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Learn about this common challenge faced by healthcare companies and how to escape the Trap.

Even the best built and managed teams will have attrition. It occurs due to a wide range of reasons – career change, life change, dissatisfaction with the job, their colleagues, their manager, etc. It is happening right now – whether you have a small sales team of 10 or a national footprint of 1,000+. What’s perhaps surprising, is that very few healthcare companies have the required precautionary infrastructure to manage attrition effectively. Instead, most healthcare companies simply action a re-recruitment effort through a combination of recruitment agencies and/or field management interviews. This kicks off what I refer to as the Vacancy Trap.

How does it start?

Virtually every sales manager and marketing leader knows that reduction in field staff negatively impacts sales results and surrounding territory reps. Unaddressed or ignored vacancies lead to overburdened sales teams, sales management and operational support.

The team that supports the sales functions work feverishly to stay on course when staff changes occur. Whether it’s due to internal pressures to recruit, quarterly performance markers or ignoring long term impact, hiring managers often hire outside their traditional cultural fit and candidate profile to get the vacancy filled.

In the immediate days following a resignation or reduction, regional managers turn to neighboring, high-performing representatives to cover the gaps. This is where teams and organizations fall into the Vacancy Trap:

  • Overworked reps who have picked up the territories often become dissatisfied, leading to more resignations and vacancies
  • Promotional coverage across multiple territories is reduced or disappears
  • Less coverage leads to loss of contact, rapport and appointment-setting with multiple reps, HCP offices and territories
  • Hurried recruiting and training of a replacement rep leads to lower performing teams

The results of poorly managing the Vacancy Trap

Vacancies increase, pressure to re-recruit increases, service levels decrease, culture and satisfaction in the remaining team worsens. The cycle of vacancies quickens.

Is there a way to avoid the Vacancy Trap?

Yes. Inside sales continues to grow in importance. Offices and your HCPs are increasingly becoming more accepting and comfortable with reps connecting and servicing them remotely. By staffing a full time, inside sales team of even just a few high-performing, fully trained representatives, healthcare companies can flex and react immediately, avoiding the Vacancy Trap altogether. Fully trained inside sales reps provide healthcare with the ability to ensure booked appointments are not missed, share of voice is consistent, offices stay informed of adjustments in field promotional staff, service and sampling is continued and field managers can take the time needed to find the right candidates, not just a candidate.

It’s impossible to know when a team will lose a rep. Rather than perpetuate a cycle of poor service standards and other repercussions, the inside sales team acts as a routine back-up of expertly trained sales support to a field team of any size.

Need more information? Contact Tyler Cowan at

Tyler has over 14 years of healthcare industry experience in Pharmaceutical Sales, Primary and Specialty Care Marketing, Reimbursement and Market Access, Field Sales Management and over 7 years’ experience building commercial and clinical solutions with Ashfield. Tyler is also a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Inside/Remote detailing design and implementation, building teams in both Canada and the US for over 12 years.



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