June 5, 2015/Jack O’Holleran/Decision Support

One of the most common questions I hear from customers is, “what are the best practices for coordinating digital marketing activities and field sales activities?”

This is a fairly complex topic and every company has a slightly different approach to solving the problem. One of the more common approaches is to get the rep involved as the person triggering digital marketing activities – specifically email.

By allowing the rep to send their own approved/compliant digital messages over email, you dramatically improve the odds of an HCP opening the email and, importantly, you:

  • increase the reach of sales people – with another channel to deliver messages, sales rep reach can be extended to lower-tier doctors not visited as often.
  • increase frequency of touches by the sales person – reps can now follow up or initiate conversations by email in between visits.
  • improve the experience for the HCP – for HCPs who would prefer email communication to in-person, this is a great option.
  • create a fully compliant channel – all emails are created by brands and approved by compliance teams before they are put into the CRM system. There is no reliance on the rep to write these emails.

Creating rep-sent email may seem fairly simple at first glance – you craft approved and compliant content, create email templates based off of that content, load those templates into the CRM system and let reps go for it. But in reality, there are several key challenges that make this difficult:

  • Overburdening the sales team – Reps are already extremely busy. You are now giving them another workflow and another key data point to manage, analyze and act upon.
  • Reduced frequency of brand touches – Reps will make decisions that they see best fit their territory and often will play it safe by sending fewer emails rather than more. Brands often don’t meet their email touch point goals unless reps are reminded of those goals and their progress towards reaching them.
  • Creating a disjointed user experience for the HCP – When reps are sending emails on their own without knowledge of all the other MCM touches hitting the HCP, the result can be a fragmented customer experience.

These challenges are real, but they can be overcome with the right strategy and the right technology supporting that strategy. We’ve found that by giving the sales people guidance on which emails to send and when, we not only directly confront these challenges, but improve the overall commercial effectiveness of the company as a whole.

Aktana helps large pharmas tackle this issue with a Decision Support Engine (DSE). The engine connects into relevant data sources and is then configured by pharma personnel to reflect the strategies and priorities of their brands.

DSE outputs are often very simple – e.g. suggestions for sales people on which emails to send to which HCPs for each day. The sales person no longer has to remember which emails were already sent and which were opened.  Nor do they have to keep track of which emails Headquarters sent, what symposiums the HCPs were invited to, what changes have happened within sales data that would prompt a certain specific message, etc. All of that information has been ingested by Aktana’s DSE and reflected in the suggestions delivered to the rep within their CRM system. Reps can also be reminded of whom to visit, what messages to deliver, which content to share via the CLM, which brands to detail in which order, and more. Reps love it because once burdensome tasks are now handled in the background and they can focus on more important issues.

In future posts we’ll be writing more in depth on the best practices of Rep Sent Emails. Also, our Vice President of Product, Derek Choy, will be speaking with one of our premier customers, a top 5 pharma, on best practices for implementing a Decision Support Engine next week at the Veeva Summit in Philadelphia.