For pharma industry, remote detailing is possibly the greatest idea in this decade. Not only is it associated with savings, but it also works better. Admission of reps by HCPs has been shrinking from 80% to 44%, average visit time is ridiculously short, so when technology finally allowed the reps to say “okay, let’s discuss it later” and actually have the session later – well, seems like the solution.

However, it’s interesting that many marketers are still thinking of remote interactions as of a substitute to “real”, face-to-face meetings, a sneaky way to get around the closed door, without realizing the full potential remote meetings hold.

Remote calls are not just a substitute for F2F meetings. Right now, at the moment of this writing, they are becoming a separate type of detailing that works in its own ways – provided the content used is well adapted to the new ways of communication.

Do we even need to repurpose content for remote?

If you think about it, at the first glance it seems like an odd question. Presentations are presentations, right? No matter how you use them, regardless of whether or not the doctor sees the rep’s finger tapping the screen, they are presentations. They are valuable information, wrapped up as elaborate “tasty” (hopefully) content, so why bother remaking them? After all, it costs not an insignificant amount of money, doesn’t it?

Yet, at the second glance, remote calls by med reps are indeed quite different from what you’d expect from your regular doorbell variety. There are at least two aspects where remote detailing (including, and especially, self-detailing) functions in ways that are totally unpredictable to those who haven’t worked with it yet.




  • The presentation is shown not on the rep’s device.
  • The customer’s device can be any type or model.
  • The customer does not log into CLM to view it.
  • The rep has to double-check what the picture on the customer’s screen looks like (e.g. whether the visual elements or animations work)


In short: everything should be compatible with anything.



As there is less contact with the rep (down to none in the case with self-detailing), KPI monitoring gets even more crucial than usual.

  • No eye contact, no gestures or common ambient. The content is in the spotlight, and nothing distracts from its slightest flaws if any are present.
  • Less material is explained orally – the content in the presentation should be more self-sufficient.
  • More navigation is, at least mentally, done by the customer (they’re closer to the screen and the rep doesn’t hold it in their hands) – navigation should be more obvious and intuitive.


In short: The presentation should be adjusted to leave no space to confusion. The rep normally has time to get used to its structure. The customer sees it for the first (and only) time.

Of course you will want to make your content work – after all, we’re firmly past the era where digital was made for digital’s sake. Wait, there wasn’t even such an era! Content marketing is notorious for not tolerating user experience flaws. It is, for example, reported that 39% users will simply stop engaging with content that loads not as quickly as expected. And besides loading time, there are a number of ways things can go wrong when you venture into remote communication with unprepared content.

OK, so is there a way to clear minor issues out of your impressive HTML presentation so that it can be used for distant calls? In essence, it’s only the details that need to be addressed – no one would even listen about making a whole new presentation from scratch just for this purpose.

You know there must be ways to do that. There are. The first thing to do is make a plan, so let’s start by putting together what managers and reps often note when they first begin remote calls.

The navigation dilemma

Even when a presentation is made for nothing else but being demonstrated by a trained rep, it is important to provide easy, intuitive navigation. It normally takes some time for the representative to get used to the new content. Switching between slides and knowing where to tap for additional information is, as some put it, like playing the piano – you have no time to search for a key, you just strike it when the time comes.

Now, this traditional F2F setting still allows for some navigation drawbacks to be “covered” – the rep is holding the device and has 70% control over the flow of the conversation. When the content is viewed on the customer’s screen, the tables are turned, so that all elements on the slide leading somewhere have to be intuitive enough.

Enter dilemma. On the one hand, seeing a set of shortcuts to data that just scream “open me” can potentially incite more interest in the viewer. On the other, if we are talking about guided sessions with reps (not the self-detailing variety), the need to ask at least some questions (like, what’s that “EXPAND CHART” button for?) will stimulate the conversation.

The amount of content that can be viewed on a single slide should, then, depend on the amount of engagement you expect from the session. The more interaction there is expected, the fewer navigation elements in general should be visible. In presentations intended for F2F visits, it is pictures that matter more than navigation and “EXPAND” buttons. In self-detailing presentations, those elements should be easily found. The guided remote detailing sits somewhere in between these.

