You can extend your reach and frequency by adding channels to the sales rep toolkit. Grow your digital channel capability incrementally, so the back end and the front end can keep up with new expectations.
Creating a customer engagement map and a supporting communication strategy across your customer types and channels is accepted as best practice. However, the implementation of this plan requires some change management considerations and capability development, especially if this new to the organization and the systems and processes are not fully in place. Without a change management plan, all your preparation and good ideas could be wasted. Your content can’t be approved within defined timelines if you do not have the required process, understanding and capabilities, and executing the campaign relies on the communication and understanding its value in the bigger picture.
Adding new digital channels for the pharma rep to utilise requires co-creation among internal and external stakeholders (including the agency), short pilots, feedback loops, and integration with existing channels. Adding one channel at a time provides the reps and other stakeholders to gain this expertise over time. The rep and the customers are then able to come on the journey of value-creation and deeper engagement together.
From eDetailer to Multi-Channel Communications
Your reps already have digitized sales aids – what’s next? Moving to an orchestrator rep model may involve some or all of the channels below:
- Supporting print assets
- Rep Triggered Emails
- Remote Detailing
The first digital asset many pharma companies embarked upon was to turn the printed sales aid into an eDetailer. This was not necessarily launched within the CRM during a call, and it was often a separate file on the laptop, tablet or iPad. eDetailers launched from the CRM are now commonplace, albeit it is still an evolution.
Approved emails or Rep Triggered Emails [RTE] from the CRM, linking directly to the customer profile, is a relatively new rep channel to extend the visit beyond the call and provide additional touch points. To get the email address into the CRM, many markets are required to ask the customer to read a privacy statement and then to opt-in or give permission for your organisation to send emails to them. This requires a carefully crafted value proposition and customer-valued future content, to keep them opted-in. Yes, that is right, permission is often only provided, conditional to having an ‘opt-out' option, that is easily executed. Spamming your customers will reduce reach and frequency in the longer term, versus limiting the RTE to only value-adding content that the rep can provide if and when suitable to carefully selected customers.
Add a remote detailing option – enabling existing reps with existing relationships to do remote details to remote customers, hence engaging more frequently and overcoming geographical boundaries. In some countries, there is an appointment booking system that provides the option for the clinic or the individual HCPs to request a face to face call, a remote call, or the provision of information or samples. Pharma reps and other suppliers could engage in a remote detail as another touch point to the customer in a channel the customer has signalled preference.
Setting up remote detailing teams has been a common activity to promote products late in their lifecycle or to service low decile customers. However, has it been overlooked as another channel the existing pharma rep could be utilised out of their car or home throughout the day? Some countries and companies are taking advantage of this capability to maximise the outputs of their sales representatives in big geographies or due to pharma rep lock-out situations. Enabling the capabilities requires the appropriate technology and remote detailing skill set.
Rep hosted webinar sessions in local geographies, enables customers to engage with their peers. Reps have hosted lunches and educational meetings for years, so why not capitalise on their skills to coordinate local events that connect the peer group to the KOLs' webinars. Hosting a webinar event requires good planning and highly valued content. Recordings and directing customers to the webcasts post the event, provide another value-adding service and a new touch point driven by the rep.
And lastly, reps can drive traffic to content on all channels including websites if relevant and integrated into their conversations and eDetailers.
No dead-ends here
For years we prophesied about the death of the pharma rep, and yet the multiplier effect they can have on your multichannel strategy and assets is endless. Involve them in the development of the customer engagement map, so they understand the important role they will play.
Actando has a variety of solutions to assist in planning and mobilising digital channels.
Contact Actando to learn more.
Article Contributor: Melanie Brown, Managing Partner
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team