From Siloed to Synched at Scale: Migrating to a Collaborative, Omnichannel Commercial Model

In this session, we cover:

  • How the most successful omnichannel programs bring brand, field, and intelligence together to create seamless customer experiences for HCPs
  • How different organizations are working effectively across teams to coordinate meaningful customer journeys and deliver true omnichannel at scale

Watch Aktana, Grünenthal and Novo Nordisk Present at the September 2021 NEXT Normal Summit

Webinar Transcript

Moderator

Welcome back to the NEXT Normal and hopefully you had some nice yoga session. We are continuing to the next session, which is a really interesting one, From Siloed to Synched at Scale: Migrating to a Collaborative Omnichannel Commercial Model, many buzz words, and many great speakers.

From my left to the right please welcome Matthew Van Wingerden from Aktana, Mann Singh from Novo Nordisk and Megan Reutin from Grünenthal.

As we prepared this interesting conversation for today, we of course prepared some good questions among our speakers and the first which I would like to ask you is, as you move back into the field, what successes and lessons did we learn and which do we implement into our Omnichannel strategy?

Matthew, maybe we can start with you.

Matthew Van Wingerden

Sure. I think we’re all learning as we go here of course, that’s what everybody’s talking about. But I think some trends are starting to emerge and we can actually start to see this because we can look across the globe and we can see places that have come back at least initially faster from COVID than others.

There’s a couple of points that are coming out. We all learned that digital communication worked really well during the height of the lockdown and that our customers were more willing and able to engage digitally than we gave them credit for before. We were able to do longer virtual calls, we were able to do more email and really people had a lot of stamina for it at the time. Now, of course, since we’ve gone on just over time and also the restrictions have relaxed, that’s fallen down quite a bit, but what we’ve seen at Aktana at least is that there’s still probably roughly two to three times as much ability to do digital communications with our customers as there was before COVID, certainly less than the peak of the pandemic.

We talk about the next normal. To me, the next normal is kind of a hybrid between what we had before and what we had at the peak of it. Now, the details of course, we still need to figure out, but I think as long as we keep that in mind that people have learned how to use digital communications, they figured out how to work it into their lives. Not in a all-encompassing way, it’s not the only way we can communicate with our customers, but in a reasonable mix, then I think that’ll help us a lot.

Moderator

Thank you, Matthew. Mann, same question for you.

Mann Singh

That’s a very interesting question. My opinion and our observation is slightly different from what Matthew has seen. What we’ve seen is that that big engagements, big, booming engagements do not work. We need to keep it simple, we need to keep it tangible and we need to make sure that we focus on execution and small sprints and learn from that.

Last, but not least, data and the insights where these channels are being deployed add a lot of information on how do you make it better as you go forward. Focus on data, focus on execution and keeping it simple.

We’ve tried to do too many things and with the pandemic it’s not easy, it’s not easy without the pandemic either. The change management part is the hardest part. There is only finite capacity, which a human mind has to conduct a workshop or to conduct an engagement.

On the customer side we see a lot of data, maybe from a mature market perspective, where there is a need that we need to meet the customer where they are, that I give. However, there’s also digital fatigue when it comes to digital engagement. It has to be, as Matthew said, a hybrid engagement, which we need to focus on, it has to be more customer centric, but it has to be done in small sprints. It cannot be these big bang engagements that let’s change the company overnight. The business model, the selling model, has not changed. I always ask my friends and my businesses, the same question, how many new friends have you made over the pandemic? How many deep friendships have you had? Not many. We need that physical connect to make that relationship in order to conduct business.

Hybrid will help, hybrid we’ll speed it up. There were regulatory challenges earlier. I think one of the biggest learnings for us as an industry, is that what would have taken us 10 years or 15 years to do, we have crunched in the next couple of years and we will reap the benefits of that. If we have to focus on a few things, focus on execution, because if you cannot monetize this, then these are all just buzzwords. At the end of the day any of our leaders who are running a business, they have a P and L to deliver. If they cannot execute, if they cannot monetize this, then this will not hold traction for a long time. We have that window right now.

