I wrote about a pharma case-study here: Big Data and What they can do
Meaningful reports on time
There are many situations in pharma where quality feedback in a timely manner is of paramount importance. All of us in Pharma believe, and know, the reports of feedback that are written during the same work session or the same day is of higher value than what is written after a week. Hence many pharma companies have the practice of daily reports or feedback then-and-there. But for a working representative it is highly difficult to write such feedback reports. He has to take the time-out and this is always difficult when he runs from clinic-to-clinic in the race of finishing the day’s work of mandatory Dr calls. (“Dr calls” being the jargon used to state the number of doctors to be seen by a rep every day of work). While the unproductive data of whom he saw and what he did can wait, the feedback from the doctors (whenever, wherever applicable) could be very productive and important. Pharma people can well imagine how this can even work with Doctors’ requests for some information or a sample and how far it can take them with the competitive advantage it can provide. In a cut-throat market any slight differentiation towards better support to the field sales force creates a good distinction resulting in huge success.
Feedback through voice calls
Imagine if the representatives can just give their feedback taken from the doctors by voice calls. These can be submitted online immediately through the phone and will be available to the management almost on real-time. Evaluate such a feedback on the merits of its quality, timeliness and also relevance of being acted upon. It could apply in such a way that that one of the three or all the three could be of use in any given situation. I am sure the field sales force people will be highly motivated to use such a system and also the results will be much more realistic feedback with better quality and will be timely too.
The system of voice call feedback that I am referring to is being used today by other industries for taking “customer feedback” in an audio form and there is enough proof to say that the feedbacks are getting better going by the number of customers who opt for such systems. I am not even suggesting that Pharma take a leap and start with such systems for “adverse reaction reporting” or for other patient feedback, which needs to be seen through the eyes of regulatory and legal departments in Pharma. But they can sure use it with their representatives for market feedback, which will stand them in good stead and allow them to learn a lot to fine-tune their market strategies.
There are quite a number of options available within these systems and everything is customizable. One can use just a phone for the voice call or through Internet or through APPS or through a smartphone APP with Internet. So it will fit many situations in many ways.
Incremental efforts yet effective results
Pharma has to think of new systems in the coming years to reduce the barriers of reporting and equip their field sales forces in a better manner in this digital age. Many such systems are simple, yet effective and can offer solutions for many of Pharma’s pain points today. Pharma can take incremental steps to try out newer ways and solutions towards a better future.
Feel free to post your comments on what you think.
When I say digital in this post, digital=Digital tools like smart phones, computer, tablets etc. that can be used with various digital channels for use within a group in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner.
Transforming your organization towards a digital learning will make you highly successful. I always recommend that an internal start gives you confidence and, during my discussions, I see people prefer the same.
Where to start your digital journey is always a big question. There are too many areas where one can start and paralysis by analysis is often the end-result loosing important time without making a head-start. This post will indicate 5 areas that you can start your digital journey and learn it better.
- Campaigns: Pharma is already used to campaigns. The campaign length varies between 45days and six months depending on what you wish to achieve. Campaign details generally involve products, samples, reports and priorities for that period. Pick digital tools which will allow you to do all the activities of your campaign. Map the campaign parameters with the tool features. You will find that your campaigns are run much better through the digital tools than you ever imagined. This can give you a rich learning.
- Training: Pharma is used to continuous training. They train their marketing people on detailing, soft-skills, reports and product knowledge. These can be done easily and wonderfully with the digital tools available in today’s world. For example, a 2-minutes video-learning pushed through an app reaches people instantly and will be received and learnt better. Imagine the effect of such small doses of training without fatigue.
- Product knowledge: The most important part of a successful company is the product knowledge imparted to their field people who face questions from customers when they go to promote those products. Product references, features and benefits are the other important areas that I can think of. These can be effectively delivered through digital tools and channels for ready-reference and repeated use. This will go a long way in improving the whole image of the company in the market place.
- Communication: The amount of money that is spent and the toil for an effective communication system with reports, feedback and answering queries between the various departments within the company is huge. Digital tools can make it more cost-effective, real-time and bring in a lot of synergy.
- Sales: Finally the sales predictions, forecasts, targets, revisions, achievements and incentives. I am sure everyone will cooperate and be enthusiastic about making these go digital as a company lives and breathes sales systems and going forward with better tools will pave the way for a great transition into the digital world.
So without going all over the place, pick the digital transition using the familiar systems that are already working well. By taking these systems and familiar work-flows into digital tools and combining them with the digital channels, you will make a great start in understanding the efficiency, newer opportunities and pitfalls, if any.
These 5 things will give you a start to prepare eventually to move into a complete digital strategy with your employees, partners and customers.
What do you think? Feel free to comment.