Our Barcelona 2013 conference, much like most 11 year-olds, has had an interesting life so far. At birth, when it was called 'Sales Strategies for Pharma', it attracted around 150 people. Those people were considered the most innovative of the sales directors working at that time and Barcelona was already the venue of choice in March 2003. They had begun to explore so-called 'revolutionary' techniques such as company-wide CRM, incentive management, better segmentation/targeting and analysis of the optimum frequency of rep visits. All things now considered standard practice, if not since outdated. eyeforpharma then coined the term 'Sales Force Effectiveness' (SFE) for 2004. Due to the popularity of this event, the phrase SFE became common parlance in the pharmaceutical industry since, and began to appear in job titles and department names soon afterwards.
It's interesting to look back at how the industry was thinking then. After researching with around 50 executives, we summarised our findings in the conferences brochure as follows:
"Extraordinary levels of competition are threatening pharmaceutical companies across Europe. The last two years have seen almost all sales forces increase in size with an average sales force growing by 20% due to limited physician access. With companies looking to maintain their share of voice in this ferociously cut-throat marketplace, it comes as no wonder that by 2005, 80% of pharma companies are looking to squeeze out competition by expanding their sales force even more."
A lot changes in 11 years. For one period, from 2006-2009, the event was paired with another topic, Forecasting. The event was twice paired with a stream on ‘Mobile Solutions’, as early as 2003. And then the conference took place in Paris for 2005, in Monaco for 2008 and then Dusseldorf in 2011.
In 2012 the event was combined with eMarketing, our conference for digital professionals, and hit 1000 delegates for the first time. In 2013 the event has been rebranded as one major flagship conference and will attract a global audience for the first time.