As we travel around the country and talk about restaurant catering, the question that keeps coming up is: “How do we grow sales with our Pharmaceutical Representatives?” After all, this customer segment has a generous budget allocated to catering and orders frequently. Frequency that is driven by new drug launches and last minute orders are consistent order patterns we observe in this important catering segment.
To win the business of local Pharmaceutical Reps that take both breakfast and lunch orders to medical clinics, offices and hospitals, ease and convenience in order processing is an absolute requirement! First and foremost, these busy, time-crunched sales reps want to order, through their personal channel of preference – online or phone – whenever they want or need to order.
Additionally, trust and confidence must resonate through the process and an immediate email confirmation of an online order affirms the restaurant has the order while putting the always-on-the-go rep at ease.
First-time orders that take no more than five minutes and a repeat order that takes no more than one or two minutes is essential to win this business. Here are five proven ways to enhance ordering efficiency and add value that will attract more Pharmaceutical Rep orders:
1. Invest in an account management system that allows for:
- Stored client information (name, company, billing address, phone number, email address, etc.)
- Quick duplication of past orders
- Stored credit card information
- Easily identified restaurant locations proximate to delivery site
- Management of rewards and incentive programs
2. Offer an easy-to-remember centralized phone number:
- One number to call for the brand is ultimate convenience
- Looking up individual restaurant numbers can consume precious rep time
- Reps preferring the phone channel want to place the order with a trained catering customer service rep that answers the phone quickly, knows the products and can take the order efficiently and accurately.
- Suggestion: Call one of your restaurants and place a catering order. If it takes more than two to five minutes (including the time it takes to get a person on the phone that knows how to take a catering order), then your catering program may not measure up to the need in a most competitive environment
3. Offer efficient online ordering 24/7 – for several reasons:
- Some reps are tired of the phone time spent on a long sales day
- The dynamic nature of setting appointments with clinics results in last minute order needs – either late at night or early morning.
- Reps check voicemail at the end of the day to find that a clinic has accepted a “lunch and learn” for tomorrow and need to place an order, many times when a restaurant is busy or closed.
- Many companies offer a repeat a past order capability in online processing that saves time.
4. Market to medical offices, clinics and hospitals:
- The clinic staff (delivery site) frequently specifies catering preferences from their favourite restaurant with the rep (order placement) – visiting the medical offices with your food product for tasting can lead to orders placed by the rep.
- Drop off menus routinely.
- TREAT clinic and office staff with free coupons to visit the restaurant
- Drop off treats as a thank you to those offices that receive deliveries frequently
5. Implement a Rewards Program:
- Many Reps expect rewards and will place orders exclusively with restaurants offering reward.
- Consider restaurant gift cards that can be used to dine in or redeemed for catering.
For these steps to be productive in growing catering sales, flawless execution is the key enabler and requisite as the foundation of every successful catering program. These busy sales reps worked hard to arrange a small amount of time with the doctor and clinic staff and thus, have chosen catering service, delivery, and setup to allow maximum time engaging with staff and teaching and training them. Therefore, they need everything to be on time and all there – time wasted hunting down the order or having the driver return to the restaurant for missing items reflects poorly on the pharmaceutical company, tarnishes their reputation and assures that your restaurant has captured its last order from the rep.
Attracting more catering orders from pharmaceutical reps with these important steps will also attract many other segments of catering decision makers, such as computer services, human resources and law firms as you get catering and grow sales within the organization. Let’s talk catering.
For more information on the MMS Catering Institute, please contact me at 1-877-6-MONKEY x. 128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org