October 6, 2016/Clay Hausmann/Big Data

Getting more information at your sales reps’ fingertips sounds like a good idea — but what does it look like when life sciences companies actually roll out data-driven suggestions?

Nicole Paolucci, the Director of Technology and Innovation at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, recently answered that question in a Veeva webinar titled “Learn How Sunovion Uses Data Science to Improve Customer Engagement.

“Why did we decide to go with suggestions?“ she said. “We’ve got a ton of data, everything is becoming more and more complex — and we really wanted to give the representatives as much information as we could so they can have meaningful conversations with their HCPs.”

Selecting a Data Science Partner

According to Paolucci, the first step was finding a data science partner to take the big data they had access to in order to power Veeva CRM Suggestions.

Sunovion chose Aktana due to its smart configuration and depth of expertise. In addition, it was painless on a rep level because of its seamless integration into the Veeva interface the reps already used. Aktana partnered with Sunovion to expertly craft solutions that would specifically meet the Sunovion team’s needs within their existing tool.

“Aktana is the engine to drive through Veeva suggestions,” Paolucci said. “Aktana has been a really, really fabulous partner.”

From Partnership to Roll Out

Once she chose Aktana, Paolucci explains how she and her team:

1. Selected the data sources that would feed into Aktana to power the custom Veeva suggestions.
2. Ensured the sales reps were getting what they needed out of the suggestions.
3. Created a pilot program of a select group of reps to use suggestions and provide feedback.

“Suggestions are for the field,” she said. “You don’t want the field to think this is something the home office is pushing.”

Rep Ownership is Key

Sunovion’s goal in offering data-driven suggestions to the reps was to bring clarity and efficiency to the mounds of information they were having to work through on a daily basis. Success would be measured first and foremost by rep adoption, and if they could efficiently access the information they needed to have rich conversations with HCPs.

By incorporating the sales team’s feedback, Sunovion received more field-level adoption and thus better results.
As of now, she said, the acceptance of suggestions is increasing, with more and more reps taking an action on the suggestion — showing that reps truly find value in the suggestions that Aktana provides.

Listen to the full thirty-minute webinar at Veeva.com to hear more about how Sunovion Pharmaceuticals used data science to improve customer engagement.