July 20, 2015/Derek Choy/Decision Support

In this six-part blog series, we’ve been sharing best practices for Decision Support design, application and implementation. In Decision Support Part 1 and Decision Support Part 2 we covered the first three of our five key design tenets for Decision Support. Today we’ll cover the last two:

  1. Less is More.
  2. Make it Real.
  3. Keep it Current.
  4. Ownership = Engagement.
  5. Be Easy.

Ownership = Engagement Reps are very knowledgeable and proud of their work. They spend countless hours each year learning the nuances of their territory and their customers. So if reps are going to engage with a decision support tool, the tool needs to be exactly that – supportive. It needs to respect the reps’ hard-earned on-the-ground knowledge of their customers. Reps want ownership of the decisions they make, so they won’t engage with a tool that portends to make decisions for them. But when a tool truly delivers on the promise of supporting reps independent knowledge and decision-making ability with pertinent, useful information, reps engage. Another important way to create rep engagement is to allow reps to make suggestions of their own. If they can provide feedback on how to improve the system’s capabilities, then everybody wins. Continual real-time feedback from the field will hone the quality of suggestions and insights, and all reps will benefit from those improvements over time. This two-way dialogue is essential to the long-term effectiveness of any Decision Support system. The way feedback is collected is also important. Reps are used to tools that require extra work but give little back in return. Recording activity in the CRM can be a classic example of this. As a result, reps are understandably wary of any additional steps required of them. So feedback on suggestions should be collected while reps take actions that are of immediate benefit – like dismissing superfluous suggestions or requesting future reminders of others. Once reps see the benefits of feedback, incentives are aligned for them to engage further with both suggestions as well as their CRM in general. Be Easy On the surface, this is the most obvious tenet. Of course, “ease of use” is critical in system design. But what we mean here is not only ease of use , but also ease of access . Reps are often inundated with technology tools. Each comes with the promise of helping them in their work. But each one also comes with a learning curve. We’ve made it a priority to leverage existing tools and workflows so we adapt to the rep rather than making the rep adapt to us. Simple in premise, but it requires alignment and integration with key CRM partners, especially if suggestions and insights are to be presented according to our five key design tenets. It’s one reason why we’re so excited about the upcoming launch of Veeva CRM Suggestions and having had the opportunity to work with Veeva on the design of this new offering. Integrations like this make it easier than ever for reps to use, adopt and get value from Suggestions and Insights. Well, those are the five design tenets that we’ve honed in our five-plus years of doing nothing but Decision Support for the life sciences sales rep. Those tenets come to life in the variety of use cases we have implemented, which is where we’ll focus in Part 4 of our series!