A day in the life: Territory business manager edition

Attention to the smallest details matter

February 04, 2019     

Bristol Myers Squibb’s Senior Territory Business Manager Eric C., spends much of his time working on the road. To be successful, he wakes up early and plans out every detail of his day.

What does it take to be a top-performing pharmaceutical sales representative? On most days, it starts with the socks for Eric C. He begins to plan his day by picking out a pair of socks. Then, he coordinates his tie and pocket square. He thinks about every detail of his day. In today’s complicated healthcare environment, you need to focus on how to break through the layers and plan a road map to achieve your goals, he says. Spend some time with Eric, a leader in the industry, and there’s no shortage of tidbits for success. This is a glimpse into the life of one of Bristol Myers Squibb’s many successful employees in the sales field.

Q: What does your morning routine look like?

Eric C.: At 5:30 a.m. my alarm goes off. I start doing abs and push-ups beside my bed. I don’t drink coffee, so this is how I amp myself up.

After I shower, I think about my theme for that day. In sales, we have a “capture attention” statement. I look in the mirror and practice it out loud. I make a big breakfast for my daughter and me. That’s important because I’ll often be on the road for a while after I leave the house.

Once I get my daughter off to middle school, I start planning my outfit. Every day I think about dressing the part and it all starts with the socks. I build an outfit based on the color and design of my socks and match my tie and pocket square to them. If you look good, you feel good and you will be good.

Q: What are the greatest challenges you face?

E. C.: My biggest challenge is trying to cut through the demanding layers of the managed healthcare environment. The environment is more restrictive because practices are joining larger institutions, where they may have policies that limit interactions with sales representatives. Doctors are also extremely busy, making it even more important to stay focused and ensure each interaction has impact.

Q: How do you overcome these challenges?

E. C.: I focus on the customer. If the conversation is constructed in this manner, “I’m here to provide valuable information about the efficacy and safety of our products, so you can choose the best product for each of your patients,” then you can’t lose because you’ve made it about them. The best way to find out what’s important to the doctor is by asking the right questions to create a dialogue and carefully listen to the answers.

At times, the job can feel lonely. There’s a lot of time spent on your own.  I often eat lunch on the road by myself, so I use that time to have productive discussions over the phone. I make the loneliness work to my advantage. By the time I get to an office, I’m truly happy to communicate with people and they can sense that. 

Eric is out the door first thing in the morning and often works from his car, making calls from a coffee shop or calling on clients at their office.

Q: What does a successful day look like for you?

E. C.: A good day is when I watch a doctor have an epiphany based on a conversation with me. Although I may have shared the same message before, I structure it in a different way and ask the right questions, so that the doctor truly understands the value in my product. Success is the doctor seeing value in my product for the patient.

Q: What personal attributes contribute to your success?

E. C.:  A few attributes that contribute to my success are:

  • Always being myself
  • Insatiable appetite for success
  • Willingness to listen more than I speak
  • Memory recall
  • Product knowledge
  • Empathy
  • Ability to collaborate and work with others to achieve a goal
  • Always having goals and staying hungry

Eric attributes his success to always being himself and having a willingness to listen more than he talks. His advice to someone new to the job: Always have goals and stay hungry.

Q: What do you like most about being a sales representative?

E. C.: I’ve been thanked by patients in waiting rooms for being a part of the team that’s helped change their lives. There’s nothing more gratifying than knowing I can have an impact on improving patient lives.

I also like that I control the progress of my day with the understanding that I’m accountable for my results. If I manage my day in a way where I’m done at 4:30 p.m., there you go.  Other days, I work well into the evening. I like having freedom and not having to deal with the office politics around who came to work first or who’s leaving last.

It’s simple. If you work hard then you get rewarded for it.

Q: What makes BMS an attractive place for a sales representative?

E. C. The science, the leadership, the pipeline and the growth potential. Even when I worked for a competitor, people always had great things to say about BMS. I want to work for a company that is going to have longevity with a strong pipeline and future. BMS continues to mold itself and reinvent itself with the changing industry.

I also felt valued at BMS from day one. When I pulled up for my initial interview, there was a designated parking spot for ‘Visiting Candidates.’ That’s a testament to how BMS values their people. Despite working on the road by myself, I know that I’m part of an engaged team at BMS and we’re all working together to help patients. It doesn’t get better than that.

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About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.