A Plan for HCP Engagement: Improve Pharma Sales Force Effectiveness

November 13, 2014 Kevin Dunn

Improve pharma sales force effectivenessGone are the days that your pharmaceutical brand could rely on face-to-face visits to drive sales. Physicians have drastically reduced sales rep access—and some doctors that won’t see sales reps at all. Many pharma companies are also challenged with providing sufficient market coverage with a limited sales team. You probably have fewer field representatives than you’d like, and these reps are stretched thin, limiting their effectiveness.

The result of these two challenges is that you are under pressure to improve your team’s engagement with targeted health care providers while also increasing sales coverage—all without adding to the ranks of the team.

While these are both intimidating challenges, there is actually a simple solution: meet your providers and their gatekeepers on their various preferred channels with relevant and useful content. The result is more impactful communications, better engagement and increased sales with fewer required resources.

Driven by Data

The process starts with data. Your target HCPs are a unique group of people, and you need to understand them and their practices to deliver sales results. Dynamically profiling prospects beyond prescribing behaviors will allow you to purposefully target and segment your audience, offering strategic focus on the best customers. The data also provides valuable information about relevant behaviors and beliefs, allowing you to map your audience on a continuum to focus the correct message on the right audience through the right channels.

Delivery Channels are Key

Your strategy, creative and collateral materials will depend heavily on your specific program goals. However, our experience tells us that the best pharmaceutical sales force enhancement program delivers materials through a multichannel approach: direct sales calls, telesales, direct mail and email. While email and direct mail have become physicians’ preferred channels for product information in the absence of a sales rep, telesales remains an effective tool for reaching the “office gatekeepers”—key players in the pharmaceutical sales process. Synchronizing communications across all channels makes all communications more impactful, builds relationships with providers and other key staff and improves engagement. This multichannel approach has a proven track record of reaching difficult or “no-see” providers, expanding the reach and effectiveness of your sales force and improving your return on investment.

A Look at Success

Let’s look at a real-world example. As a result of new guidelines regarding the annual flu vaccine, a mid-sized pharma brand had an opportunity to increase sales to family practitioners that treat children. The company did not have the ability to hire new team members. Instead, they implemented a sales force enhancement program. They used sales data, state vaccination rates and pediatric antibiotic prescribing data to identify key prospects. Using other data-based insights, they developed a multichannel program that consisted of a central eDetail—an online interactive learning experience—supplemented with direct mail, email and phone. The company selected and prioritized target physicians and practices and ensured communications were delivered at their most accessible times via the most relevant channels.

This program generated 53% of all doses sold to PCPs during August through December and delivered 12:1 ROI.

Better Pharma Sales Force Effectiveness

In summary, the best plan to improve provider engagement and your sales force effectiveness starts with deeply knowing your audience. With the right data, you glean valuable insights about your audience that allow you to target only your best prospects and deliver highly relevant content through the most effective channels—all resulting in improved provider engagement and increased sales.

Previous Article
Financial Services Marketing: 3 Trends You Can Count on Every Year
Financial Services Marketing: 3 Trends You Can Count on Every Year

Close to the end of every year, financial experts come out with their picks for the top trends in financial...

Next Article
How to Eat the Elephant that is 1:1, Personalized Marketing
How to Eat the Elephant that is 1:1, Personalized Marketing

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “To eat an elephant, take one bite at a time.” True 1-to-1, perso...