Moderator

Thank you, Mann. Megan, where the truth lies.

Megan Reutin

Yeah. I think we’ve actually learned several things from the pandemic. First and foremost, the cross industry pollination, we see companies such as Dyson were building ventilators, Jaguar Land Rover were, for example, building the visors for NHS, BrewDog were doing hand sanitizer. I think the idea of cross industry pollination definitely has been built on over the pandemic.

There was also, in the beginning an idea that innovation would be stifled without any face-to-face contact. I think we can obviously agree that that is far from the case. I think alone in the UK, there’s 85,000 different businesses that have been created online over the course of the pandemic, which is quite a huge number. Obviously the entire acceleration of the long awaited physical to digital transformation has happened within that time.

It’s also forced companies to really think about their customers and about how the approach to their customers. It’s no different in pharma than what it is across the other industries. This is from a strategic thinking direction, right the way down to thinking about how companies should and could build stronger relationships with their customers.

Moderator

Thank you Megan. To drive the conversation, maybe we can mention a few other buzzwords, which is definitely customer experience, digital, of course, omnichannel. I think one of the most crucial one, which we all seek like a holy grail is actually personalized customer experience. This leads me to the next question, which is how to balance the laboring personalized customer experience to a segment of one while successfully scaling the strategy across different multiple brands. Let’s start with you Megan, since you went last.

Megan Reutin

I think the crucial thing here is absolutely data. You need to understand your customers and not just about customer segment X, customer segment Y, customer segment Z, you need to really understand them. Who are they? If they’re an HCP? Why have they chosen to go down a specialist as opposed to a general issue? What really drives them?

It’s super, super easy to create content, mass marketing to the many as we’ve understood obviously doesn’t work. Advance of any customer approach we need to double check, first of all, are things relevant? If things are relevant, will it resonate? But it does boil down to customers and we all think that we know our customers well, but is well good enough?

Moderator

Thank you Megan. Mann?

Mann Singh

It’s a tough ask, to an N-of-One is a sales and marketing dream. As we go forward with this, there are two things we need to keep in mind. We don’t need to throw out our business books, which are what we’ve learned in business or business school away. The 80/20 rule making choices will still apply.

What will really help as Megan said, the data, the insight that you’re getting, to get to an N-of-One. We’ve always dreamed of having an N-of-One and catering to that personalization but the cost of doing that was so humongous and so cumbersome that people looked in arch types or in blocks in segments to cater to the customer. With technology, with data, with those insights, you’ll be able to cater to that. Especially, you know what we’re hearing around artificial intelligence and machine learning, where you’ll have dynamic content, dynamic targeting, and you’ll be able to cater to that.

Technology will play a huge role, but it’s not so much platforms, it’s refining that data into insight, into actionables and then deploying those insights. That’ll play a huge role in getting to N-of-One. Will require some serious capabilities to do this, in order to develop a content machine we need to look at our regulatory processes, which we have. It’s not that they’re not needed, we do know damages the motto of the industry before we do anything well, so those are needed.

But how do we, within those guardrails expedite our processes, learn the cross-fertilization Megan mentioned from other industries, which are regulated also? How do we learn for the benefits of the customer? It will not be just on the HCP side where you get to an N-of-One, it will be also on the patient side where you’ll get to an N-of-One.

That’s the dream and it’s going to be data-driven, it’s going to be insight driven. If we haven’t sorted that out, then you’ll not be able to build the capabilities, you will not be able to build a use cases and you will certainly not be able to get funding to take it forward. If you don’t have those foundational things sorted out.

Moderator

And you can’t be meaningful

Mann Singh

Absolutely. That’s a science experiment. It is not business.

Moderator

Exactly. Exactly. Thank you Mann. Matthew? Your angle coming from a cutting edge solution vendor, I think you can provide the various insights.