Wait, what?

the amount of content that can be viewed on a single slide

Here’s what the situation looks like based on our practical experience. As you can see, the general trend discussed above – i.e., the less personal interaction there is, the more content there should be and vice versa – is valid. However, there’s this odd area to the left, in the realm of self-detailing. The thing is, when there is little to no assistance from the rep, a high amount of navigation possibilities (say, icons and buttons) can be confusing – the customer suddenly feels the content is too complicated and should be viewed on a relaxed Sunday morning, “when there’s more time”.

That Sunday morning will never come, of course. So we’re basically left with the idea that for guided remote detailing, navigation should be most comprehensive. Whenever the customer sees something that interests them, they can just ask back; but the abundance of these elements doesn’t make them lose the general line because the rep guides the conversation.

Interactive elements and KPIs

In conventional face-to-face visits, there are many possibilities for a rep to ask questions. In many ways, the commentaries left by the rep in the CRM can add up to the monitoring data collected from the presentation to build a complete picture. In remote detailing, however, things are slightly different. Psychologically, speaking via tech means is not the same as live talk, so at the end of the day, you as a marketer will have to rely more heavily on the KPIs that the presentation itself collected for you.

This means the presentation should:

  1. actually have enough interactive elements for collecting customer data;
  2. run these interactive components properly (no matter what device is used);
  3. present these elements in the right sequence.

The first two points are CRM related. Some systems will allow you to collect KPIs from the various sliders, pie charts, and checkboxes in this situation; some systems will present you with unexpected problems. It is up to you to decide whether the benefits of remote calls are worth addressing the tech issues. We will just point out that CLM systems are starting to embrace the remote, and you can try them any moment.

The point (c), however, is something different and involves the content itself. Experienced reps have the knowledge of when exactly feedback is best collected, and know these moments are different in remote visits. In practice, this means that for a presentation to become remote-oriented, you would want to swap some slides in the sequence. This may seem like hard work, but there are content management platforms that allow doing this quite fast without ever getting your hands dirty with code. It’s not recoding, it’s a slight readjustment that can drastically improve the rep’s performance with the presentation.

Other important considerations (bits and pieces)

As you might have felt, the majority of necessary transformations that boost the presentation performance in remote are minor, scarcely noticeable things. Again, the managers who work with content on an everyday basis can provide a full list of what would make an ideal remote-oriented presentation, but here are some very universal observations.

Images In F2F meetings, when the distance between the customer and the tablet in rep’s hands is bigger, images have to be larger, as well. In remote-oriented presentations, however, the eye-to-screen distance is shorter, there is no specific need for big color splashes, and smaller images take less time to load.
Graphs, charts and other visual aids In remote, the small digits and generally the legend that accompanies the graphs and charts become more important than the voiceover because we’re subconsciously tuning into the “browsing mode”. Therefore, the graphs are to be as intelligible as possible. Perhaps the legend is to be rephrased a bit; elements like calculators are to be very readily found.
Animations When body language is out of the picture (and it largely is even if you use a webcam), animations have to replace it as the chief source of perceived motion. Otherwise, the session loses in intensity. Revise the animations and decide if they are present in sufficient amounts. Also, consider whether the presentation is designed to suit vertically-oriented screens if necessary.
Consistent position of certain elements Double-check whether recurrent elements in the presentation (i.e., elements that are found on multiple slides) stay in their predictable position and remain of the same color. This is one of a minor design trifles that can be overlooked when the presentation is run on the rep’s tablet but is immediately noticed when people see it on their own screen.
Text With remote-oriented presentations, the text becomes more important. During face-to-face visits, most of the text is not read unless absolutely interesting to the customer – eye contact is more important. When viewed on screen, however, many prefer skimming over the lines of text even if the rep is saying practically the same thing at the moment. This means there can be more text, on one hand, and it also can be more professional in style. In fact, practice shows that what you’d like to hide in accordions, flip cards and other things like that can now be partially placed directly on the slide.

How to, you know… do all of this?

So, that’s it: minor elements. In most cases, repurposing content looks like a job of slight readjustments. Some of your presentations might not even need much to do with them, apart from checking, revising and maybe altering several slides. Does anybody hire a developers’ team for things like that? Obviously not, and that’s why so many presentations that circulate are not very well suited for remote visits. You can break the cliché, however: if you feel remote visits are an important part of your nearest marketing future, just make sure the content managers in the company have easy ways to modify content and approve it. You can try powerful content management tools that require no coding skills to enable easy repurposing whenever needed – and make those necessary steps to differentiate between F2F and remote visits. This differentiation will immediately allow you to grab all the benefits of remote calls in your marketing strategy.