Pharmaceutical sales reps don't exactly have it easy these days. An increasingly specialized menu of medications demands highly nuanced knowledge for the reps who sell them. What's more? The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2010, 25 percent of doctors were "no-see," meaning they wouldn't meet with reps at all. That number is now closer to one-third. As if that weren't enough adversity for reps, pharma companies continue to slash their sales force. AstraZeneca recently cut its sales force by almost a quarter; Eli Lilly cut its reps by 30 percent.
From those facts, it certainly looks as though the pharma industry has abandoned in-person visits as a viable marketing channel. To compensate, many pharma companies have replaced reps with digital tools. But, sales reps and digital marketing are not an either/or situation. The two complement each other, working in tandem to overcome the physician accessibility issues of recent years.
Sales Reps and Emails to HCPs: Compliance Issues and Other Concerns
When more than three-quarters of rep visits to HCPs do not result in face-to-face meetings, marketers clearly need to try a different track. Email marketing seems like the obvious choice, serving as a Trojan horse of sorts to get past the barriers surrounding HCPs for meaningful interactions. This is not to mention the fact that almost 70 percent of primary care physicians prefer digital media over in-person meetings as their source for information.
So, why do pharmaceutical marketers hesitate to equip reps with email marketing tools? The simplest answer is compliance issues. Allowing reps to go rogue and send emails to their HCPs creates a nightmare for medical, legal, and regulatory. Marketing also isn't fond of reps taking the email reigns completely, as they have no way of ensuring that the reps' messages align with the organizational strategy.
The Solution: Controlled Messaging with Pre-Approved Content in Email Templates
DMD designed a solution to eliminate the compliance and consistency issues of sales rep emails to HCPs: email templates. These templates contain repurposed content from other marketing channels that reps can choose based on recent or upcoming interactions with HCPs. The beauty of using a template is that the content has already been vetted by marketing with quality data and given the green light by medical-legal review. With consistency in strategy, labeling, and packaging, reps are given the power to leverage their personal relationships with their HCPs.
Five Ways Email Support Sales Reps
When used correctly, digital content enhances and supports your sales force, rather than undermining it. Here are five benefits of using email to boost pharma marketing campaigns:
- Improves rep relationships with HCPs by making the rep a concierge for digital info
- Provides immediate, approved responses to HCP requests
- Helps reps gauge their efficacy with email response data
- Arms reps with the most recent, approved material
- Allows reps to confidently communicate with HCPs without having to second-guess their messages for compliance
Pharmaceutical email marketing and sales rep outreach shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. When used together, they provide unprecedented access to no-see and low-see physicians.