3 Dangerous Labels in Pharmaceutical Sales Training

Pharmaceutical sales training

Labels are a convenient way to help us group, organize and simplify information, especially when dealing with a complex set of tasks in pharmaceutical sales training.

So convenient, in fact, they can get us into trouble.

Pharmaceutical Sales:  Healthcare Provider (HCP)

Let’s consider one of the most common labels we use in pharmaceutical sales:  HCP…Healthcare Provider. When discussing a detailed marketing plan or launch strategy, it’s easy to label everyone we might interact with or sell to as an HCP.

It’s really helpful because everyone gets it and we can focus on other details.Pharmaceutical Sales Generic HCP

The danger? 
Using this label alone, can you picture who we’re talking about?  Can you SEE them in your mind?  If you can, is it any more specific than a stock photo of a smiling person in a lab coat?

If we aren’t careful, we can lose focus on the fact that we’re talking about people. Unique human beings with different needs, preferences, styles and situations. The stock image we get in our minds of a generic HCP starts to reinforce a “one size fits all” mentality.

Undifferentiated detailing and business jargon dropping (instead of real dialogue) ensues.

Pharmaceutical Sales Training:  Learner, User, Participant

When looking at pharmaceutical sales training specifically, we use 3 labels in very similar ways:

Learner.  User.  Participant.

These labels are convenient when referring to the audience we design pharmaceutical sales training for.

  • The learners that will be going through a live training workshop
  • The users of our LMS or mobile training platform
  • The participants in our WebEx virtual session

We get it.

Just don’t stop there – that’s the danger.

Pharma sales rep

Hello…I am a user. Take me to your LMS.

Learners don’t really attend your live training workshops…people do.  Real people, with different learning styles, backgrounds and needs.  Can you SEE them?  Training design should be done with them in mind, as specifically and intentionally as you can.

Users don’t login into your LMS…humans do.  All sorts of humans that you get to meet and interact with on a regular basis.  Make sure you’re thinking of THEM when you’re designing a digital experience for accessing content. Literally, have some of them in mind.  Invite them to be part of the development process even.

Participants don’t take up seats on your WebEx…sales professionals do.  A wide range of talented and driven representatives that want to be successful.  Have you created a pharmaceutical sales training experience for THEM?  Or for participants?


See the difference?

There’s no reason to stop using these helpful labels.  I’m sure I’ll use them this afternoon in one form or another.

Just don’t allow their generic nature to be an excuse to design or deliver generic training.

That’s dangerous.

Until next time,



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