Pharma Reps are part of our multichannel marketing efforts and their role requires clarity to be most effective and to ensure a seamless customer experiences. When the role is an add-on to other marketing activities, it can be counterproductive to the overall campaign.All organisations have to adapt during the rapidly changing of world, driven a lot by the digital transformation of how we communicate, socialise and operate. The frontline roles especially so, as noted by Blackdot, 2017
“In the digital age, organisations face the risk of frontline staff failing to meet the elevated expectations of informed customers. To survive and thrive in the new connected enterprise, marketing, sales and service need to be customer-centric, commercial and tech-savvy. “[Blackdot]
Our traditional reach and frequency model is rather static in nature; hence the role of the role of the rep was previously clearly defined and measured on sales results, market share changes and operational goals. In the more dynamic multichannel customer-driven model, the role of the rep becomes rather blurred – somewhere between a sales person, an account manager and a marketer.
4 Possible Personas
Various iterations have been proposed and it remains an open discussion point. What is the future role (if any) of the Pharma rep?
It is no longer enough to make your calls, drop samples and watch the prescriptions arrive, and speaking to a physician is simply the first step in a multi-step process involving multiple stakeholders, from reimbursement specialists to nurse practitioners. And all require personalized approaches and information, says Jay Graves, VP Sales at Roche Diabetes Care in a recent EyeforPharma white paper “The Data Driven Rep”.
Do any of those following resonate?
- Medical educator and trusted influencer – armed with deep disease and product knowledge, the rep is a respected member of the healthcare community and thus a trusted influencer in helping HCPs marry the right medicines and treatments with the right patients;
- Multiplier of channel traffic – armed with up to date data and historical perspectives on each customer journey, the rep brings new content to the HCP’s attention, directing the HCP to various channels and events that have content of interest and relevance in solving diagnostics and treatment challenges;
- In-field researcher – armed with interactive technology and relevant content, the rep engages with HCPs with compelling content, probing deeper into challenges and viewpoints, recording continuously each HCPs reactions, thus deepening the data base of insights to will go on to produce more relevant education, research and treatments options.
- Or the sum of all of the above: Orchestrative Rep, Content Curator, Customer Manager – armed with the sum of all customer interactions, and in-field first hand experience, are a voice of the HCPs at the cross-functional brand team table?
Reps, in truth, are not the only touch point of the HCPs and other stakeholders. There are now multiple customer facing roles interacting in a variety of ways – the sales rep, the telesales rep, MSLs (medical liaisons), government affairs roles, patient relations roles, key account managers and more. We are evolving to meet the changing face of the customer and the patients. The rep is only one piece of the puzzle.
To be effective in an integrated multichannel strategy, the rep must be clear on the role they play, i.e. the human channel, and where it fits in the overall customer-engagement ecosystem. Absolute role clarity is critical to ensure synergistic organisational and brand outcomes versus competing fragmented or wasted efforts.
The rep must be empowered to operate within that ecosystem, united in the brand or portfolio mission, and consistent in messaging and the development of customer experiences. Technology and Business Intelligence could put data at their fingertips, marketing could put content in their hands and the business could enable them full transparency across all channels. This will in turn empower them to be able to make decisions of what they must do next (in relation to all the other interactions) to help drive the customer along the continuum of adoption and loyalty.
The success of the new rep is only partially reliant on their competencies, and more significantly reliant upon the alignment of the organisation behind them.
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team