Complex medical products, strict regulations and immense competition are the everyday challenges for a pharmaceutical sales rep.  As a result of these challenges, sales leaders face high attrition rates and crucial task of training of new joiners regularly. Pharma sales reps training conventionally has been with conducted with trainer led PowerPoint presentations, offsite training workshops often stretching upto a week & large group of sales reps in a classroom. Situations changed with Covid-19 pandemic and pharma industry was quick to adopt latest technologies in all fronts be it product development, go-to-market launches or frontline team training at a large scale. Over the past few years, frontline readiness platforms has made in-roads in Learning & Development (L&D), Training and Commercial Excellence teams of pharma organisations. Frontline readiness platforms encompass microlearning, gamified learning, sales enablement tools to prepare the frontline teams especially sales reps (also referred to as Medical Representatives) deliver effectively and improve their productivity.

Microlearning is an effective approach for frontline readiness with its bite-sized content and interactive learning modules which make learning fun, easy and engaging. Such content can be accessed on-the-go via mobile phones, available on demand during downtimes, and also provides opportunity to re-learn with multiple attempts. The microlearning market size is expected to reach USD 4.87B in 2029 with an impressive CAGR of 13.13%, highest growth contributed by Asia-Pacific market.

Content development for microlearning is a creative process with multiple features which provide a thorough learning experience to learner groups. It is a widely known fact that learning retention is higher with use of multiple sensory stimulations – audio, video, interactions & bite-sized text. Such approach also improves the cognitive learning skills in a short span of 15-20minutes. A pharma sales rep generally has multiple opportunities in a day for self-learning during the downtimes at a doctor’s clinic. Products also undergo several scientific updates which mean that conducting large scale trainings frequently can be expensive and cumbersome for sales leaders. Microlearning enables sales leaders to push personalised learning content on all sales reps’ mobile phones just-in-time.

Here are examples of top 7 features you should look at while evaluating content development capabilities of microlearning platforms:

Interactive Learning Aids (ILAs) – Microlearning content should not be just a conversion of raw content into simple flash cards. Sales leaders can structure the content in multiple ways, depending on the learning objectives, length of content  and degree of technicality in the content. Between learning cards, interactions can be built in to validate sales reps’ understanding of the concept introduced in previous cards. Examples of ILAs are MCQs, match the right response, true/false, fill in the blanks. Introducing ILAs breaks the monotony of learning, and it also helps sales reps to assess their understanding of the concept.

Game-based Assessments (GBAs) – GBAs helps sales leaders to assess sales reps’ understanding of overall topic at the end of a module. GBAs uses different game designs similar to hyper-casual games which assesses learning agility of the learner, the idea of introducing mobile elements with the changing question keeps a check on learner’s capability to switch between varied thinking streams. There is a high learning effectiveness from these game designs as it provides analysis of sales reps’ deeper understanding to the concepts , as the sales rep analyses each option they try and relate each option to the other thus delivering a deep rooted understanding. GBAs can be in varied forms such as multiple answers, match the right response, audio based, true/false et al.

Learning Challenges – ILAs and GBAs can be utilised for a single topic to provide holistic learning experience. For example: during the launch of new medicated toothpaste in oral segment, in the first section the basics of the toothpaste ingredients, benefits can be captured. A following GBA can test sales reps’ understanding of these topics. On successful GBA attempt (winning the game), it unlocks next challenge/next section which discusses product USPs, competitor landscape, price points. Such learning challenges break the monotony of learning and engages the sales rep by participation in ILAs and GBAs. Sales leaders may also choose to follow blended learning approach where the assessments can be conducted on phone after trainer-led classroom sessions. It saves the time to assess every individual and gives immediate results.

Background Voiceovers – Pharmaceuticals ingredients can have complex names and pronunciations. With only text based self-learning, a sales rep may not be confident of pitching to healthcare professionals if they are not well versed with concepts, pronunciations, and sales pitch. Microlearning cards can be enhanced with voiceovers for certain sections which can auto-play as the sales rep clicks on the card. As the sales rep reads through the text, the audio helps with conceptual learning.

Videos & Short Form Videos – Videos are of the most accessible forms of digital tools for learning today. Organisations can also use mascots in their communications to make it a more enjoyable experience. Training of a pharmaceutical product includes mode of action of the specific drug, physiology, half-life and efficacy. These complex concepts can be explained in a simplified form with videos and short form videos such as GIFs embedded in the learning cards. Thus, sales reps do not need to access videos separately on streaming platforms such as YouTube.

Hyperlinking to Document Repository – Learning cards can be hyperlinked to the detailed product presentations such as Visual Aids (VAs), sales reps’ aide in promotion to doctors. Apart from VAs, scientific literature, LBLs, price charts can also be added to the knowledge repository for ready reference of sales reps.

Learning Journey – Learning journeys can be an innovative way to launch content, allowing the trainers to schedule and set custom unlocking mechanisms on a group of learning modules. SKU launches, updates in medical regulations, compliance training can be launched in a journey mode wherein the sales rep has to complete prior modules to unlock subsequent modules.

By incorporating microlearning into their training programs, pharmaceutical companies and sales leaders can empower their sales reps with the knowledge and skills they need to drive sales growth and better serve healthcare professionals.

Master-O®, a frontline sales readiness and gamification platform, has powered several sales enablement & frontline readiness programs for enterprise customers and been a key driver of sales strategies for leaders across industries. To make capability development, sales enablement & engagement more personalized, Master-O® empowers sales managers tap into various data points and analytics for coaching & upskilling their frontline reps. This gives sales leaders and managers much-required objective perspective to reimagine their sales coaching, capability development & enablement approach and realign it with performance metrics.

To learn more about Master-O®, please visit or schedule a demo to discover how Master-O® can redefine sales readiness & frontline capability development for your organization.