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    Posted on
    June 04, 2020 by Actando Consulting Team Method

    Marching to a Different Beat – Part I


    It may feel like an unexpected force is suddenly re-shaping how Pharma works with Healthcare Professionals [HCPs], and them with their patients.

    Many organisations have experienced a sudden exponential acceleration of the adoption of digital tools out of necessity, both internally and externally. In particular, the use of virtual meeting tools for day to day work, socialisation and customer interactions has exploded. Representatives’ HCP contact has, in many cases, been limited to contact on a reactive ‘need-to-know basis’, due to other HCP priorities. However, when they do connect, it is more than likely virtually through email, SMS, websites, webinars or virtual meetings. Face to face meetings are no longer the norm and it is unlikely that things will return to the way they were before the pandemic.

    Pharma, like other industries, must march to a different beat. Organisations that were progressing cautiously and slowly on their digital transformation journey, have not been prepared for what might seem to be the unimaginable - the environment has taken control and it is now dictating the pace of change we must comply.

    One Global Pharma company shared with Actando recently, that their Global IT function rolled out Veeva Engage globally in record time, at no charge to their markets, with a raft of flexibility to get it up and going. It may be a little clunky and lack customisation, but it has demonstrated what is possible when everyone has a common goal and a common gain and no time.

    The good news is that all industries are now in this together. Pharma as a chance to keep moving forward and not look back. As McKinsey [2020] suggests, it is time to SHAPE up!

    • Startup mindset – encourage agility, flexibility, start small and pilot often. A start-up mindset favours action over research, testing over analysis.
    • Humans at the core – rethink the model and how people engage at their best under different circumstances. For example, a remote new sales model.
    • Accelerate digital, tech and analytics – enhance what you have now got, and upskill, get better at it and at learning from the data to make decisions to strengthen your links to customers;
    • Purpose-driven customer playbook – what does the customer value. Know it and use it.
    • Ecosystems and adaptability – disruptions have happened in our channels. We must adapt. We need to collaborate with partners to make things easier for HCPS and Patients.


    • Identify and prioritise opportunities – move now before the world fully recovers, reallocate spending to build long term partnerships, digitizing engagement channels and automate processes.
    • Act with urgency – don’t assume things will return to normal, but rather act competitively. In fact, act like a start-up. Create a new way of working before people go back to old habits. Give representatives more autonomy to personalize customer service and use a variety of appropriate channels. Provide rich and relevant content, and an end-to-end digital engagement model with consistency and ease of connection, at every touchpoint.

    Long term advocates for the pharma digital transition, will be rejoicing at the new pace of adoption and changes in the way of working with each other and our customers.

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    HCPs have innovated on the ways they engage with patients and their families.

    • Drive-in testing and injection clinics were rapidly set up in Australia and the USA for example, to protect healthcare workers and mitigate the spread of the disease between patients at their clinics.
    • Telehealth consultations, electronic script fulfilment, and home deliveries are just some of the ways that now seem quite normal and very convenient.
    • Live virtual consultations have been embraced by many patients, along with virtual group classes run by therapists and nurses.
    • Virtual social activities are helping to connect people, check-in on the vulnerable and lift people’s spirits.

    These are just some of the ways our customers have adapted to continue to give services using technology to assist. Physical adaptions have been made too such as the separation of waiting patients, new cleaning routines, new protection for healthcare workers.

    Have you noticed that while many feel a little clumsy at navigating the tech solutions needed, the world actually seems more patient and tolerant of our shortcomings?

    The ‘we are all in this together’ mindset has taken some pressure off everybody and given us all time to learn on the job and finesse our skills. Dogs barking outside the room, cats scurrying past in the background along the bookshelf, and children interrupting to show what they have completed in their home-schooling exercises, are mere blips during a virtual interaction. We have become somewhat kinder to each other and more relaxed about …well, working. 

    There appears to be a greater human element in what we do now and how we connect.---

    Article Contributor: Melanie Brown, Managing Partner    



    If you are interested in our immersive learning solutions on remote engagement, contact Actando.

    The Actando Consulting Team

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