The New Normal–It’s invaded our personal and professional lives at a dizzying pace these last several days and weeks. We are in a metaphorical spin cycle right now; a spin cycle that will eventually end in weeks or perhaps even months from now.
But one thing is assured; when it does ultimately end, it will be replaced by a new normal. What can we expect from this lasting change to look from a professional and business perspective? As an industry, whose mission, above all else, is to discover and make available to patients and their HCPs life-changing, and in many cases, life-saving medicines, devices, and therapies, how will we adapt to this new environment?
According to a February 2019 study by HealthcareDive, up to 57% of physicians have no access, they simply won’t see a pharmaceutical sales representative in person. As we grow increasingly accustomed to broader concepts such as social distancing and technology-enabled remote working, this number will most certainly increase. It will be the new normal. Physicians and hospital environments that were already moving in that direction are going to get there at an accelerated pace. That being said, just because physicians will be increasingly selective about which and what type of sales representatives they will see, those same physicians will still need the content, services, and support that representatives provide. Product information, KOL and Advisory Board content, and product samples will all still be in demand. To deliver on our mission as an industry, we will have to adapt.
Here’s how we can adapt to the changing environment:
• Quickly conduct a content audit and begin to adapt approved materials to non-personal promotion (NPP)/digital formats
• Build a commercial strategy that is heavily reliant on remote engagement. Doing so will allow your sales and marketing organizations to deliver valuable content through channels such as virtual product detailing, technology-enabled virtual and on-demand speaker programs, and content delivery interactions
• Segment your market through a digital and NPP lens using advanced analytics and digital affinity models to identify:
1. Currently covered targets that prefer remote engagement and digital platforms
2. High decile writers, either current or potential, with no current access
3. Gray space and Non-targets (even fractional conversion here is ROI positive with NPP)
• Develop a data and analytics strategy that allows for rapid assessment and real-time optimization of campaigns
We’ve been put in reactionary and often mandated roles, but when the dust settles, many of the changes will be here to stay. As an industry built on innovation at both ends of the pipeline, I’m confident that we will be able to adapt and continue to deliver on our mission, to provide critical products and services where they are needed the most.