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Some trends in life science CRM for the remainder of 2021

The last months have created multiple shocks in the way life sciences companies have engaged with HCPs in their respective areas. Companies have, of course, rushed on enabling remote detailing, but this was just one short-term response. At BASE, we have been looking at the technology & data components of companies’ commercial excellence framework for more than a decade. Besides those tactical trends that suddenly accelerate digitalization, we observe lasting movements in the industry, and we want companies to benefit from our perspectives. While this blog is focused on the CRM component of the landscape, we are willing to share our vision. We depict trends around the insights and the way they are used around CRM.

It is evident that technology and digitalization are becoming more and more critical. Typically, remote detailing while being accelerated by the COVID pandemic is here to stay. Lengths of consulting companies have interviews HCPs to ensure that[1]. While life sciences companies are still exploring the proper setup and the overarching trend is clear. Remote detailing comes with the serious advantage of creating a wealth of data that companies can leverage.

Enabling remote detailing has forced companies to deploy consent captures strategies. The technology part was easy to solve. The challenge before the pandemic was getting the data. Consent captured has been fueled by the willingness of companies to use other channels than face-to-face. It resulted in a significant increase in the consent data being captured. This effort made by all team members has led to another set of data to be tapped into. While the consent strategies are not all in place yet, companies have understood that this is a core capability and must have.

This leads to the second trend we observed, which is the insights creation within companies. Over the last decade, multiple technologies have emerged to support companies analyzing the data created by the various field force. Well, data quality has been an issue for a while in the industry. Increasing adoption to ultimately improve the quality will always be on the top of the agenda. Beyond that, many algorithm-based solutions have been implemented over the years with various levels of success. One of the key missing components of those tools was the constant need for the reps to extract data from the system. Next-best-action created some fear in the teams to be replaced, limiting adoption. The industry needs something that stimulates the field force to improve data quality and ensure adoption of the CRM.

Looking at the future, we foresee a solution that enables companies to support the field force in their action. Whether the team would be home and remotely detailing to the HCPs or not does not matter, a tool that helps them performed should hit the industry. Artificial intelligence in commercial excellence has yet to deliver on its promise. Heavily relying on data, AI may just have needed the pandemic to get the amount required to be performant. Some established players in other verticals are now starting to join the industry. Tact.ai is one of those companies trying to make CRM more users friendly. There is a need to ensure the reps are supported in making the best of their time. They have the knowledge, but they need the insights available and push to them.

When discussing with industry leaders, they are willing to provide technology to move far away from the CRM as a call reporting tool. Reach and frequencies are viewed as metrics of the past that are not relevant in today’s world. Companies are willing to invest in technologies that support the reps to perform. With the development of voice recognition, a simple use case is the ability to dictate notes to the CRM instead of tapping/clicking in the application. This would be far more comfortable for the reps and would help them in their note-taking daily. Technology should help reps performed when they are not at their best[2]. BASE is partnering with Tact.ai to bring both voice control and AI capabilities to the life science industry.

Another typical example of a gap that will have to be filled is the insights usage. In the current state, companies cannot push those insights to the field force in the appropriate manner. Advanced analytics are done but not made readily available. There must be a shift from pulling the information out of the systems to pushing the right information at the right time. Typically, a rep is not interested in logging into his CRM to see the customer with the highest potential, but that is not reachable in the reaming time available for the day. He may just want to receive a notification on his mobile or on the table home screen stating that an available HCPs based on the preferred hours’ pattern is nearby and that the latest publication of the company has not been shared with him. This would help the team and ultimately create a better experience for the HCPs. Essentially, a solution should hit the market, facilitating the work of the reps, making sure they consistently make usage of the insights available at their disposal, thus being a smart way to discipline them in their usage of their current CRM tool. This would for sure support the adoption of CRM as well.

Finally, and perhaps, broader, the tendency to move away from a brand-centric approach to a customer-centric approach towards engagement. Cells and genes therapies require to have a customer-focused view. That’s a very typical example of the shift happening in the industry. The insights must be highly detailed and to the point. In such a context, nudges from the system would be required, as the reps will simply have too much data to handle. Beyond those advanced therapies, the shift is perhaps a bit slower but still unavoidable. Diabetes treatment is personal now.

What does this mean for the remainder of 2021?

While solidifying the remote engagement capabilities, companies will again focus on supporting the field force better. The first step will be to finalize the consent strategies to ensure the multichannel engagement can truly happen. With the new capabilities being released almost monthly by CRM providers, this should be completed very soon. The next step will be to make use of the insights generated. Of course, the insights generation must be done at the right level for the reps, moving away from a brand-centric approach to customer messaging and context.

This is where commercial and technology will focus in the coming months. Ensuring the field force can access promptly the insights generated by the users at the right time. BASE’s partnership with Tact.AI[3] is aiming to support this aspect in companies. Ensuring life science companies can benefit from the massive amount of data they enter in their CRM to improve their sales force effectiveness.

About BASE life science

BASE life science is an innovative and forward-thinking technology, product and service consultancy specialized in creating real business value from digital platforms and data. Our experienced teams are ready to help optimize your technology and business processes within Customer Engagement, Quality, Regulatory, Compliance and Clinical data management.

BASE currently operates from our offices in Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, and Germany, where we assist customers across the globe. You can safely choose us as your entrusted partner, as we will make it our goal to bring your vision to life.

About the author — Baptiste Mercier, Head of Customer Engagement

As head of Customer Engagement, Baptiste is an expert at helping our customers create real business value from their commercial, medical, digital marketing and market access platforms and data. Baptiste has more than 15 years of experience with CRM in pharma and is PMP, ITIL, Salesforce, Veeva, and OCE certified.

References

[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/ready-for-launch-reshaping-pharmas-strategy-in-the-next-normal

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuClRDYc4RU&t=11s

[3] https://www.baselifescience.com/press_release/tact-and-base/

BASE life science is a fast growing, fast paced consultancy focused on the life science industry.

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