Pharmaceutical Sales Incentives: A Case Study

The Pharmaceutical Industry is big business. Companies like Pfizer, Amgen and Sanofi have market capitalizations well over $50 billion with steady growth expected. Contrary to what you may think, even groundbreaking prescription drugs do not just sell themselves. The success of these companies rests largely on the performance of their Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives. Let’s learn a bit about who these individuals are and how to inspire them.

The position of Pharmaceutical Sales Representative boasted its way onto the top 100 “Best Jobs in America” list compiled by CNN Money in 2012. Several factors were considered for this ranking including a median pay of roughly $97,000 per year and 16.4% expected job growth over the next ten years. With over 400,000 jobs reported in the field at the time of the study, there is no shortage of opportunity for people wanting to join this industry. The position is very fast-paced and high turnover rates are common. Assertive, persistent and knowledgeable are a few of the most common adjectives used to describe successful Pharmaceutical Sales Reps. The majority of their time is spent on the road traveling to meetings with pharmacists, hospital personnel, doctors and others who have the ability to connect them to potential customers

Engaging a sales team to perform and stay motivated in this high paced atmosphere requires a strategic approach that goes beyond expected compensation. This is where a strong sales incentive program utilizing non-cash incentives comes in to play.

Pharmaceutical Sales Incentive Programs can produce massive gains in terms of incremental sales revenues when implemented and managed properly. In addition to cash commissions and bonuses, effective programs also use non-cash incentives, training opportunities and contests to motivate. Non-cash incentives can include travel prizes, merchandise rewards and recognition awards from management. These incentives are awarded not only for those who win sales contests but also for those who complete training portals to increase their product knowledge.

Participants that frequently receive progress reports and standings updates naturally exhibit higher levels of competition and are more driven to sell. It is also important to make sure that the program rules are clear, fair and easy to understand with effective communication plans to support the initiative.

These Sales Incentive Programs are particularly vital when new drugs are introduced into the market, when existing drug sales are falling or when sales reps need to be reinvigorated due to declining performance.

Situation: Novo Nordisk Uses a Sales Incentive Program to Introduce New Non-Insulin Medication Victoza

Incentive Magazine shared a fascinating case study about Danish health care company Novo Nordisk and their recent sales incentive program that introduced Victoza, a non-insulin medication for adults with Type 2 diabetes. Their goal was to engage more than 2,000 sales reps with this campaign and encourage them to sell Victoza.

An online-based five-day incentive program called “Welcome to Club V” was introduced and themed around an exclusive nightclub incorporating a virtual red carpet and VIP experiences. This virtual “nightclub” made it easy to access training portals, progress reports, contest rules and the award shopping mall. The award shopping mall allowed participants to select prizes of their choosing based on various achievements.

Essentially, participants were awarded with prizes in exchange for the completion of training portals and victories in sales contests.

Results: 100% Participating in Competitions, 95% Taking Daily Quizzes

The program was quite engaging to say the least. An astounding 95% of the sales force took daily quizzes and every participant competed in the individual and team sales competitions. The program rewarded these Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives for doing what they already did, but for doing it better by encouraging continuous growth in their job knowledge.

Jamie Jones, senior director for Novo Nordisk strongly believes that sales reps become tired of selling a product after just six to eight weeks no matter what the product is. Incentives are the only way to keep them engaged in selling.

This “club” took the rather dull experience of learning about and selling medications and turned it into a fun, competitive and exciting way to earn prizes. The representatives received incentives. The company enjoyed the results of more educated employees and increased sales revenues. Everybody was victorious here.

The Keys to the Success of This Program

The rewards were selected to match the objective of the program and target demographic. Choosing interesting rewards for Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives can be difficult, but experienced gift buyers will have the answers at the right price. Large rewards can include exquisitely planned trips to exotic locales and activities that are not commonly open to the public. Smaller awards can include luxury name-brand gifts that resonate with your target audience.

Many touch points were present. Communication, training, measurement and reinforcement were articulately designed. It is essential that participants know the value of offered incentives and how they are able to win them. Keeping the competitive spirit of participants alive with constant reminders is also vital. Email blasts, printed collateral, meetings, online standings websites and even teaser gift items are effective in this area.

If you are looking to create or revamp your pharmaceutical sales incentive program, give us a call at 949.476.2788 or email us at We understand your target demographic and what drives them, the communications necessary to get them to participate, the metrics to demonstrate value to executive management and even ways to increase your corporate social responsibility in the process.

To learn more about the important role that marketing communications play in sales incentive programs, please click here.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Top 5 Corporate Tech Gift Ideas for Colleagues

It’s hard to believe it but October is already rapidly passing us by and it won’t be long before the holidays are just a few frantic shopping days away. This season is traditionally the time when we direct most of our attention on purchasing thoughtful, unique gifts for our family and friends. This holiday season is also one of the most ideal opportunities to reward and show our appreciation for those who are crucial to the success of our business endeavors, such as executives, valued customers, vendors, distributors, and management. We wouldn’t have the disposable income to shower our loved ones with such great gifts without our business relationships after all!

