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elandas blog

Baby Steps to Busting Commercial Silos in Pharma

Hayley Bohan

by Hayley Bohan

As a fellow marketer, I’m always digging, wondering what it is that will catch the interest of our prospects. If you are in marketing working at a pharma, med device or biotech,  you probably go through many of the same creative processes to keep your communications output fresh. Recently, I put a little test out there to see what would happen. I broke down the benefits of our elandas commercial excellence platform into four key areas. Then, I waited to see which one of them would get the most traction.

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“Break the silos” came out on top.

And though we’ve already dedicated plenty of insightful content to discussing this topic at length, I’m compelled to write my thoughts here anew on why this is  continues to be such a big deal for the pharmaceutical industry.

Here are three reasons why the idea of breaking down the silos is becoming ever more compelling to pharma marketers and other commercial leaders.

  1. Patient Centricity: More and more leaders are coming to terms with the negative impact that silos and siloed thinking has had on their ability to become more patient centric. With multiple teams interacting with various customers and patients, the need for more coordinated intelligence is rising. According to the Aurora Project 2017, 49 percent of pharma sales respondents agree that all departments should demonstrate patient-centricity.
  1. Growth Potential: Lack of coordination and information sharing between cross-functional and geographically dispersed teams is limiting growth potential. According to Elandas research conducted in 2016, 63 percent of sales respondents said  information gaps like pharma competitive intelligence, personalized market access information and decision maker insights is limiting growth. Would filling some of the information gaps through better and more actionable intelligence sharing improve sales? You bet.  Interestingly, the survey also revealed that the majority of respondents (55%) said that obtaining accurate and personalized access information was one of the most difficult “sales-impacting” types of information to gather.  (Doesn’t have to be: See Market Access Excellence)
  1. Time is money: In the same research survey conducted by elandas twelve months ago, sixty-one percent of marketers said information gaps were limiting their ability to be responsive, and causing them executional delays. Executional delays cost money and market share. For instance, if your company cannot take full advantage of formulary wins as they happen, or cannot quickly change course when your brand is suddenly not positioned well against  the competition, you are either losing sales or wasting resources. Both bleak realities that can be minimized with the right  information management system in place. Tackling the former first- what’s the opportunity cost of not being able to promote new formulary wins with key prescribers as soon as they occur. If you work in chronic illness, this could be substantial when you think of the lifetime value of a patient. Imagine if you could act on the formulary win four weeks sooner.  And, if we look at the monetary impact of an ineffective marketing spend, it can be crippling. As a marketer you are counting on every dollar working towards your goals. When the competitive landscape changes, or you don’t have the market access you were counting on, or your messaging is not resonating, you need to know fast and you need to be able to adjust your strategy and spend accordingly. Not only could you be wasting money, but perhaps also losing out on the opportunity that the right allocation of resources could afford you.

So what to do about it?

It can be a daunting task, especially in larger sized companies, though smaller companies often face the same issues associated with siloed thinking. My advice? It’s the same as I give my kids when they are learning a new skill. It’s also the same message I keep reminding myself of as we enter new growth phases at elandas. Start small… baby steps… with the idea that you will keep improving.  Here’s how:

  • Define your biggest cross-functional challenge. This is likely the reason that you are reading a blog about breaking down commercial silos in pharma. What is holding you back?
  • Find a solution that can address the problem, but can also be extended to address other challenges in the future. You need a highly configurable, easy to use information management system that is flexible enough to adapt to your changing needs and that of your colleagues.
  • Involve key stakeholders in the information management technology selection process, giving them a sense of ownership in the success of your initiative.
  • Make sure that each and every user of the system gets value from it.  That’s how you get sticking power and a huge return on your investment.
  • Solve one of your most pressing challenges, and then extend the use of your solution to collect and share other information that will make you and your team smarter, faster and more coordinated.

Just because you start small maybe with one brand and one information gap, doesn’t mean that the reward will be small. In fact, some clients who use our solution to improve market access results, find that the impact of a seemingly small (in the grand scheme of the silo issue) process change has multi-million dollar effects on their bottom lines.

So, take the first step today, contact us to learn more.

Topics: Adaptability, Knowledge Management, Sales Enablement, Turn Data to Advantage