IT & BUSINESS SYSTEMS
Improving sales effectiveness
in pharmaceutical industry
By The Yankee Group
In 2003, the pharmaceutical industry invested more than US$30 billion in R&D.
ith more than 20 blockbuster drugs shortly to lose patent pro-
tection and low-cost generic products eating into profits, there is
intense pressure to increase marketing and sales effectiveness.
New products face even shorter periods of market exclusivity, which
requires a slew of promotional support by sales and marketing to get the
product message heard.
These are among the key challenges:
• A decrease in sales time spent with physicians to an average of 1.6 min-
utes. During this time, a representative must educate the doctor about
their product, deliver samples, acquire the doctor’s signature for the
samples and register the doctor for medical education events.
• An expectation on the part of physicians that representatives will sup-
ply them with the latest information on consumer pharmaceuticals. The
sales process needs to move to an educational model and thorough
interaction with physicians.
• Marketing messages and materials that change at a faster rate because
the pace of medical research in the US is at an all-time high. There is a
constantly growing need for the latest information regarding drugs,
data from clinical trials, etc.
• The need for marketers to leverage segmentation data to develop more
effective target-marketing techniques. With increasing specialization
by doctors, their information needs vary depending on whether they are
cardiologists or general practitioners.
• A federally mandated requirement for improved sample tracking and
signature capture that all pharmaceutical companies need to meet.
With 87 percent of GP visits being unscheduled appointments, closed-
looped processes are difficult to manage.
• Marketing lacks visibility into the majority of sales visits. Marketing
needs insight into strategy execution and success from the field. It’s
critical to achieve a competitive advantage in a marketplace that con-
tinues to see firms gaining parity. Research shows that the best way for physicians to receive informa-
tion on prescription drugs is through physician detail and medical educa-
Companies and industry affected tion events. However, when competing for physician time and battling
With the top 20 pharmaceutical companies commanding the lion’s sales costs of US$175 to US$250 for the average 90-second call, how do
share of the market, there are thousands of smaller life sciences compa- companies differentiate themselves from the competition, deliver physi-
nies struggling to find success in a competitive market. The Yankee Group cian-specific messages and increase mind-share for the products in order
conducts several qualitative and quantitative surveys of CIOs and key to change prescribing behavior?
marketing and sales executives to gather data and validate findings. All Many pharmaceutical companies have implemented CRM or SFA to
executives agree that the need to increase marketing and sales effective- manage their relationships with physicians effectively. The companies
ness is always a top priority. believe these solutions will automatically solve the challenges facing
IT & BUSINESS SYSTEMS
sales and marketing departments. However, these systems are designed
to optimize the pre- and post-sales business process.
Implementing SFA is only one step in the process. As a result, the
majority of implementations have done very little to close the information
gap between sales and marketing, let alone help the pharmaceutical rep-
resentative increase the time they spend with a doctor. Although SFA pro- Ideally, a company would adapt a
vides essential tools for physician profiling, data tracking and sales analy-
sis, the packages offer more to sales management than to the sales rep- traditional SFA solution to a mobile
resentative. As a result, SFA doesn’t necessarily increase the number and environment to provide real-time
frequency of individual sales successes.
Ideally, a company would adapt a traditional SFA solution to a mobile access to physician profiles, call
environment to provide real-time access to physician profiles, call report- reporting, industry information, drug
ing, industry information, drug interaction information, messaging and
sample compliance. interaction information, messaging
In the past year, mobile technologies such as the tablet PC the pock- and sample compliance
et PC have matured. In addition, vendors have made advances in sales
automation and marketing and sales effectiveness software that are opti-
mized for a mobile environment. These new technologies are significant to
the pharmaceutical market because companies in this industry have a Three recommendations for pharmaceutical
huge field sales and marketing investments. Many options are available companies
with a variety of benefits and trade-offs. • Increase marketing and sales effectiveness with SFA, then evaluate the
replacement of existing notebooks with tablet PCs equipped with opti-
The best practice mized software. Software should include signature capture and closed-
Tablet PCs and marketing and sales effectiveness software have a loop electronic visual aids. Dendrite, Siebel, StayinFront and Proscape
higher cost, but maximum effectiveness. The tablet PC is a viable note- are key marketing and sales effectiveness and automation software
book replacement that provides dynamic content and delivers personal- vendors.
ized sales presentations that integrate internal marketing and sales data • Meet government compliance objectives for better sample manage-
with detailed physician profiles, prescription histories and pharmaco-eco- ment and physician detailing by evaluating the pocket PCs. The pocket
nomic data. It also eliminates manual detail reporting through signature PC provides a lower TCO and a simpler application optimized for pro-
capture and easier integration to SFA. viding quick details on call visits enabling rapid data analysis. It also
Meanwhile pocket PCs and mobile sales automation software have offers the latest in digital signature capture and sample management.
lower cost and maximum efficiency. The pocket PC dramatically lowers • Leverage newer analytic applications offered by companies such as
TCO and provides ultra portability and instant data access while also Dendrite and Siebel. The knowledge gained through behavioral analy-
addressing compliance needs such as physician detailing and digital sig- sis and a 360-degree view of the physician will provide actionable
nature capture. insight on prescribing behavior.
Helping a pharmaceutical representative leverage mobile technolo-
gies such as tablet PCs will improve productivity by increasing time spent Marketing departments can effectively coordinate and target the
with the doctor and providing better visual electronic communication that efforts of their sales organizations by providing an automated capability
integrates relevant information to the doctor for clinical trials. for quickly understanding and responding to changing physician behavior.
Benchmarks Consider the following pitfalls
Our research has shown the technologies provide the following benefits: • Integration into SFA system is necessary to maximize effectiveness.
Without integration, pharmaceutical companies will not reap key benefits
• More time with doctors: We saw a two-fold increase in duration of details such as automated call reporting and deeper segmentation analysis.
with physicians by utilizing visual aid material when integrated with clin- • Don’t implement sales effectiveness software if the main pain point is
ical information, managed care information and signature capture. digital signature and sample management compliance from a PDA. MSE
• Increase in sales: Better analytics and the ability to deliver situation- software is most effective with the tablet PC. For PDAs, look to current
specific messages to segmented physicians have provided better SFA offerings or point digital signature capture vendors.
closed-loop processes, which have led to an increase in prescribing • Deep organizational buy-in is required along with sales training to succeed.
• Increase in efficiency: We saw a 25 percent to 50 percent reduction of Not only does marketing need to create material in a new medium,
post-call, in-the-car administrative work. Immediate field execution but the sales team needs to learn how to best use the new medium as an
feedback assists marketing and sales management with visibility into education-based methodology.
The Yankee Group is the global leader in communications and networking research and consulting. The
• Decreased costs: There has been not only a dramatic improvement in the company helps businesses understand the opportunities, risks and competitive pressures of developing,
time-to-market of marketing and clinical materials, but we have seen the deploying and consuming products and services that drive communication or information exchange. For
more information on the Yankee Group, please visit www.yankeegroup.com.
elimination of printed visual materials and delivery company charges.