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How Can Pharma Companies Improve HCP Engagement Post-Pandemic?
Pharma companies should engage with healthcare professionals (HCPs) to deliver products and implement services. Sometimes, however, HCP engagement can be a challenge, especially if your organization has limited marketing resources.
Then there’s COVID.
In the last 18 months or so, many pharma and life science organizations have struggled to engage with HCPs because of post-pandemic restrictions. Research shows a significant drop in the number of face-to-face meetings between pharma field reps and HCPs. As a result, your agents should use alternative marketing methods, such as telephone, email, and software, when communicating with healthcare professionals.
Below, learn how pharma companies can improve HCP engagement in the new healthcare landscape.
Use Various Digital Technologies
As the pandemic rolls on, many HCPs are still reluctant to carry out face-to-face meetings about life science products and services, leaving your pharma reps with no other option but to utilize digital technologies. These technologies include:
- Online sales tools
- Social media
Reps should use a combination of these technologies when promoting products and services and improving HCP engagement. For example, agents can use social media to generate interest in a new medical device and then email HCPs to arrange a video call to discuss the product. Finally, they can use software to track sales and marketing campaigns and generate real-time data insights.
Realize the Benefits of Remote Engagement
Pharma reps have engaged with HCPs remotely since the spring of 2020 to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This marketing method was born out of necessity. However, remote engagement has brought some surprising benefits for reps and the pharma organizations that employ them. These benefits include:
- Reduced travel costs. Reps can engage with HCPs via videoconferencing technologies without attending a physical location.
- More time. Because reps don’t have to travel, they can spend more time engaging with leads and promoting life science products and services.
- International reach. Reps can communicate in real-time with HCPs in far-away locations. This communication isn’t possible without technologies like videoconferencing.
In the future, reps should combine remote technologies with traditional field service methods for more explosive marketing results. Your organization’s reps could even communicate with HCPs via video for prospecting and visit physical locations for more business-critical tasks like contract negotiation.
Invest in Big Data
To accomplish their goals, pharma reps need access to the latest data when creating marketing campaigns post-pandemic. Big data can improve healthcare professional engagement and lead to more successful sales and field service outcomes.
Research shows that big data will be the most important investment target for pharmaceutical companies over the next two years as they explore technologies that drive business growth. In the GlobalData survey, pharma companies viewed big data as a greater asset than cloud computing, social media, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Big data provides your pharma reps with actionable insights into HCPs interested in their products and services. With the latest data sets, these reps can:
- Segment audiences.
- Create highly targeted marketing campaigns.
- Improve personalized marketing.
- Better understand the needs of HCPs.
- Transition from traditional marketing methods to digital technologies as a result of pandemic restrictions.
- Enhance HCP engagement.
You can also use this data to improve research and development when creating new products and services.
“[We estimate] that applying big-data strategies to better inform decision making could generate up to $100 billion in value annually across the US healthcare system, by optimizing innovation, improving the efficiency of research and clinical trials, and building new tools for physicians, consumers, insurers, and regulators to meet the promise of more individualized approaches,” says McKinsey & Company.
Use AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two technologies that can also improve HCP engagement.
AI, for example, lets your pharma reps predict field service trends in the post-pandemic landscape. Predictive models might tell these reps whether an HCP will invest in their products and services based on historical data.
Machine learning allows reps to optimize big data and generate intelligence about HCPs. This technology results in better decision-making, helping agents align marketing objectives with the specific requirements of healthcare professionals.
By needing to allot less time to traditional field service, your organization can upskill reps to execute other tasks in their spare time. Training reps to handle product demos or manage tech inquiries from HCPs, for example, can reduce labor costs, improve organizational productivity, and enhance HCP engagement.
Upskilling also provides your reps with multiple benefits. They can learn new skills and apply these abilities to future job roles.
Optimize Interactions With HCPs
HCPs have faced a lot of exhaustion since the pandemic started. Hospital managers, service providers, and other healthcare professionals no longer have time for small talk or lengthy meetings with reps. Therefore, your organization should optimize interactions with HCPs in the following ways:
- Create content that resonates with HCPs. This content should get ‘straight to the point’ and explain the benefits of your product or service. Content that improves HCP engagement might include scientific research, statistical data, and PowerPoint presentations.
- Build trust. Reps should build trust with HCPs by avoiding the ‘hard sell’ and focusing on unique product characteristics that improve patient care and benefit healthcare providers.
- Track interactions. Reps should track face-to-face and remote interactions with the latest software. This way, you can monitor marketing communications between reps and HCPs for better sales outcomes.
Engagement with healthcare professionals has changed since early 2020. With a reduction in face-to-face meetings, pharma organizations should use a combination of digital technologies to communicate with healthcare professionals, realize the benefits of remote engagement, invest in big data, use AI and machine learning, upskill reps, and optimize interactions with HCPs.
For more insights about HCP engagement and other pharma marketing topics, check out Intech.Media.