Ever since the ipad first appeared on the market, it has enchanted pharma. In particular, the sales force has embraced ipad as a means to engage the customers in sales calls. As an ex pharma rep and sales manager my first experience of detailing was a painful experience. The laptop took a good 5 minutes to start, battery life meant it would just about last 2 calls and the only value add to the interaction was a few KOL videos. Is an ipad sales aid just about the user experience or should it be much more?
Don’t get me wrong creating the right impression with the customer is critical for engagement, and in that respect the ipad can deliver a wonderful end product. Rather than carrying a few clinical papers a rep can carry a complete library and KOL opinion videos on each paper. As a business tool for a representative, the ipad really provides value to pharma.
The real difference detailing electronically lies with data and how it can be used to improve communication in all channels. Firstly incorporating data from CRM can allow customisation of the sales aid to give a personalised “story” that can really engage the customer. How a healthcare professional interacts with the sales aid can help profile their interests, behaviours, drivers, influence and influencers. Capturing this information can help reform your pharmaceutical marketing. Use of behaviour profiling offers pharma an opportunity to personalise communication in any channel. At the heart of behavioural profiling and multichannel marketing is CRM (now this should include a social element).
Through the use feedback loops from all communication channels customer profiling can be refined to improve the effectiveness of personalised messaging. The traditional barrier to personalised messaging is a lack of investment in systems and processes to enable effective message delivery. Pharma on the whole tends to use traditional models in relation to messaging which is normally developed using a combination of market research of target groups/segments, lists and “off the shelf” data, ending up with a series of key messages that if repeated 5 times will change that group’s behaviour. With the evolution of data management, your company can gain true personalised understanding of your customer rather than relying on a “one size fits” all approach to marketing. With the right delivery systems/channels personalised communication that can really engage and change customer behaviours.
Any pharmaceutical marketer needs to ask the question, how would you react if a sales person tried to sell you something while completely ignoring your questions and what you said? Loss of engagement reduces the likelihood of buying. If it is unacceptable for you, why should it be acceptable for your customers?