There are several myths concerning pharmaceutical sales representatives being tracked by their companies. One of those myths has been about the pharmaceutical industry being able to track representative’s time in and out of the field. Some other myths surround GPS in laptops or cars. Being on the corporate end of matters you can rely on what you read here as factual. This information is so that you become aware on how to protect yourself from the eyes of your managers.

First of all there are no GPS devices in computers or company cars. At least not ones that can track your every movement; Having said that, pharmaceutical companies CAN track quite a few things about pharmaceutical sales representatives.

One a report that is run often at the corporate end is how many times you “open” the call during the day, what time on average you made your last call, what duration it is, and what time during the day did you start.

While these are averages that are seen at the corporate end for the various regions in pharmaceutical companies, many of other consultants and colleagues at other pharmaceutical sales companies see the same, the reports are much, much more granular at the Regional and District Manager level.

Now realize that it is acceptable to end a call before 2 PM or start after 10 AM “once in a while”. However, these reports that are run at the District Manager level will tell them what your average duration for a call is, and on average when you leave or start the day (taken over the course of 30, 60 and 90 day intervals). Anything over an 80 percent variance is a red flag.

Initially you may notice your pharmaceutical district manager out with you more, or subtly questioning some of your calls. But the real thing that will happen is come time for layoffs; you will NOT be on the list of those protected. Your ranking (which has 0 to do with numbers) will be based on a percentage of variance from the work schedule. Now obviously if you get caught with an outright lie you WILL be fired before the layoffs, but District Managers know most pharmaceutical sales representative have shortcuts.

So if on your typical week a pharmaceutical sales representative works two days between 9-4 PM, and three days outside that variance you are on the radar screen. If you also work 9-5 every day (and we know most reps do not), and are very bad about closing calls on your computer or not synchronizing every day, you will be put on the radar screen. My advice a pharmaceutical sales representative is to get sample signatures at least two times per week after 3:30 PM and one time per week before 9:30 AM.

The leeway allowed is greater for morning calls by the way. Pharmaceutical sales representatives need to protect themselves out there and always keep thinking about Plan B!

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