However strange it may seem, the key to this transformation lies within a largely criticised component of pharma: pharma sales reps. Here goes one more proof of challenges being the key to creating change. So, which part of sales reps’ work brought the value back to the industry?
Digital advances reshape business processes
Essentially, it’s the digital multichannel approach in marketing that has contributed the most to the shift in traditional pharma rep role. This time, technological progress turned out to be on the light side of the force, and reps’ ability to orchestrate channels has actually served a good turn on the individual level and for the industry overall. And while the majority regards multichannel concept as merely a better way of engaging with the audience (which is obviously its core mission), some have already recognized revolutionizing effect of its ‘side effects’ for doing business.
From pharma voyageur to pharma advisor?
Let us remind ourselves that within the new digitalized communication framework, pharma sales reps do not enter doctors’ offices to simply promote their product anymore. Now it’s a much more mature and sustainable communication scheme, focused on building a valuable and trusted relationship base. This kind of two-way educational engagement amplifies doctor’s and therefore inevitably – patients’ experience and fills the process with entirely new meaning and depth.
Mix up the best bits of your channels
Not joining the digital dimension is no longer an option for pharma. The opportunity for optimization now lies within a different scale. Pharma doesn’t have to make a choice between enhancement of its face-to-face interactions and digitalization of communication. Fusion of digital capabilities and face-to-face interactions is crucial to form a steady trust-based relationship. The idea is to customize digital assets (apps, interactive presentations etc.) in order to purposefully deepen personal encounters. This way, you take the best out of the f2f communication (personalized approach) and the best out of digital materials (analytics, conclusions) to bring the rep—HCP cooperation to a whole new level. Plain as a day!
“No reps allowed”? Great! – says pharma
There’s a caveat to all this. All educational enhancements of the above are only possible in case you already have an established connection with your doctor. What if the doctor has no time and, due to previous unsuccessful experiences with reps, no desire to personally interact with another sales guy? According to the recent studies, the amount of ‘rep-accessible’ doctors fell by 2 times, not least because of opportunities digitalization provides. The doctors now prefer the convenience of being engaged remotely.
In spite of the reservations, here too, the med reps’ ability to manage the relations with the physician on a variety of platforms plays the pivotal role. And it goes even further than that. You see, more than a half of patients are ready to make use of pharma services. That is, if they know about the existence of the latter. That is, if their doctors have time for that kind of explanation and introduction. And, as we already know, they don’t have a spare minute. However, pharma sales reps do; moreover, it’s the part of their job that hasn’t been thoroughly explored yet. Therefore, it seems kind of natural to imagine drug reps working on introducing patient-oriented services directly to the patient, without any connotation of pushing the product. After all, both HCPs and patients strive to be educated in healthcare decision-making. So, if medical representatives can fill this education gap with the use of digital tools – then why not?
In addition, it goes without saying that however good the communication is on HCP—sales rep level, it’s the patients who are industry’s end consumers. Some companies even took this idea a step further by completely separating service from sales tasks and created a new model of interaction – the so-called ‘service reps’, whose mission is focused mainly on the patients and whose role has an exclusively educational and consulting goal.
Are your reps equipped with smart digital tools?
Drug rep’s transformation from road warrior into a customer expert is still under way. There’s still lots of heavy lifting to do, as pharma is only starting to discover these hidden possibilities of cross-functional digital marketing.
The best option would be not to leave out any of your stakeholders (which include patients now as well) and establish a more comprehensive approach and individualized fashion of dealing with them. And here’s a little something we can do for you to make the process of adaptation easier. Contact our team of experts for a detailed demo.