The best Soft-Skill-Training in the world

Woman and man watching a paper together, talking about it

After last week's focus in the interview more on the job as such and the prejudices, we are more focused on skills this week.

What are the expectations of the doctors in the meetings you have?

They are looking for a comfortable and concise update about the marketing authorisation conforming application of our medicinal products. Apart from this they enjoy planning events together with us or when we offer them help with medical questions. For example doctors can ask us to do a literature search. We then forward the request to the corresponding locations within the company. But sometimes as clinical representative one is also simply only the advice columnist or agony aunt, especially in oncology. This is also why the interpersonal relationship between doctor and field force worker is so important.

Roche Pharma Germany colleague - Start-Up Program Marketing & Sales participant Martina

Dr. Martina Rauschmeier (35) studied biology in Mainz and then did her PHD at the LMU Munich.

So field force work is not only about the sales figures?

We are of course involved in marketing and are also measured by the turnover. But that is not the only success factor. It is for example also taken into account how many events we are able to arrange and how many participants we can win for advanced training. In addition to this I have my own very personal driving mechanism: It motivates me tremendously when I receive positive feedback from my doctors, or when I hear that a patient who would benefit from our medication actually receives it after my meeting.

You have quite often spoken about events that you develop. What does this mean in practice?

These are advanced training courses initiated by Roche to which we invite the doctors in our district. Apart from specialist medical lectures, for example about current therapy options in oncology, we offer the doctors there a platform for intensive discussions and mutual exchange. I greatly enjoy developing these events together with my colleagues and to observe how they flourish. During the time of my field force work we have in addition to the traditional event series developed and established two new formats - that of course is super!

How did Roche prepare you for the field force work?

Before going to the first appointment one receives a deeply founded training at Roche in Grenzach. That is where I got to know the company, absolved a communication training and an IT introduction so that I can operate the iPad, mobile phone, laptop and the Roche software well at home. Apart from this I was trained again in detail in the fundamentals of oncology and on this basis then trained in the medication for which I am actively involved. But regardless how well one prepares oneself – the most important thing is the experiences that one collects "on the job". This is why at the beginning a new trainee is accompanied by colleagues who have already been in the field force for some time. My area manager also played an important role in my development process as salesperson.

Being good in sales is certainly an ability that a successful field force worker needs. What else is important? And which characteristics can one learn, and which are not able to be learnt?

The field force work is the best soft-skill seminar that one can imagine. I have learnt an incredible amount about my personality, about my strengths and my weaknesses. And I have learnt that weaknesses also offer opportunities and make a person authentic.

This also brings me to the characteristics that a field force worker needs according to my opinion: he should not engage in pretence, must be open towards other people and should under no circumstances appear as a lone warrior: what is also needed is high self-motivation as we organise our work day completely independently, and creativity to plan events. What can be learnt are the tools of a salesperson, meaning the communication methods and the rhetoric. In our training courses for example we find out how to act in a conflict situation, how one develops ones negotiation skills or how one gains more powers of persuasion.

Your field force time is now coming to an end and you are switching over to the internal office staff. What will you miss?

If I were to recount all this now then this will be a huge list because the last 18 months were wonderful. What I will miss: my area manager and my colleagues; the doctors, the nursing staff and the secretaries from whom I received very touching farewell gifts; my company car and the extremely nice catering at my events Munich; the large field force congress with all the expert lecturers in Germany and my lunch breaks at the side of the Upper Bavarian lakes or at the foot of the Zugspitze.

And what are you looking forward to?

To the impressions that I will now get from office staff work. I will work for three months in Medical Affairs, three months in Market Access and two times six months in Product Management. Already in the field force work I was in active exchange with the product manager for my medication and was involved in the product team in the development of materials: I am looking forward to being more intensively involved in this. Apart from this I am curious about the new colleagues - especially the other trainees. And as yet I am not so familiar with the border triangle between France, Switzerland and Germany. So I am looking forward to exploring a region in Germany that I do not know yet.

© Roche with, April 2017

Tags: Career Blog, Germany