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How life sciences organizations can scale their commercial operations models in Europe effectively and efficiently

13 Oct 2022

Europe is a unique market for life sciences organizations looking to scale their commercial operations model in this region. The market poses several distinct challenges, some of which include a broad spectrum of digital maturity, an unbalanced global scale versus local agility, and an ineffective change management strategy.

In an insightful panel discussion at the Indegene Digital Summit 2022, industry experts from CSL Vifor, Becton Dickinson, Incyte, and Takeda share their insights on how life sciences organizations can adopt a customized commercial operations model for the EU region that is scalable, sustainable, and provides good returns in the long run.

The key highlights from the session are summarized below.

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“Digital transformation enables an active conversation with customers instead of just a monologue.” - Fiona Garín, VP, Strategic Marketing, EMEA, Becton Dickinson

Digital transformation enables organizations to get a better understanding of the customer purchase journey. It gives them an insight into the challenges, needs, and preferences of customers around content and channels of communication. As a result, digitally transformed organizations can improve top-of-the-mind awareness among customers enabling them to make faster decisions in their favour. Finally, by delivering personalized communication, such organizations can trigger two-way conversations with customers, develop long-term relationships, and provide a superior customer experience at every touchpoint.

"‘Listening’ to your customers can be a vital trigger to refine your commercial models." - Andrea Bean, Head of Global Marketing Excellence, Vifor Pharma

The European marketplace has a distinct customer experience landscape. And sub-clusters like EU5, Benelux, or Nordics with substantial scale and diversity make it even more difficult for life sciences organizations trying to navigate it. Over the past few years, there has been a distinct change in the way customers interact with life sciences organizations across the globe and EU is no different – they prefer educational and non-promotional content delivered via relevant digital channels of communication. However, the complexity does not end there. Even within the broad umbrella of non-promotional content, HCPs from France, Germany, Italy and Spain, prefer different types of information delivered via distinct and relevant channels 1. So, in order to be truly customer-centric, life sciences organizations need to build the right capabilities to start ‘listening’ to their customers and be agile enough to utilize these insights to refine and define their commercial models.

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Figure: Type of information HCPs prefer to receive from pharma companies

“Customers are mature enough to leverage the digital ecosystem as long as it provides value.”- Jan Deman, Regional Head Digital OCE, Takeda

The digital maturity and adoption rates of customers varies across geographies and markets, and this is especially relevant to the diverse European market. However, a common mistake that life sciences organizations are guilty of is to inadvertently underestimate the digital maturity of their customers. This mindset needs to change. From ordering groceries to paying taxes, customers use digital processes to fulfill their needs on a daily basis. They are willing to leverage the digital ecosystem as long as it delivers value. So, life sciences organizations need to develop an efficient and scalable commercial setup that helps them deliver relevant and personalized experiences via digital channels to change perceptions and enable customer to see the value they provide. Such a setup requires organizations to have the right level of digital competencies internally across all the major pillars – people, process and technology.

“Continuous engagement with field teams is vital to getting critical insights on customer preferences.” – Matthew Mason, Digital Transformation Leader EU, Incyte

Customer preferences are dynamic, and organizations are quickly developing the right capabilities and technologies to remain abreast with these changes. However, they often fail to utilize a vital resource that obtains first-hand insights about the everchanging customer landscape – their field teams. Organizations like Incyte have identified efficient ways to incorporate feedback and comments relayed by their field teams to refine their commercial models. They have developed capabilities to enable collaboration of their field teams with the commercial and medical teams, brought in state-of-the-art CRM planning tools to improve the visibility of ongoing and future campaigns, and developed processes to establish a 360-degree feedback loop that helps them serve their customers where and how they prefer to be served.

In conclusion, the European market is a complex one to navigate. To overcome the challenges that it poses, organizations need to clearly define and align on their EU vision, actively listen to their customers, utilize the insights shared by their field teams, and be agile enough to adapt quickly to have a competitive advantage over others in the market.

References:

  1. The Digitally Savvy HCP
    https://www.indegene.com/insights/article/digitally-savvy-hcp

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