The Start-Up. Zygar Pharmaceuticals was formed in 1970. Two consulting research cardiologists from the Parke-Davis division of Warner Lambert, Dr. Dale R. Fox and Dr. Caren Conners, began the company in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Initially, Zygar was little more than an independent sales office with ten people handling part of the Parke-Davis product line in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
All that changed in 1982 with FDA approval of Zilene, a drug developed and patented by Fox and Conners for patients suffering with coronary artery spasms (angina). The drug interferes with slow inward (depolarizing) electrical currents in myocardial tissues, relaxing the coronary vascular muscles and dilating the coronary arteries. Such a drug was of interest to both cardiologists and general practitioners. Normally, a patient suffering with the symptoms of angina would be referred to a cardiologist. If a drug regime was indicated, the cardiologist would prescribe an antianginal drug and return the patient to the care of her or his primary physician. While the general practitioner usually continued to prescribe the selected drug, he or she could change the prescription if changes in the patient's condition over time warranted.
Because Zilene would compete with several antianginal and antiarrhythmic drugs already produced by Parke-Davis, Drs. Fox and Conners resigned their consulting positions and took Zygar Pharmaceuticals private. Warner Lambert, however, was initially licensed to manufacture Zilene for the start-up company.
Further Growth. While only three salespeople stayed with the new company, by 1990 Zygar's sales organization had grown to 85 sales reps, eight sales managers and one vice president of sales. The vice president, Mr. Alan Machin, was one of the three who stuck with the company after the changeover. In addition to Zilene, by the spring of 1990 Zygar's product line also included one cerebral vasodilator (Gaspar) which was of particular interest to physicians specializing in oncology and internal medicine, one bronchial dilator (Bendine), and two antidepressants.
Zygar's corporate headquarters remained in Yardley, Pennsylvania. However, by early 1990, the company had built one manufacturing facility in the Mercer County, New Jersey, free trade zone and another manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Indiana. A regional sales office (leased) had been positioned in Orange County, California in early 1993. A second regional sales office in Savannah, Georgia is currently under consideration.
Zygar's salespeople are expected to make between six and eight calls a day, including calls on pharmacies. Physicians to be called on are separated by their sales potential (the 1's have the highest potential and the 3's have the lowest), and by how difficult they are to be seen (X's are hardest to see and E's are the easiest). Machin has always liked to see his detailers try and build their schedules around the times the X-1's and M-1's are available, though new doctors are given priority because their potential is unknown. While each salesperson is expected to call on pharmacists to update their doctors "script writing" habits, most of them are too busy filling prescriptions to be seen until late afternoon. Alan has always insisted, however, that sales reps visit pharmacists before calling on a new doctor to get a handle on the physician's prescription writing tendencies so they can better tailor their presentation in the initial "getting acquainted" visit.
In June of 1993, Fox and Conners received FDA approval for Rodine, a new vasodilator. Like Zilene, Rodine acts to depress myocardial irritability and conduction. Like Gaspar, Zygar's cerebral vasodilator, Rodine acts to increase cerebral blood flow as well. However, its primary benefit to patients is that it also safely reduces ventricular arrhythmias. This combination of attributes makes Rodine a drug that can be used not only by cardiologists and general practitioners, but also by surgeons and those specializing in internal medicine. In anticipation of its release, the number of inquiries received by the company about the new drug was phenomenal. Zygar's switchboard was swamped. At Machin's urging, Fox and Conners agreed with his plan to expand the sales force and to hire between ten and fifteen new trainees.
Yet a problem quickly arose. How could Machin efficiently train both new hires and the sales reps in the field about detailing the new drug without a sales meeting of some kind? Zygar's national sales meeting had already been held in New Orleans in February (as it is every year), and Alan knew that Fox and Conners would never authorize a second meeting for the introduction of just one drug. Both Fox and Conners wanted their salespeople to concentrate on "what they got paid for" - - selling. The election of a president who was hostile to the medical community also made many routine expenditures problematic.
In addition, Conners had been pressuring Machin to lower his organization's selling costs. Caren had estimated the cost of putting a Zygar detailer in front of one physician at $280. While the industry average was $300 per visit, Dr. Conners had expressed her concern that Machin's salespeople were spending too much time in the wrong physician's office waiting to see a doctor at the wrong time and reading four year old copies of Gourmet Magazine. Yet since 1991, the company had provided each salesperson with a laptop PC for record-keeping at a cost of $2,200 per unit. Although the software had a basic call-planning program, few of the detailers had mastered it and were using it regularly. Alan knew that he also had to find a way to teach his sales reps to make better use of their time and to use their computers to better advantage.
Finally, one particular sore point was Zygar's focus on meetings and the use of meeting quotas. In order to get in front of more physicians, Machin had encouraged his reps to try and schedule at least two presentations a month with groups of doctors who shared an interest in or tended to prescribe similar types of drugs. Because Zygar was a fairly small company, Machin didn't want his salespeople calling on the same doctor more than twice a year. From his perspective, this would force his detailers to see more doctors with different specializations and result in more complete coverage in each of their rather large territories. Scheduling a breakfast or luncheon meeting at a hospital for six or eight physicians would allow the salesperson to see a doctor more than twice a year. Whether a guest speaker was scheduled or the detailer just gave a quick stand up presentation, the networking opportunities involved would at the very least help build goodwill between the rep and the physicians. Unfortunately, most of Machin's salespeople did not look for the opportunity to arrange meetings when doing their call planning.
Mr. Machin decided to call Dr. William Strahle, managing partner of Time & Territory Management. TTM specializes in handling tour routing and call planning issues. Strahle suggested developing a training diskette for all the Zygar salespeople that could be used by each rep as they waited in a doctor's office for their appointment. Interested, Machin agreed to hear Strahle out. From this point on, reader, you are Alan.
The Meeting.OK Alan, let's turn on your computer. I see it's an IBM compatible. Good, now let the system boot up. At this point, one of your salespeople is likely to need to download the software and they should go to one of the DownLoad web pages available from the home page. But since I have already downloaded the software you should start the program by double clicking the WZygar icon on the screen. After doing this you will see the following screen.
As you can see, Alan, the Tag Along Trainer consists of two major portions, the Day Scheduler and the Week Scheduler.
The Week Scheduler should be used to learn and reinforce priorities for matching locations with the day of the week on which they should be visited. The program reads in a database of physicians and pharmacies and information about these physicians such as their type of practice, the date they were last visited, the drugs they prescribe, and the days and times that they are most accessible. The physicians are already grouped into locations. The program allows the salesperson to decide which locations should be visited on which days and evaluate their decisions. The detailer will be given feedback about the decisions and suggestions about how to query the database for helpful information.
The Day Scheduler assumes that the decisions about which location to visit on each day have been made. Zygar's detailers must schedule the actual appointments using the physicians accessibility, potential, date of the last visit and other information. After scheduling the physicians either through one-on-one contact or meetings and scheduling their meals, they can evaluate their decisions for each day of the week, against the schedules selected by yourself and senior Zygar sales managers. Next your salespeople will be led through a practice walkthrough of the Week and Day Schedulers. They should start by selecting the Week Scheduler hyperlink. Then we will give a description of the screens that may be accessed for information to help them make their decisions.