There’s no doubt that the current transformation of the pharmaceutical industry can easily compare to the 1990’s Internet shake-up. At the recent PharmaForce conference, over 150 experts in pharma sales and marketing attended panel discussions, roundtables, workshops and presentations to discuss top trends impacting our business. While PharmaForce provided a variety of valuable insights, we were especially interested in information for solutions providers, which is elandas’ niche. For those who were unable to attend, or for those who did attend and would like a refresher, here are some of the key insights we gained from this year’s PharmaForce.
1. Bridge the Gap Between Strategy and Execution
As all companies know, important pieces of information can often get lost in the gap between strategy and execution. To help make the transition less painful, the industry needs to incorporate a feedback loop. Sales reps should have input during the planning stage. Because they’re on the front line, they often see trends before the brand team. A feedback loop will provide better insight, less trouble, and give your business a competitive edge.
According to a few guests, sharing the “why” behind messaging, requests and changes goes a very long way in gaining buy-in from field sales. Overall, as one speaker succinctly put it, “understanding and belief will lead to better execution”.
2. Eliminate Silos, Gain Better Patient Outcomes
When the stakes are high and time is short, coordination between field sales, managed markets, marketing, training and analytics teams can be challenging. In order to ensure continued communication, actionable, smart data should be shared across business units. This will keep all teams up to date on the company’s important information.
Patients are more involved in their health care than ever thanks to the internet and other online resources. As a result, it was suggested that teams should focus less on products, and more on helping customers.
As the industry shifts away from brand-centric communications to patient-based outcomes, the matter of shared data becomes more significant to business success. This shift will help unite different teams to focus on one central goal: better patient outcomes. Patients are more involved in their health care than ever thanks to the internet and other online resources. As a result, it was suggested that teams should focus less on products, and more on helping customers. And the best way to help customers? Align all business units and keep in constant communication. The cohesive integration of information will enable a representative to provide more meaningful information about the brand patient outcome story, and elevate the rep and the brand from a seller to a partner in healthcare outcomes.
3. Step Away From the Script
With the reduced time that sales reps get with doctors, reps need to be able to adapt their conversations on the fly without risk of running into compliance issues. Conversational selling offers the flexibility to have a fluid conversation with HCPs and improve relevance and engagement.
Conversational selling is a skill that requires training. Best in class programs incorporate ongoing, bite-sized training modules like pop quizzes and use gamification techniques.
The life sciences industry has seen a shift towards consolidated buying power. Doctors are becoming employees instead of employers; and complex, multi-stakeholders decision-making has added a layer of approval to gain success in the office. Physicians want reps to understand their business model. Selling through key account managers is one strategy, but ultimately, reps should understand the cost of care and full business model for each HCP office and be capable of a dialogue in both brand and business.
4. Effective Information Curation and Dissemination
District sales managers are crucial to the pharmaceuticals success. They are responsible for coaching their reps and holding them accountable for carrying out important marketing initiatives such as pull-through campaigns. Systems like Elandas can provide DSMs with a smart way to filter out the noise and quickly disseminate information, like access changes, to the sales reps that need it. Systems which provide follow up materials based on conversations, whether brochures or emails, will make the valuable follow-up call more personal. Although sales reps need to understand the product, deeper customer understanding will enable them to share the right value prop at the right time.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at PharmaForce, and we look forward to incorporating the takeaways from the conference into our business model and solutions. We also look forward to continuing to offer products for the life sciences sector that will allow industry representatives to work faster, smarter, and more collaboratively.