One thing pharmaceutical professionals know and most outsiders don’t: the pharma industry relies heavily on strong interpersonal relationships. Yet, the industry continued to grow in the face of COVID-19 restrictions, despite pharmaceutical sales rep not being able to meet healthcare professionals in person. In a world where hand-shakes are prohibited and where lunch meetings are replaced by impersonal zoom calls, sales representatives have had to find new ways of delivering impactful messages through a mix of digital and physical channels thanks to omnichannel strategies.
The pandemic has served as a catalyst to the inevitable digital transformation of the industry. And there’s no back-tracking on digitalization: even after social isolation measures are no longer compulsory, omnichannel communications will be the “new normal”. We’ve asked Jonathan Trouche, industry expert and partner at AEC partner how data-savvy pharma companies can make the most of this transition.
He thinks data-mature pharmaceutical companies will reap the long-term benefits of their omnichannel strategies, as long as they know how to track the impact of each channel. But while most pharma companies excel at keeping track of their traditional SFE, they often find their existing dashboards inadequate to omnichannel sales efforts.
This discrepancy between the way traditional and digital channels are monitored can hinder the deployment of these hybrid sales strategies. The key to a successful omnichannel campaign is cross-channel consistency, and choosing the right KPIs can make or break your strategy. But good KPIs do not exist in a vacuum: in order to determine the right metrics to follow, it is crucial to understand the big shifts happening in the industry and how they affect your company-wide objectives.
The race for client satisfaction
The pharmaceutical industry has long been highly product-centric. The chemical characteristics of a product were its main selling arguments. The communication between pharmaceutical companies and prescribing doctors centered around the therapeutic or side effects of a drug. But for the past decades, competition has been on the rise, bringing prices down.
The effectiveness of a drug was no longer enough to set it apart from its many competitors. According to Jonathan Trouche, this has brought about an important shift in the industry, making it more service-oriented.
Pharma companies have to pay more attention to the way physicians experience every interaction with their brand. It is now more important to deliver highly relevant and actionable content, instead of a bland, product-centered marketing pitch.
The quality of care provided by pharma reps is an important metric to assess the success of their sales strategy.
This industry shift has coincided with the global rise of digital channels that make it easier to craft and deliver personalized, high-quality pharmaceutical content. Many pharma companies have put a lot of effort into the deployment of these content strategies.
They’re now facing an even bigger challenge: how do they measure the impact of these digital campaigns in order to fine-tune them and determine what doctors like?
Adapting your SFE to the omnichannel age
Traditional SFE KPIs
Measuring the effectiveness of their sales force is the strong suit of most pharma companies.
SFE dashboards integrate indicators that give a clear and precise picture of the performance of a sales campaign. Amongst them: growth, market shares, volume of boxes prescribed or sold, realized on objective. Some other indicators are used to monitor the amount of effort put into contacting a specific target. Territory and customer coverage is used to assess the frequency and reach of customer interactions.
The problem with this traditional SFE model: it only accounts for one channel, which makes it unadapted to the omnichannel age. Moreover, with the industry slowly shifting towards customer-centricity, it becomes more and more important to be able to measure the excellence of customer relationships rather than sheer performance.
The old model that is solely focused on sales performances becomes less relevant if it’s not complemented with customer satisfaction metrics. The good news is that digital channels allow for this back-and-forth between a brand and its customers making it easier to track customer satisfaction KPIs.
One such KPI is the NPS, or Net Promoter Score. It is measured by asking customers how likely they are to recommend a product or service on a scale from 1 to 10. Anyone who gives a rating below 6 is a detractor, answers between 7 and 8 are neutral and anyone above 9 is considered to be a promoter.
The NPS is a self-declared KPI. This specificity means you have to actively ask doctors to rate their interactions with your brand. Unless the process is automatized (with a widget asking physicians to reach emails or website visits), it can take time.
Other digital engagement metrics
Self-declared satisfaction KPIs are not the only way to measure customer satisfaction. Behavioral data, such as number of clicks, makes it easy to see how doctors interact with digital content. Other industries track metrics such as open and click rates for email campaigns, time spent on page for website visits and number of views for display ads.
Depending on the type of campaign deployed, these metrics can be integrated into your overall dashboard.
Across all types of digital campaigns, the conversion rate can give you precious information about the effectiveness of your content. It is obtained by dividing the number of people who accomplish a specific target action (such as a website visit, programming a call or prescribing a medication) after receiving the campaign that drives them towards it.
Change management metrics
Beyond performance and satisfaction KPIs, change management is a tricky process that must be carefully monitored.
Just like you track the reactions and behaviors of your target doctors and your end clients, you can also watch the implementation of these new practices within your company with dedicated KPIs, such as frequency of digital vs physical interactions.
We’ve given you a few examples of metrics to try, but there is no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to KPIs: the metrics you choose have to be adapted to your company and your overarching strategy.
We know it can seem daunting to cover all build clear and impactful dashboards for your pharma company. Here’s how we can help.