Evolution of On-ground Sales Connect

Author: Animish Raje

Designation:

Business Manager – Lifesciences

The Most Powerful Ground Force needs no Introduction

Drug reps are the on-ground sales force of pharmaceutical companies. These personas carry out the most difficult job of persuading physicians & hospitals to prescribe their drugs. They have been in existence since the early nineties and to achieve the sales target, they have traveled from gathering personal information of their customer to going beyond the regular information provision. Drug reps are the major factor of a pharma company connect-communicate strategy between physicians and patients. Since the innovation of commercially available internet facilities, digital technologies have enabled consumers around the globe making them a major player in all the sales plans. This web of ‘customer to company’ is no longer is one-way road rather it’s a Freeway. The internet has become osmosis membrane in our lives transferring information that impacts our lives on a day to day basis. Along with this, the population of internet savvy people is on the rise every second thus, these virtual tools are relevant to all their stakeholders.

The healthcare industry has been lagging when it comes to new forms technology and connect strategies. But, since the last few years, the digital world has moved and innovated with such vigor that this industry has fast forwarded itself with patient information, education and new medical approaches. The digital market has reached to its early evolution and an almost single customer has a mobile with them; moreover, there are more than 50,000 health and wellness related app on all the platforms. For coping with this pace, pharmaceutical companies are diving deep into the ocean of digital, with the core focus being reputation, innovation, and connection. Thus, pharma companies need to reinvent their strategies for approaching HCPs.

The Dicey Relationship

The relationship between the Drug reps and Doctors have always been dicey. One is the transfer of information and other is the methodology of interaction. The data that is transferred between them is so valuable and high value that it’s difficult to analyze what is of more importance. In the current scenario, interaction & engagement systems are mature. But, the insights needed for creating the right customer experience from a Medical representative to a physician is missing. The important phase in which these platforms are being developed is bringing out personal, device and organization connect.  HCPs are increasingly preferring digital modes of interaction and the pharma giants need to get aware of these preference in order to connect with them better. The most important part in the HCP connect is the detailing of the information in an appropriate way within regulatory constraints. Pharma companies do conduct web conferences and other events to transfer knowledge of their progress. Along with this, there are brand & product focused websites which share information about the specific genre of products for HCPs update of professional practice knowledge.

With so many connect strategies working in silos, the bird’s eye view of this data has been missing. These strategies had been designed keeping in mind the sales force (being the most influential in the food chain). But, due to the advent of information seeking physicians, and progressive loss of the sales rep role, the engagement strategies need to match up with Drug Rep’s objectives and HCPs requirements.

Bridging the Gap

As mentioned above, the current systems are lacking the connection between a physician and a Drug Reps journey. The creation of a unified connect between these two stakeholders will abolish the void created currently. One of the probability being a creation of well-structured and well-thought architecture with the critical components addressing the need of today will allow them to reach digital’s full potential.  Pharma companies need to intelligently invest in platforms with intuitive capabilities which would leverage audio, visual, content and interaction which would improve connections between the existing network and be going down the line becomes a self-sufficient platform for the creation of a better and deeper connect. The platforms need to shift the major focus of ‘sales’ to ‘transfer of information’ to the HCPs. These can include portals, social media, eDetailing, Apps, events management etc. along with a special information security feature to abide us with regulations and of course provide measurement analytics. Or else, they focus on one solution at a time but include a unified connectivity across the globe which will allow the Drug Reps to digest the information & connect to the HCPs.

The intriguing part of all the current solutions is that these dynamic platforms empower healthcare providers, patients, and institutions but by eliminating drug rep interruptions. The lack the human sales interaction in these solutions make them robotic and sales models have to be more emotionally driven rather than analytically. Thus, it is important for us to create and execute digital solutions in sync with them. Let’s Enable the Drug Rep and improve our sales.

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