A couple of decades ago, it was normal for a medical rep to wait several hours at a physician’s office before getting an opportunity to showcase an array of new drugs on the market. This was a time-consuming, physical, in-person activity both for the physician and the medical rep.
Medical reps, who are essentially sales personnel, would need to painstakingly explain the uses of the drug, its genesis, and other details to get a buy-in from the clientele, i.e., the medical fraternity.
Cut to 2022. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation across all sectors, and the reality is no different in the pharma sector.
Today, technology is changing the way Big Pharma markets its products. Marketers and sales reps can steer all marketing activity through one unified eDetailing platform.
What is eDetailing?
In the case of most B2C products, companies market directly to consumers. However, in the case of pharma, companies market instead to those who prescribe the medication, i.e., doctors and nurses.
In a country like India, the doctor-to-patient ratio is 1:834, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (though the disparity is much higher in all probability).
Doctors are consistently pressed for time and do not have the mental bandwidth to do things the old-fashioned way, i.e., physically meet with pharma sales reps.
At the same time, medical science is evolving much faster, with new drugs going to market in a shorter period, and doctors want to be abreast of the latest developments.
With eDetailing, pharma is addressing multiple challenges at once by leveraging digital technology to streamline the entire sales, marketing, and communication workflow between various stakeholders.
These can include sales reps, marketers, and the medical community, as well as the regulators, investigators, and media. Essentially, all sales, marketing, and communication engagement has now moved to the cloud.
Key Challenges Faced by Big Pharma Today
- While the rest of the world goes digital, pharma is yet to fully embrace this transformation, though efforts started as early as 2002. Businesses can start by first equipping their own teams with the digital armor and savviness to face digital challenges head-on.
- Earlier, the medical rep was the key channel. Today, there needs to be an omnichannel approach – SMS, messaging apps, social, search, and ads all play a role in marketing and sales. Managing so many channels can be a logistical nightmare.
- The texture of communication is shifting from brand-focused communication to content marketing, awareness-building, and delivery of non-branded content.
- Consumers are also more digitally-savvy, leveraging the Internet to build awareness about new medicines and treatments. Pharma must be equipped to handle the new reality of consumer awareness.
- Companies are struggling with bringing scale to their operations to build a competitive advantage.
Benefits of Remote eDetailing
The adoption of eDetailing platforms by pharma companies is helping address multiple challenges via such a unified platform:
Digital Engagement with Doctors and Nurses
Sales forces around the world are shrinking, and one way to plug the gaps is to leverage the automation of various functions.
Remote eDetailing helps doctors and nurses access medical and scientific information on-demand. It also enables the medical fraternity to host a live video discussion, IVR response phone calls, and superior presentations of sales materials to enhance and expedite engagement.
Via an eDetailing platform, the medical community can receive information on their channel of choice. Thus, the knowledge cycle never sleeps, which is a valuable asset in the medical world.
Sales reps and marketers can access marketing material for products and training information on-demand.
Companies can also roll out new training programs with speed and effectiveness, connecting reps in multiple locations.
Boosting Planning and Execution
Companies can disseminate critical information to multiple stakeholders beyond doctors, nurses, and medical reps. This network also includes media, investigators, and regulators.
Information can span from press releases and regulator updates to responses to investigations and research reports.
A Seamless User Experience
New stakeholders can be onboarded onto an eDetailing platform with ease, and the communication cycle can be tracked.
eDetailing platforms have capabilities to translate raw data into useful data points that are in turn mined, organized, and segregated into valuable insights.
Raw data captured online every second is a valuable asset in helping pharma companies understand stakeholder behavior, expectations, and trends.
They can evolve communication, product information, and awareness material based on real-time data. Data is the new diamond in Big Pharma.
Impact of eDetailing Platforms
With eDetailing, the potential for the medical fraternity to engage is higher due to the flexibility of channels and on-demand access to information.
According to a report by Davidson and Sivadas, the medical fraternity is prioritizing eDetailing as it presents an opportunity for them to access product information directly from an authentic source at their convenience.
In India, pharmaceuticals like Cipla, Pﬁzer, Ranbaxy, Aventis, Dr. Reddy’s Lab, Glenmark, GSK, and Nicholas Piramal have already made the shift to remote eDetailing.
Increasing the RoI on marketing spends is the key driver, and the adoption of eDetailing by more physicians will enable pharma companies to reduce spends on traditional sales methods.
The pharma industry’s market size is projected to grow from sales of $50B to $130B by 2030 at a CAGR of 12.3%. Scalability is a major goal for pharma businesses looking to capture more market share.
Early investments in digital transformation, and the adoption of eDetailing in particular, can aid in accelerating growth.
Kytes’s robust eDetailing platform offers a seamless experience for pharma companies to engage with multiple stakeholders in the organization’s ecosystem. It provides rich digital detailing tools for medical reps as well as lab technician training and updates, empowering doctors and regulators with important information and engagement with the public and media.
Partner with Kytes to plan the digital transformation of your pharma business, build a robust foundation for streamlining all sales and marketing activities, and drive higher ROI in your business outcomes.