How can the Life Sciences industry improve the impact of face-to-face interactions with customers?

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Currently the life-science industry’s promotional model remains disproportionately focussed on the clinical sell. It’s questionable how effective this is and pharma and devices companies continue to grapple with optimising their sales model as a critical part of a multi-channel communication strategy. Simultaneously the rise of Payer influence means all our customers are getting budget savvy.
We often hear frustrations from clinicians and payers that they want to support each other to do what’s right for patients but they are time poor, have misaligned priorities, and differential knowledge levels with respect to patient pathways. So there is a real opportunity for industry to add value here.
We know with the rise of digital use healthcare professionals are more tech-savvy and social, relative to their older counterparts. For example, three in five physicians under the age of 35 use smartphones to access professional information during consults, while less than a quarter of their colleagues over 55 do so. They are more reliant on digital sources of information and spend around 3 hours per day consulting external digital resources, such as search and HCP websites. They are also known to enjoy higher levels of interactions with colleagues, whether in person or by phone1.
Consequently, customers may not appreciate the need to interact with sales people from the Industry in order to learn about its products, and it continues to get tougher for sales people to access their customers.
So, let’s come back to the essence of the challenge. What should our conversation with HCPs and Payers be about and what kind of impact should sales teams be having on customers. Here is our 4-point challenge to the industry :

1. Commit to a step change in your interactions so customer value their face-to-face interactions with the industry and access improves.
2. Properly equip customer facing teams to be impactful. Organisations need a fully aligned multichannel approach with integrated customer activities. Customer facing teams need to have an above average understanding of the overall customer engagement strategy, marketing tools and materials in order to ensure consistent messaging and the development of a value-based experience for their customers.
3. Ensure the customer facing team has the skills to deliver value-based customer engagement. The sales person needs significant business2business skills to operate as a ‘disruptor’ and a driver for change in the health system. Here the requirements will be different for different sales teams and defining excellence for your team is a good starting point.
4. Measure customer impact using metrics that are synonymous with value. Move away from measuring what is important to the industry and adopt benchmarking tools that assess the customer experience based on the things that matter to them and to validate that the field team have the equipment and skills to have detailed, local, system-centric discussions.

So how impactful are your customer face-to-face interactions and how do you stack up on the 4 points above? Let us help you assess your sales force model and enhance your impact with value based conversations. Let us know: info@visions4health.com

References:
1. Meet the Millennial Physicians – Young, Mobile, and Harder to Reach, DRG 2018 http://www.drgdigital.com/drg-digital-innovation-blog/meet-the-millennial-physicians-young-mobile-and-harder-to-reach