Commercial Excellence in the Pharmaceutical Industry | At the recent EyeforPharma conference in Barcelona, I was struck by the theme – Unite Pharma [United Healthcare. Driven By Outcomes.] Does the theme imply that we may not be united in an effort to achieve patient outcomes? Are we fragmented in some way and there would be more benefits to all if we were to unite on this mutual North Star?
I am not sure of this concept, as I believe we are united by the challenge of discovery, the development of medicines and the elusive cures to the world’s illnesses with the aim to creating better lives for patients.
As the theme built over a few days, it seemed to be more about changing our mindset when discussing our industry, from continuously recognising it is as a ‘laggard’ when it comes to digital transformation and patient centricity, to refocusing on the exciting possibilities that lie ahead if we continue to expand our collaborations. The key message was that by working together we can leap frog into new frontiers.
One way forward is to change our mindset, from excessive confidentiality around organisational IP and an almost perverse risk aversion, to having an expansive view towards the future and raising our heads out of the murky waters of today.
Commercial Excellence is a proven way forward – a way for organisations to pursue growth in challenging times. This involves a system of interconnectedness. How can a change in our mindset and view towards ‘possibilities’ be applied to the discipline of Commercial Excellence?
Mindset shift from employee to SFE entrepreneur
Starting from the foundation, our mindset determines our future. It has been shown over and over, that how we think and frame our perspectives will determine our outcomes. Different situations require different mindsets. A shift in mindset could turn a slow moving transformation into a more dynamic one; one full of possibilities where we play a critical role, instead of fear and dread of the likes of disrupters Google and Apple, dictating our future.
There is an emergence of an entrepreneurial mindset within, so what does that look like?
- Take responsibility for all decisions your make
Good and bad, entrepreneurs make choices and learn from iterations. If we adopt this entrepreneurial mindset, we could make decisions boldly, after careful consideration of the risks, and we would in turn own the result. Opportunities are short lived and so a sense of urgency is critical.
- Develop both short and long term visions
Our R&D departments focus on the longer term, and in the commercial operations we tend to focus mostly on this year and next. So the opportunity for the Commercial Excellence function is to work with the leadership team on looking past this year and driving transformation, beyond implementing a CRM and building digital capabilities. Do you know what your next strategic transformation project is yet, or are you waiting for others to show you? What you don’t do today will impact where your business is in 3 years.
- There is no ‘box’
We keep talking about thinking outside the box. This implies we are thinking inside the box. New rule to be applied: THERE IS NO BOX! In a highly regulated industry, we do not need more self-imposed constraints. Think freely of what is possible, then figure it out, try it out, and keep iterating.
- Numbers don’t lie
With all the new digital marketing activities, we have a lot of data to use to drive our decision-making. Let’s embrace it and use it.
- Enjoy breaking the rules
Set up a safe environment to break the rules. Understand where your team can and where you can’t explore new possibilities within your functions and with your stakeholders. It requires bravery, courage, creativity and risk taking. Entrepreneurialism is about learning from each iteration.
2017 Commercial Excellence Trends
- Customer Experience
From patient journey mapping and the identification of ‘opportunities’ to add value, close gaps, and develop patient solutions to developing a superior expansive patient experience; patient empowerment is real; and validated patient outcomes, supported by real world data, is a critical success factor in pharma’s market entry.
- The ‘Science of Behaviour’ (Behavioural Economics, Psychology and Neuroscience)
Managing the drivers of human choice and decision making to drive better patient outcomes and better business outcomes.
Using real life data to personalise the digital marketing experience on the fly.
- Customer centric partnerships
Working externally and internally on insight discovery and innovations; a mergence of medical and commercial teams to deepen knowledge and find new insights; an emergence of non-traditional partnerships (e.g. financial services helping pharma develop superior customer experiences).
- Customer Centric MCM
Multichannel, digital and social marketing will be normalised and just be ‘marketing’; however customers want ease of access to all information across companies, so it is time to rethink where your brand can be access and cease brand centricity. Partner-up quickly!
- Meta data
Numbers rule and drive decisions; use the power of digital in areas such as content management, digital engagement, and data analytics (Veeva systems).
- New leadership and commercial capabilities
A digital agile and collaborative business and patient world, produces new expectations and a need for new internal expertise in commercial excellence.
Where to start to disrupt commercial excellence
If you are not working in cross-functional partnerships internally, i.e. crowd sourcing from the pool of internal expertise and knowledge, busting down those traditional silos in order to stimulate new ideas and source deeper patient knowledge, then get to it today. No excuses. Figure out how like an entrepreneur.
Use your data to drive your internal decisions. Start simply when introducing hyper-personalistion by increasing the personalisation of your Approved Emails, through profiling and segmenting your customers at a deeper level. Remember – the last customer experience is the new benchmark.
The Commercial Excellence function and discipline, provides an opportunity to accelerate our transformation by keeping ahead of the curve. Start working now, while the wheels are turning, on preparing tomorrow’s transformation.
Explore how Actando’s Decision Making Tools and the team of industry experts can help.
Jennifer Grech is an experienced Customer Excellence professional, with over 10 years experience working on the transformation of pharma marketing and sales, and a member of the Actando consulting team.
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