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Implementing Remote Detailing during disrupted times — some considerations

The present situation has forced life sciences companies to rethink the way, they engage with their customers. The preventive actions of grounding the workforce at home as well as the multiple lockdowns enforced by many countries have left the sales force without a possibility to physically visit their HCPs. To cope with the situation while still providing valuable insights to physicians, companies have accelerated their efforts of implementing remote detailing solutions. This blog focuses on some key considerations for companies considering starting their journey towards implementing such systems.

The move towards remote detailing solutions is embraced by the industry as well as by providers offering lots of financial incentives. The choice of the best way to address this change is not as easy as simply using an add-on to your CRM. Telecommunication companies are providing viable options. Zoom has become one of the most downloaded applications for remote meetings. Go-to-Webinar and Cisco WebEx are contenders as well given their market shares. Life science companies can simply build upon the system that they are leveraging internally. Microsoft Teams included in the Office 365 platform, is also in the starting block. With all these approaches being available, how should your firm decide on the best approach?

In the past few weeks, BASE life science has supported companies in defining their approach to remote detailing. From this experience, we have extracted some considerations that apply to almost every company. Besides the pure technical specificities, business aspects as well as user experience should also be incorporated into the analysis.

The first step is for sure to list the possibilities applicable to your company. As mentioned above, the current add-on to your CRM should be explored as well as your standard tool(s) for remote conferences. We also suggest adding Microsoft Teams to the picture as it is available to most companies (if you are using Office 365). It is also important to link up with your IT team to find out which licenses are already available. For example, we found out at one customer that an unexpected solution was contracted globally by a single affiliate and that it could be used in this context. Once your scope is defined, you can initiate your analysis. The following points must be addressed:

  • Consent management
  • Integration with the CRM
  • HCPs experience
  • Broadband requirements
  • Content available
  • Deployment

Tackling them one by one, let’s start with the consent. Depending on the tool used, consent may be required or not. It also means that the legal / compliance team must be involved to provide a perspective. Typically, if you need to send an email from the CRM it will require an opt-in, whereas if the reps are just using the contact details of the HCP to send an invite, the consent may not be required. Analyzing the post-COVID-19 situation is also important. Would you be able to keep the consent from the physicians? If in your approved email, you include an “unsubscribe” link, you may then be legally allowed to keep the consent after the crisis.

The integration with the CRM system is the next step. Adoption from your reps will be much higher if they do not have to re-enter all the data in their day to day tool. That is the major advantage of using a solution embedded in your CRM. Using any other solution would force the reps to enter the interaction manually. It may not be that big of a deal if the reps are not expected to record all the emails or text messages to the HCPs, but in companies where all contact points should be tracked, this would be a significant burden.

The HCPs’ experience should be one of the key drivers of the analysis. A holistic approach is required here. All the various scenarios of usage should be reviewed. The physician may be using a laptop, an iPad or a mobile phone. All operating systems should be reviewed and analysed. Questions such as the need to download an application before the meeting or the availability of browser versions should be answered. The less invasive for the physician the better . Typically, all solutions would require the download of an application to the phone. Nevertheless, e.g. Skype has a browser version available even for smartphones, which is a significant upside.

Broadband requirements is another important factor. This may be more technical, but it also needs to be incorporated into the analysis. Typically, that is where the standard conference tool of the company would lack behind. With the significant increase in the number of remote conferences organised by companies, the quality of conferences using the main tool may decrease. That is when using Microsoft Teams becomes useful as it is an alternative to your standard tool, while still being available to everyone.

Aside from the technicalities, the capabilities available for content sharing are important to include in the analysis. Can your standard e-detailing be shared? If you are just using normal PDFs, any tool would do the job, but if you are using HTML 5 content or interactive PowerPoint you may need to focus on solutions that support this format.

Last but not least, you need to include deployment in your analysis. The cost should not be the only factor considered. The time to market as well as the burden on the current teams should be factored in. This is typically where the tools used already within your company have a significant edge. The cost aspect should be calculated both in the short run (with the waiver from some providers) and in the long run. Some form of high level return on investment should be achieved. Not necessarily a purely financial analysis, looking at the effort to implement versus the number of calls expected both in the short and long run could provide valuable insights.

Key takeaways

Companies will have to find a solution to perform remote detailing. With the plethora of solutions available, it is important to perform a thorough analysis. BASE has developed an easy approach to uncover the best fit for your company. The analysis should be holistic and include many dimensions ranging from the HCPs’ experience to the content available and the CRM integration.

About BASE life science

BASE life science is a fast growing, fast paced consultancy focused on the life science industry. Established in 2007 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark, BASE targets a local as well as a global customer base.

Since inception, BASE life science focuses on helping Life Science companies create real business value from digital platforms and data within its area of expertise; Commercial Excellence, Clinical, Regulatory Affairs and Quality & Compliance. Since 2007, the company has been active globally from Denmark and employs more than 50 employees.

Want to learn more?

Read our whitepaper: Commercial Technology supports Pharma in increased Competition

Check out our infographic on the various solution to adapt the way Life Science companies can to remote detailing.

About the author — Jacob Dziegiel, Partner, Head of Customer Engagement

Jacob is a highly skilled consultant with more than a decade of experience within the life science area including a vast number of projects within pharma sales & marketing and enterprise mobility. He excels within project management and process optimization and he has a strong track record of converting new technology into high business value solutions.

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