Dr. Palakodeti Ratnakar
Asst.Vice President – Lifesciences
Technology enabling Pharma Sales force in transforming Practice of Medicine to Science of Medicine.
Healthcare is expected to undergo disruptive changes in next decade to move from “practice of medicine” to “science of medicine” with the help from technology. Mobile sales enablement tools are creating newer and efficient ways for pharmaceutical companies sales force to engage with the physicians, thereby increasing effectiveness and optimizing costs. Digital tools and technologies are fundamentally transforming the healthcare industry.
Traditional marketing channels are no longer effective. This is attributed to previous aggressive marketing techniques used on time-pressured cost-conscious doctors. Pharmaceutical companies are now left with the challenge of promoting its drugs to a largely unreceptive physician audience. This has driven the industry to explore new digital methods and establish the best mix between traditional and novel marketing channels to target its ever-growing customer base.
In the last 5 years, pharmaceutical companies had to take re look at their marketing practices, prompted by the expiring patents on blockbuster drugs, the subsequent invasion of generic versions which offer comparable therapeutic benefits but at a fraction of the cost of the reference brand, and the emergence of me-too brands. With greater competition, and cost controls implemented by payers and governments in an attempt to stem escalating healthcare costs, physicians began to compare and contrast therapies, and with that the effectiveness of Pharmaceutical companies’ traditional marketing approach became diluted. Other factors have also led pharmaceutical marketers to explore new physician marketing channels.
(Thompson, R. (2001) Foundations for blockbuster drugs in federally sponsored research The FASEB Journal,15,1671-1676.)
These combined pressures are forcing the Pharmaceuticals sales and marketing teams to seek more innovative ways of driving sales and marketing effectiveness. It has therefore become vital for the Pharma sales force to be empowered with information and tools to facilitate faster decision-making and engage with physicians in order to improve their sales performance. Mobile technology can give Pharmaceutical companies the boost it needs to improve marketing effectiveness and sales performance.
This white paper provides answers to many of these key questions including how to define a comprehensive strategy to integrate mobility into sales processes and to develop a detailed implementation roadmap.
Mobile is Transforming the Sales Landscape – “70% of sales organizations using tablets are already realizing a positive return on their investment”. In the next few years businesses will spend an estimated $26 billion on mobile application development and mobile process reinvention.
Smart phones and tablet PCs are redefining sales because they offer a potent blend of usability, utility and innovation that yield high levels of sales adoption and sales productivity improvements not achievable with personal computers. Leading sales organizations are racing to build mobile sales applications that help sales people perform better. These applications called ‘Mobile Sales Enablement Solutions’ have demonstrated the potential to help sales people:
- Drive new sales and share of wallet with real time access to the right sales information at the right place and time to advance the sale;
- Simplify the sales process to improve sales productivity, maximize return on selling assets, and shrink the sales cycle;
- Differentiate the customer experience with high degrees of collaboration, a visually appealing sales interface, and client insights.
In April 2012, technology research firm Gartner, Inc. forecast 2012 worldwide media tablet sales at 118.9 million units, doubling 2011 sales of 60 million units, and completely overshadowing 2010 sales of 17 million units. The firm estimates that more than 900 million tablets will be in use by 2016.
In fact, Gartner names the #1 commercial business application categories for tablet devices as sales automation systems for customer collateral, sales presentations and ordering systems.
Aberdeen Research cites 23% more firms meet team sales quotas when employing a sales mobility strategy.
IDG research shows 73% of firms who built mobile enterprise applications realized a gain in productivity.
Benefits for Pharmaceutical Sales Force
Enhanced quality of engagement with physicians:
Digital detailing is one of the primary drivers of mobility adoption in pharmaceutical sales. Since specialty care sales representatives typically get more time with physicians, e-detailing can be a powerful tool as compared to the conventional visual aid detailing. e-sampling and e-couponing helps to improve physician interaction.
Enhancing productivity of medical representatives:
The advantages of CLM using a tablet include the capacity to capture how long physicians are observing the detail, the ability to accept requests for extra information in real time and respond to these instantaneously, while also being able to measure the detail’s effectiveness and potentially the return on investment. Mobile enabled field force has access to product learning material and certification tools for skills enhancement while they are on the field.
Better decision making:
With mobile Pharma detailing application integrated with any CRM system, Pharma sales reps can record the information that shapes the direction of business and establish effective pre-call planning. Information on physician prescribing pattern and molecule choices are captured and the representative has a 360 degree view of the physicians in the target list. Multi-dimensional analytics can help the marketing team to react immediately to the needs from the sales force with instant alerts and actionable insights, greatly improving efficiency and productivity.
Improving the physician influence:
Pharma companies have an opportunity to influence physicians with improved quality of detailing, faster fulfillment of sampling and instantly reverting with desired medical information requests and latest clinical reports with the help of mobile applications.
Right Sales Enablement Tool:
The current market of enterprise CRM systems provide limited or no value to a field force sales rep. Existing CRM systems are more about managerial functionality, and less about what information can be accessible to a sales rep to make them more effective and engaging. It is important for the organizations to select the right tool for effective sales management
In addition, to a suitable platform, it is highly imperative that the content is focused & personalized and is in alignment with the customer segmentation. Detailing messages also depends on the product life cycle stage.
Personalized content helps deliver
- Relevant focused and consistent messages aligned with the customer segmentation.
- Detail and deliver the product messages to the physicians in an offline mode. Synchronization ensures both offline CRM client and enterprise CRM application are updated with latest information.
- Facilitates effective bi-directional flow of communication between the Medical Representatives and physicians and also track and record metrics of all interactions.
Mobile enablement helps to sell smarter by unlocking the power of analytics in selling situation. This will also help to capture and use information gathered in the field to optimize resource allocation, cross sell and asset utilization. A mobile sales enablement solution can help sales force:
- To access and deliver insights and relevant information to physicians in live selling situation.
- To quickly gather and interpret previously unseen data trends and performance, customer insights and market trends.
- To capture, identify and share best practices of the top performers.
- Provide data driven decision support in the field for cross selling recommendations, consultative selling and advice.