The life sciences industry built a go-to-market (GTM) model with thousands of field reps knocking on millions of HCPs' doors painstakingly over the years. However, Covid-19 upended this model overnight as reps found it difficult (even impossible in many cases) to access HCPs due to strict safety protocols and increased demands on HCPs' time.
As pharma brands risked engaging HCPs at a time when their most successful channel was rendered ineffective, HCPs actually engaged even more meaningfully through digital channels. What should have been an adversity turned into an opportunity! Digital engagement channels that were traditionally an after-thought to in-person engagements now became the first port of call. But its not easy to change life sciences`' digital-also approach to digital-first. HCPs are now more digitally-savvy than ever. Having experienced high quality digital engagement across their personal lives, they expect the same parity of experience from life sciences brands as well. As Steve Mason, Salesforce customer experience expert famously said, "Our best experience anywhere becomes our expectation everywhere." Its time life sciences organizations rethink their GTM strategy to engage digitally-savvy HCPs more effectively.
So, what's the challenge? For one, HCPs are just not convinced pharma reps understand their needs completely. A whooping 70% of them … according to an Indegene study of about 1,000 HCPs around the world! Pharma brands compensate for it by sharing even more amounts of content with HCPs. But 55% of HCPs say they feel overwhelmed with such promotional content. And there is a gap between the channels HCPs prefer to engage with pharma brands versus the ones they actually use. Finally, HCPs prefer to engage with pharma brands after their practice hours – between 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on weekdays. Guess what! That's exactly when reps are least available.
In essence, life sciences' current GTM model is just not optimized to build a consistent experience for HCPs when, where and how they prefer to be engaged. It works great in one channel versus another (multichannel anyone?), but is not orchestrated consistently across channels (omnichannel, aha!) It is not scalable as brands grow coverage across territories and engage many more digitally-native HCPs. And it is certainly not agile to adapt quickly to ever-changing HCP and market needs (anyone heard of annual planning cycles?)
Someone's about to disrupt the life sciences' GTM model. Carvana skipped aggressive used car sales reps and built its brand equity directly with consumers through an impressive digital-first buying experience. Chime pioneered branch-less neobanking with its digital-only experience. Who will take the first step … and scale it up … in the life sciences industry? Why not your brand?
Know someone in your organization who’s tasked with disrupting your GTM model? Ping me on LinkedIn. We’d love to learn what is the number one challenge s/he runs into while driving this change.