Changes in the healthcare landscape have transformed the way pharmaceutical marketers interact with healthcare professionals (HCPs). The number of HCPs who restrict rep access has climbed to nearly 50 percent. Similarly, the number of HCPs with no-see policies, especially among oncologists, has nearly doubled since 2008.
To make matters more difficult for sales reps, HCPs have low tolerance for sales calls lasting more than a few minutes. According to one study, five minutes was the optimal length of a call or visit for nearly 80 percent of HCPs; only 16 percent favored 15-minute calls.
Today's reps will call on their clients fewer times per year and spend less time interacting with them on each call, so optimizing each interaction is essential. This is where the digital marketing channel really shines.
Despite the restrictions on access, HCPs still want information they perceive to be of value from their reps. Marketers must figure out the information they want/need and deliver it to them at the right time in the format they most prefer.
Research shows HCPs prefer email over other forms of communication. Personalized email campaigns, targeted by specialty and patient mix, can deliver timely, relevant information. In addition, pre-call emails to HCPs give sales reps an opportunity to set a time to call and provide preliminary background information (e.g., white papers or a new mechanism of action). Post-call emails can be used to set up e-detailing or to extend an invite to a webinar or peer-to-peer event.
Using Digital Data
HCPs have been quick to embrace mobile technology in their daily routines. Studies show that they are 35 percent more likely to request samples from a rep who presents on an iPad and 29 percent more likely to prescribe the brand after iPad interaction. In addition, 60 percent of HCP emails are opened on a mobile device.
This information, combined with data about HCP interactions with your website, can be used to design highly effect communications that maximize the impact of sales calls. For example, knowing which of your website pages an HCP recently visited, or which assets were viewed or downloaded, lets you create a pre-call email with supporting or relevant information. It also helps sales reps better prepared to answer questions during the actual call.
Data sharing across the organization leads to opportunities for reps to initiate contact and fill the role of "information concierge" for their clients. Rep-triggered emails are a way to repurpose branded content into personalized digital communications that HCPs can read at their convenience on their favorite devices.
Rep-triggered emails marry your marketing and sales activities into a powerful and measurable customer touch point. Deconstructing branded content and plugging it into MLR-compliant email templates give sales reps the means to strengthen relationships and build engagement between calls.
In an era of decreased face-to-face customer contact, pharmaceutical marketers and sales reps need to optimize both the call itself and the interval between calls. Email fills that space, providing a powerful tool to build engagement.