Build A Multichannel Marketing Strategy For An Omnichannel Experience.
The Pharma sales rep role.

How the sales rep is positioned in the big wheel of channels and interactions?

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We couldn’t talk about multichannel marketing and omnichannel customer experience without including the sales representative (sales rep) in the picture.

Several points have already been established:

  1. Healthcare professionals (HCP) are forced to adopt “no see” policies and have less time to spend with sales reps.

  2. HCPs want more valuable interactions with sales reps.

  3. The sales rep is not the only HCP’s primary source of information anymore – which is actually one of the reasons why multichannel marketing strategies have been deployed by Pharma companies.

The sales model for Life Sciences companies have changed.

First of all, in several Life Sciences companies sales reps have shifted to remote detailing if not already the case even before the current pandemic situation. That’s an added point driven by the context where sales reps need to apply some changes.

At the end of the day it is all about providing value and enhancing the omnichannel customer experience to support the multichannel strategy. Today, sales reps need to provide a consultative sales strategy to product offering made to help HCPs in decision-making for their patients due to the fact that HCPs’ largest source of information remains internet based.

Brands and products’promotional mix are more and more towards an effective, and efficient customer-centric approach for providing valuable information to HCPs. Sales reps are shifting from building relationships with HCPs to sell to partnering with HCPs to help them help their patients which ends up building trust.

The sales rep plays an essential role within the MCM strategy mix making HCPs more receptive to prescribing their brand by:

  • Understanding the HCPs’ challenges, needs and objections;
  • Providing specialized information based on the HCP’s practice;
  • Answering questions when they arise and at the HCP’s convenience;
  • Supporting the organization promotional activities (CME, events etc.);
  • Providing information including educational materials and services based on the customer experience map which are the

According to findings of an Accenture survey of 720 general practitioners, oncologists, cardiologists and immunologists globally, most HCP’s are interacting with sales reps more than before COVID-19, however they want sales reps to have a better understanding of their needs and expectations now and after the crisis.

Healthcare providers are seeing pharma companies diversify their communication beyond product information and are finding more value in additional support services from pharma such as education on remote support and digitized patient information.

82% of HCPs say they have seen pharma companies change what they communicate about, delivering not just product information, but support that meets their most pressing needs.
82%
Only 10% want to go back to pre-COVID norms for in-person meetings.
10%
61% of HCPs said they communicate with pharma sales reps more now than before COVID-19.
61%
87% of HCPs want either all virtual or a mix of virtual and in-person meetings even after the pandemic ends.
87%

Source: New Models for Pharma Engagement with Healthcare Providers in a COVID-19 World. Accenture Healthcare Provider Survey May 2020.

Today, the digital transformation in Life Sciences is critical.

But, sales reps are often not aware of all the initiatives included in the customer experience map  which has led them to not fully deliver a more integrated approach to service to HCPs.

So, it is important for Pharma companies to empower field forces to drive the multichannel strategy in order to deliver the best omnichannel experience to HCPs.

Positioning the sales rep within the multichannel strategy.

A physician will prescribe a drug when the brand comes out of his top of the mind. He already made the online search himself about different therapeutic strategies or products etc. for his patients. Many studies revealed that most of the physicians have a lack of trust into the product information provided by the Pharma company.

Therefore, in an MCM strategy, the role of the sales rep will benefit the Pharma company not into credible scientific information but for after-search clarification and discussions about a product they are interested in. While most of HCPs have completed most of the decision process with so much information now available to them online, the sale rep must be on the HCP’s top of mind so when he wants to prescribe, he will think of the right brand.

The sales rep role is to empathize with them to create a support to the HCP’s practice using triggers and different channel of communication defined within the customer experience map.

Although HCPs are applying “no see” policies, the sales rep is still the best for setting up initial interaction, meeting objections and dealing with queries. Then through the channel mix the sales rep has a pivotal function that allows the Pharma company to keep pace with HCPs’ needs through remote detailing, triggered emails, promoting product website, invitation to CMEs etc.

Sales forces help boost the company’s reach, engagement and performance of their MCM strategy. In the end, the sales rep is the only one who can get the HCP’s engagement. For instance, a brand’s website traffic can be driven from sales rep engaging with HCPs. Emails triggered by a sales rep are 2X more opened than the ones sent by the Pharma company.

TIPS FOR SALES FORCE MCM EMPOWEREMENT
 
  • Get technology supporting real-time updates for HCP information and content;
  • Offer training on the MCM strategy and the tools supporting it;
  • Equip the sales team with a 360-degree view of the customer, including the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAP. 
  • Share multichannel marketing initiatives with sales reps;
  • Follow up trainings and cross collaboration to enhance HCPs’ omnichannel experience through the sales force insights and interactions’ data analysis.

Sales is about educating.

It is important that Life Sciences companies continue to invest in sales reps, technology, and processes to be able to provide the best omnichannel experience to healthcare professionals and support them in their daily practices.

If you’d like to learn more about  multichannel marketing management in Pharma, feel free to reach out to us at contact[at]hexagone.life.

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