November 4, 2015

How Many Speakers Do I Need?
Fall is here and it is time to plan for the upcoming year. An important component of Speaker Program goals is having the right number of speakers. Recruiting too few speakers could prevent you from reaching your program goals. On the other hand, training more speakers than you will utilize has other consequences—unnecessary training costs and the potential perception that there was no intent to use certain speakers. The mindset should always be to use every speaker who is trained.
I have always believed the best way to determine the right size for a Speakers Bureau is to start with the Total Reach Goal—how many HCP’s you want to reach. From there, determine the Projected Average Audience Size. This estimate can be based either on the average audience size for previous programs for the same product or, in a new product launch situation, on the size of audiences typically seen for similar brands or in the same therapeutic area. From there, you can calculate the Required Number of Programs by dividing the Total Reach Goal by the Projected Average Audience Size.
Over the last few decades I have analyzed and watched closely how many programs a speaker will do over the course of a year. Data from programs for more than 20 pharmaceutical companies has consistently shown that speakers participate in an average of 6-7 programs per year. In looking at the data for AHM’s current customers in 2015, it is projected that each speaker will participate in an average of 7 programs this year.
Of course, there are always circumstances — such as highly specialized products or specialties — where other factors need to be taken into consideration. One example would be transplant medicine.
The final step in determining the right size for a Speakers Bureau, therefore, is to divide the Required Number of Programs by 7 (the average number of programs in which each speaker is expected to participate).
Despite our best intentions, the reality is that, for one reason or another, some speakers will not do any programs. The proportion of such speakers tends to vary from 5% to 15%. The reason for this variance may have something to do with the position of the product in the market, or where it is in its lifecycle. So it is important to add 5%-15% to account for those who may never speak.
You are now ready to plan and budget accordingly for your Speaker Programs in the coming year!

Contributed by:

Claire Rizza, VP, Account Management, AHM

Claire joined AHM in 2006 as a Service Delivery, Senior Director. After launching one of AHM’s flagship accounts she was promoted to VP of Account Management where she has been responsible for multiple large accounts. Prior to AHM Claire spent ten years at a Medical Education Company, she also spent 15 years at Parke-Davis. In total Claire has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 25 years in speakers bureau.