CEO

Digital customer approach – anywhere, anytime

22.04.2021

How the pharmaceutical and health industry profits from modern sales and marketing tools.

One issue that I repeatedly get asked about is digital sales and marketing. Here too, we see the effects of the coronavirus pandemic: When the conventional touch points and personal customer visits become a thing of the past, companies must review and adjust their activities, and ideally prepare them for the future. One example of how this can work: 

Sarah is a sales coordinator at an international pharmaceutical group. Often, she thinks about the time before the coronavirus, and how her work and tools have changed since then.

What does Sarah's typical work day look like at the end of 2021?

She works exclusively from home, and she plans her days and meetings on her own. She has access to the central CRM, which allows her to track relevant parameters such as e-mail opening rates in real time, using a dashboard. 

CRM and digital assistants first support Sarah with targeting individual doctors. After that, the assistant provides analytics-based recommendations for how these selected doctors can best be contacted using a customized approach, and which contents would be of most interest to them. In this way, it becomes possible to send out automated but also personalized information packages and newsletters to each doctor. No more need for generic mass mails. No one reads them anyway. 

While face-to-face meetings became possible again the summer, they are not nearly as common as before the coronavirus crisis. More and more doctors prefer the digital approach. Conversely, sales staff have also realized that their daily work routines are not as efficient without digital aids. 

This means Sarah can save on driving time, which she can now use to target more existing and new clients. And it also means more time for taking breaks, e.g. jogging during the lunch break.

What has changed?

Sarah receives a push notification as soon as a new doctor has registered and expresses an interest in a specific medication. Sarah can tailor these notifications to her own requirements. This process saves a lot of time, because previously she would have had to manually search through various customer databases.

What are the benefits of accelerated digitization for Sarah?

Digitally advanced pharmaceutical companies offer not just medication and medication information, but also services. The trend is clear: it is not just about positioning the product itself, but also the service around the product! This includes digital further training for doctors and webinars, e.g. webinars for introducing digital appointments. 

Pharmaceutical companies should tailor the way in which they approach their target group with a data-based segmentation strategy. In this context, a multitude of different digital and conventional channels are activated to communicate medical and commercial contents. The aim is to find out which channel and which contents are requested by each doctor. The more these individual preferences are matched, the closer and more positive the relationship with the pharmaceutical company. 

Why does this approach work not just for doctors, but also for Sarah? In the past, CRMs were often implemented as a Big Bang - which was precisely the reason why many of them failed. Digital sales and marketing solutions, particularly CRM, should be developed gradually and using an agile approach. This means that Sarah was involved in the process at an early stage. She was able to provide feedback for the first prototypes, and her actual user behavior in the system was recorded, measured and analyzed. In this way, the user experience for Sarah and the CRM gradually but surely moved in the right direction! 

Digital customer approach

Conclusion

When it comes to sales, most digitization skeptics have realized that novel tools and a highly-customized customer approach have become essential. During the crisis, the skeptics themselves have seen how much time they can save. The use of AI has created a situation where sales staff can customize the way in which they approach doctors more than ever before. Face-to-face visits and knowledge-sharing will remain, but they will become more selective. It is something Sarah is looking forward to - and to be able to jog more often during her lunch break.

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