armed with a list of the sales force’s schedule, Answers & Insights leveraged its in-house call center to contact physicians within 48 hours of the sales call. The richest and most helpful data is usually captured when a survey is conducted close to the time of a sales visit, rather than 30 days out, which is the standard for most healthcare market research firms.

Answers & Insights gathered information on both message recall and sales force effectiveness during a single call, eliminating the need to reach out to physicians a second time—saving both time and money. Participating physicians were compensated for their time since the phone survey took approximately 20 minutes.

The type of quantitative information gathered included:

Message Recall

  • Which message the physician considered to be the main one for the product
  • If that message was important, believable, relevant and motivating
  • If that message compelled them to prescribe

Sales Force Effectiveness

  • Details about the sales call: location, length and attendees
  • If new information was presented
  • If they discussed formulary status, managed care and access/co-pay assistance programs with the rep
  • Which visual aids were used and how well they supported or aided message delivery
  • If the rep suggested treatment situations or types of patients for prescribing
  • If they were asked to prescribe the product
  • Factors that decrease confidence in prescribing
  • Factors that would increase prescribing confidence
  • Attributes of sales rep (professionalism, attitude, knowledge, follow-through)

Customer Benefit

Customer Benefit

By combing research for message recall and sales force effectiveness, Answers & Insights saved  the pharmaceutical company money, used the doctors’ time more effectively, and provided information on both of these metrics in a timely manner. Armed with the results, the company was able to determine the relevancy of brand messaging as well as its sales force’s effectiveness.

Last, Answers & Insights designed the phone survey so that they could gather information on the type of messages being delivered by the competition, which was helpful in understanding what physicians were being exposed to and what was going to be most effective in product differentiation.