COVID-19 has captured the attention of the world. While our focus on the virus is understandable, we must not lose sight of the continuing impact of other diseases. For newly diagnosed individuals as well as people who have long been managing and fighting their conditions, awareness of and access to proper medication remains essential.

In these unprecedented times, life science sales representatives are finding it harder than ever to bring effective treatment to prescribers and their patients — which is where sustainment training comes in.

Sustainment training is a powerful tool for ensuring that sales reps not only maintain but sharpen their product knowledge, that they earn and bolster their customers’ confidence, and that they are poised to succeed when life returns to some semblance of normal. Building upon a solid foundation of prescribing information expertise, medical landscape awareness and practical ability, sustainment training uses a variety of tools and methods to prepare a sales team for the better days ahead.

Over time, we all forget information, and the fog of forgetfulness is often exacerbated by stress. Accordingly, the first step in designing an effective sustainment program is to identify “headlines” that will remind sales representatives of both the key data and its underlying content. In most cases, a comprehensive review of the previous curriculum is not necessary; instead, microlearning can parse the content into informational capsules for easier recall and reinforcement.

From online quizzes to mobile games, interactive sustainment training can take place on multiple virtual platforms through which trainers can monitor learners’ progression, players can revisit challenging content until they master it and sales representatives can compete against their colleagues (which, in turn, encourages increased use).

Certainly, some standard sustainment training strategies are currently on hold — for instance, the “selling village,” a setup of stations where training participants can meet with trainers and engage in a variety of entertaining and educational activities to boost and develop their product knowledge and selling skills. In the meantime, there are still plenty of ways to grow knowledge and reinforce morale, including regular team video conferencing, blog posts, web content, and online or phone one-on-ones with trainers.

Life science sales representatives perform vital work. As we all fight to contain the coronavirus, it’s likely that many of these reps will soon be conducting virtual sales calls and using other non-traditional outreach approaches. Now, more than ever, let’s do all we can to support their efforts.