When global marketing technology and consulting firm ZS Associates released its 2014 report on HCP access, the results probably didn't surprise many pharmaceutical marketers. Fifty percent all physicians placed moderate to severe restrictions on rep visits, double the percentage from 2008. Even traditionally accessible specialties like pediatrics and dermatology are becoming more restrictive. Only 47 percent of dermatologists were "fairly accessible" in 2014, down from 81 percent in 2008.
ZS Associates Principal Pratap Khedkar said of the results: "It's not that these doctors object to receiving information from pharmaceutical companies...doctors merely prefer using mobile and other alternative channels of communication to engage with reps." Here lies the key to optimizing the reach, value, and impact of your face-to-face HCP encounters.
Technology Enabled Field Support
According to Medical Marketing and Media, before mobile technology, reps had about 60 seconds to engage an HCP with their core visual aid. Now, armed with iPads, engagement extends to three to five minutes or more. According to Gartner Research Group, iPad penetration is at about 85 percent in sales reps. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, mobile penetration among HCPs is more than 90 percent.
Mobile connection enables agile response. Sales reps can access a library of approved collaterals and email it to the HCP during or at the conclusion of a cal. Mobile solutions integrating the CRM database gives the rep information about the HCP's needs and behavior prior to product detailing.
Using Email to Complement Sales Calls
In addition to the use of mobile email mentioned earlier, email is a logical channel for amplifying and optimizing sales activities. Analyzing HCP website interactions and downloads lets you create a pre-visit email with information expanding on or supporting information they've shown interest in already, creating new opportunities for engagement.
Rep-triggered emails are another powerful way to build engagement and extend the conversation between in-person interactions. As part of a multi-channel marketing campaign, triggered emails build on the personal nature of the HCP relationship by identifying unique product challenges and dipping into a library of approved email templates to address them. This is an efficient and effective work-around to targeting low-see and no-see clients.
Monitor, Analyze, and Adjust
Rapid feedback is one of email's main advantages as a marketing tool. Marketers can gauge effectiveness of their efforts relatively quickly after deployment. What are the open and click-through rates? How are rep-triggered emails performing? Are you sending email communications on the day of the week and the time of the day your audience is most likely open them? What links are driving engagement with your target audience?
These metrics, combined with benchmark data by specialty, can be used to inform the volume of email touches, the cadence of deployment, and the assets and offers that spark interest, delivering results.
Today's successful pharmaceutical marketers combine face-to-face interactions with a few impactful digital communication channels, such as email, to optimize the reach and value of sales activities.