Accordingly, I’ve decided to compile a list of the top 5 corporate tech gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season. If you’re looking for the same trite, boring USB drives and docking stations, then click out of this frame because that’s not what you’re going to receive. The following list of gifts all exhibit superior levels of the following attributes: uniqueness, usability, and “wow factor” most importantly.

The Waterproof iPad Case – $100 Retail

This item won the Consumer Electronic Show’s Innovation Award and provides a high degree of utility for any professional who utilizes an iPad tablet. Full use in up to 6 ½ feet of water is permitted and survived a drop from 4 feet high in consumer tests. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and amazingly the case does not impact sound quality. Now, those on your list can utilize their tablet for work or play, even in the comfort of their own pool.


The Distance Calculating Talking Golf Caddy – $180 Retail

Talk about the perfect gift for the executive who loves to golf! This GPS unit is palm-sized and verbally communicates to the user what their distance from the green is. Such innovative features allow the golfer to alter club and shot selection. With a database of over 35,000 pre-loaded courses, it recognizes where you’re playing and all dimensions associated with the course. You can measure the length of drives, distance to front, back, or center of the green and with ease. Executives and salespeople who meet with clients on the golf course will be the talk of the town when using this gadget.


The Steering Wheel Bluetooth Speakerphone – $70 Retail

The traveling businessman’s life just got easier with the invention of this cordless Bluetooth speakerphone that can be affixed to your steering wheel. This device allows the microphone and speaker to be placed closer to your mouth for improved hands-free cell phone conversations. It is compatible with any Bluetooth device and displays all calls on its digital screen. The 10 most recent incoming calls are saved in the memory and it is able to download up to 300 contacts from your phone. The touch of a button, or word of your voice, can easily accept or reject calls. This innovative item will revolutionize the way business communication is conducted in cars.


The Pen Sized Scanner – $125 Retail

This product represents a great solution for the businessman who is looking to scan and store important documents quickly and easily without wasting paper and having access to a bulky scanner. This ballpoint pen has a high-precision auto-focus lens and a 5-megapixel built in to scan clear 2048 x 1536 pixel images. Capacity is 1GB of flash memory and can hold up to 1,000 images in JPEG format. Lastly, voice memos can be recorded through the integrated microphone.

The Only 5 Axis Video Stabilizing Camera – $350 Retail

This is the only digital camera on the market with 5 axis video stabilization and 3 axis still stabilization. This results in smooth and sharp movies and photos without a tripod. Other notable features include: high-speed CMOS sensor, 16 megapixel camera, 48x digital zoom, 24x optical zoom, 25mm wide-angle lens, and quick response auto-focusing that allows you to capture moving targets such as kids and pets. Even advanced filmmakers can manipulate the settings to get their optimal video content. This gift allows those on your list to document their vacations, family life, and just about anything else that moves and has a pulse.


Awarding, rewarding, and incentivizing your colleagues with these practical innovative technology gifts such as these will improve morale, strengthen relationships, and show them how much you appreciate their contributions to your business. It doesn’t hurt that they’re quite unique, cutting-edge, and showcase your creativity.

Have any ideas to add to the list? Comment below and we’ll check it out! Also, please feel free to contact me at  or 949.476.2788 extension 1005 to talk about how to procure these items for amazing costs that are well below retail!

JNR Rewards & Recognition:

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Incentive Travel May Be The Key To Engaged Employees

Employee engagement has become such a hot “buzz phrase” in recent years that much of the meaning has become lost in translation. However, it is widely understood that engaged employees are strong assets to any successful company. To illustrate this point, consider that “disengaged” employees cost the US economy over $300 billion annually. Incentive travel awards may be a major factor in inspiring employees to achieve continuing success and remain engaged.

Let’s take a moment to clarify why it is important to keep an employee engaged. An engaged employee does not necessarily equal an employee who is happy and content with their job. The term goes beyond these overly simplified definitions. Workers who have an emotional commitment and attachment to the goals of their organization are considered engaged employees. These employees go beyond the call of duty and essentially do whatever it takes to improve company performance. This dedication is why they are so valuable and profitable to their respective companies.

Reward and recognition programs, such as incentive travel, are excellent methods to inspire, reenergize, and motivate employees to achieve organizational performance goals. Incentive travel, which includes group travel, individual travel, and motivational events, is often believed to be the strongest motivator of performance due to the lasting memories and experiences it creates. The journeys these employees are taken on are often virtually impossible to replicate on their own.

Key Finding in Support of Incentive Travel:

  • 4:1 Return on Investment – when implemented effectively, travel incentives generally produce this remarkable ROI
  • 76% of executives and 80% of past incentive travelers believe incentive travel “significantly  impacts employee morale, job satisfaction, and performance”

Incentive travel can be instrumental in engaging your workforce and increasing the bottom line of your organization. Properly and efficiently implementing these programs is the difficult part. The planning, operations, logistics, and site management must be flawless in order to awe the participants. If you’re interested in implementing or revamping an incentive travel program, please visit our website at or send us an email at

Source: Incentive Travel Council study “Behavioral Economics of Incentive Travel”