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Some basics to onboard your medical team on your CRM platform

As mentioned in a recent BASE life science whitepaper, it’s important to onboard as many functions as possible within your CRM platforms. The more data that is collected, the more robust your suggestion model could become and the more valuable the output of the system would be.

From this statement, it sounds obvious that medical functions should not be ignored. The medical scientific liaisons (MSLs) and the medical affairs teams discuss important points with healthcare providers (HCPs) that would benefit from timelier and on-point material. One should not forget that, ultimately, it’s important to capture all the interactions with HCPs to enable a 360◦ view of the customers.

In this blog, I focus on getting the basics right to ensure bringing immediate value to the medical team. The value drivers are completely different from the commercial teams and the message cannot be the same. Besides enabling the fulfillment of medical information requests, there are multiple capabilities that ease the adoption of a CRM by the medical team.

One of the essential differences between medical and commercial teams is the fact that the number of interactions is not very relevant. Knowing the number of times an MSL called a specific physician when preparing an advisory board wouldn’t bring specific insights. The qualitative aspect of the discussion is much more important. The team is more interested in knowing whether the medical strategy is followed compared to knowing the number of times a KOL has been contacted. Both the MSLs and the management would be interested in understanding the way time is split between the different topics. There is a medical strategy, and everybody is interested to know whether it is being executed. Am I spending my touchpoints on the right therapeutic area or am I completely off track? Basics number one is, therefore, to be able to capture within the tool the topic of discussion and to be able to provide a general picture to the user on what the split was, so he can be aware of his alignment with the company’s medical strategy. This should, of course, encompass the time spent on the pipeline as well.

Basics number two is to validate whether the key opinion leaders (KOLs) are covered. Essentially, you just want to make sure the teams are speaking to the right HCPs and that they are providing the right message to that specific HCP. This requires identifying the KOLs by therapeutic area and not only by a flag on the customer card. Reporting on interactions must be thought to let the various team know whether they are on track or not. As the therapeutic areas become more and more complex, it’s more difficult to distinguish the area in why a specific HCP is an expert. An example from gastroenterology, a doctor may be extremely knowledgeable in short bowel syndrome (SBS) but may not be an expert in Chron’s disease. He would, of course, have patients with both conditions, but his perspectives would be more valuable on SBS than on Chron’s disesase if you have a drug focused on SBS.

The above is closely linked to basics number three which is the definition of a KOL. It must be agreed at company level on the way KOLs are defined and tracked. There are multiple levels and some points should be discussed and managed. KOL profiling must be made easy for the team. Capabilities to gather the information such as surveys and to easily store the data must be enabled to increase adoption. Regional KOLs, for example, may be extremely valuable to know at the local level but may be of limited importance when organizing an international congress. Therefore, there must be agreement on the team’s ownership of the KOLs. The company must define the various levels of KOLs from regional to international. The definition must also mention the level on which a KOL is considered: is it by molecule, disease or entire therapeutic area? As a company progresses in its journey, it may start by being general and then adding layers of granularity.

In addition to the pure knowledge of the HCPs, it’s important for companies to be able to know what they could use those KOLs for. Some are very talented speakers while others prefer to participate in an advisory board. Providing capabilities in a system to track those specifics data points always provide value to the MSLs and to the company.

Related to KOL profiling, facilitating the engagement planning with KOL would be basics number four. Providing capabilities supporting the action planning to achieve a certain objective of HCPs engagement would create a system that could ease the life of the users, hence increasing adoption. Those engagement plans should be detailed enough to facilitate planning while remaining high level, so they are not too controlling.

Finally, basics number five is the ability to identify when an interaction has led to the discovery of new insights. Remember that this is the overarching objective of the medical teams: to get more knowledge on the disease, the related molecules, and their usage. Having the capability to flag whether a new insight has been captured and knowing a way to describe it in a compliant manner can bring tremendous value to the entire company but most of all to the MSLs in the field. On top of that, if there is an easy manner to share those important data points, it would be a win for your system adoption.

In conclusion, if you can provide a platform that facilitates the lives of MSLs by enabling them to track the topic of discussion and the ability to track KOLs, you should have a faster way to system adoption.

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

About the author — Luca Morreale, Head of Operations, Switzerland

Highly motivated consultant focused on solving commercial & pricing challenges for Life Sciences companies through advisory, assessment or implementation services. Pragmatic & result driven with a strong ability to lead a team in a complex environment to achieve project goals. Ability to provide insights both at the strategy level as well as the operational level.

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