COVID-19, Digital Outreach, and Improving Physician Engagement Through Online Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed almost every industry, and the pharmaceutical industry — which was already no stranger to employing inventive ways to reach its clients through online services and platforms like Salesforce — is no different.
Before COVID-19 made new work-from-home regulations the status quo, direct and personal access to Health Care Professionals (HCP) was already diminishing. The use of online platforms and more time spent talking on cell phones than in-person stepped in the place of many conventional sales methods, both creating and calling for a realignment of advanced developments in the field of salesperson-to-physician engagement. Those factors have led to thinking of new ways to ensure sales reps and physicians continue to build mutually beneficial relationships, like launching a digital platform devoted entirely to connecting the two professions virtually, rather than relying on the age-old method of impromptu clinic visits and lunchtime meetings. Of course, as the world navigates a global pandemic and the social distancing measures that prioritize health and safety, we know the future market will call for even less face-to-face engagement opportunities between a Pharma sales rep and the physicians they help.
Multi-Channel Marketing has risen to supplement Salesforce activities as a way to connect with clients in the most proficient and savvy ways, for example. You may accept that the world wide web has given physicians an edge, and in many ways, it has. It’s provided access to a greater range of patient information to both physicians and medicinal service experts alike, but to anybody who’s tried, filtering through all the information available is one colossal errand. And this is where the pharmaceutical sales rep gains the opportunity to build an even more valuable relationship with the physicians they serve.
Schimmer states, “Physicians must not just retain this surge of new thoughts regarding treating, diagnosing, forestalling, and getting sickness – choosing which information is pertinent and which isn’t – yet besides figure out how to apply and disclose this information to the patient sitting with them in the test room or laying sick in a medical clinic bed.”
By providing appropriate information about a physician’s direct needs — another chemotherapy sedate for malignant growth docs, for example — a salesperson can stand out as a physician’s guide through the ocean of medical information that would otherwise be overwhelming. In a landscape where COVID-19 will continue to limit in-person visits to clinics and medical centers, this is just one way a sales rep can remain invaluable.
In 2006, an article in Entrepreneur said, “Physicians don’t have the opportunity to survey voluminous research reports… Enter the pharmaceutical delegate… The pharmaceutical companies and the medical network must cooperate to best serve the patients with strong information.
Agents who see themselves basically as medical information colleagues to the physician assume a completely unexpected job in comparison to the people who administer favors to sell enormous amounts of medications.”
Current pharma salesmen must be ready to give physicians the best, most reliable information at the ideal time, and they should offer it in engaging, non-aggressive ways. Research has found that physician relationships are the key variable in successful pharmaceutical sales, and physicians will change and adjust their methods only when they feel genuinely trusting of their sales reps — when they see them as people helping in their profession, not simply shills for an anonymous brand.