Matthew Van Wingerden

Sure. The short answer is what Megan and Mann have already said, data and technology. I think it’s really worth thinking about exactly how you apply the technology and how you look at the data. Because I feel like we used to have this very traditional approach, which is you would have 10,000 target HCPs, you’d break them into four segments and then you would, I’ll use a restaurant analogy here, you’d have a set menu. A set dinner, the four different menus and somebody gets the chicken, somebody gets the fish, somebody got the vegetarian meal and so on. Sometimes I feel like people are trying to create 10,000 different dishes right now and that’s actually not going to be helpful. That’s not how it works.

Darrio you said something about you have to be meaningful and I think that’s exactly what we need to focus on is meaningful experiences. Rather than creating 10,000 dishes, maybe we create a buffet of 10 different experiences. I take this from the tech industry actually more than the marketing industry, the tech industry has really advanced this concept the most of the user experience design.

If somebody goes to the website and they ask for a certain type of information, what do we want their experience to be after that? Then we can stitch together, maybe they get an invitation to a relevant webinar, or maybe if they’re a higher priority, we send somebody from the field to follow up on them. If we have the capacity to do that and so on.

If we can define a buffet of maybe 10 or 20 types of experiences like that, then we can use data and technology to stitch together who gets the right piece of the buffet at the right time. But we still need to have some idea of what we’re trying to do, we can’t just blindly try and create 10,000 different dishes. It’s a hybrid between technology on one side and still having a point of view, still having a marketer’s opinion of what experiences we want to create on the other side.

Moderator

Thank you very much Matthew. Next question, what role do you see tech is playing in reshaping the commercial model to deliver customer experience. I think that’s the million dollar question, I don’t have the million dollar, but you can apply the answer. Mann.

Mann Singh

It’s playing a huge role. We are seeing the benefits of the technology investments, which companies have made in different platforms. But again, as I think what my fellow panelists have said, that the data is the most important aspect of things. If you do not get your data model sorted out, you will not be able to have those meaningful discussions, meaningful use cases.

Matthew gave a wonderful example of a Chinese chicken menu where you have 10,000 dishes. I would say that also you have to contextualize those 10 user experiences as the tech industry has done. The example is your airline industry, the airline industry, the customer experience doesn’t begin when they start flying in the plane, it’s when they book the tickets. What is the experience from booking the tickets, going to the airport and then getting to the destination, getting home?

We have to think in those contexts also that if you are using different channels to communicate with your customers, what is the end to end user experience? Not just siloed based on our brand and products, but more customer centric. When I saw more customer centric, then it’s more disease state focused, more patient focused than brand focused. To do that it’s going to be not just tech, but it’s also going to be a challenge with our governance and how we are set up.

Most of the companies are set up by brand or by therapeutic area, they’re not set up by customers. Solving that, along with the technology, I think, will be the winning solution. I don’t know whether it’s a million dollar billing solution, I don’t have a million dollars, but I would love to get a million dollars if it works.

Matthew Van Wingerden

Perhaps even more, don’t sell yourself short.

Moderator

Exactly. Let’s level up. Matthew.

Matthew Van Wingerden

Sure. I totally agree with what Mann is saying about how the data is essential. The way I view technologies, I think sometimes we get the sense of technology is this flashy thing, I’ve got this fun app, I’ve got some sort of Xbox or some very immersive user experience. That’s not the type of thing that we’re talking about here. I don’t think the pharma industry needs the next version of the iPhone for pharma. That’s absolutely not it.

A lot of the technology that we’re talking about to make this work is an unsung hero behind the scenes. The way I think about this is we’ve got a lot of different ways to communicate with our customers and people talk about being, omnichannel like, “Oh, we’re just all going to work together.” That’s actually very impractical, different channels have different form factors of content there’s different ways, there’s different cadences. Some experiences last microseconds because somebody goes onto a website and moves on, some of them can last years if it’s a rep relationship.

The role I see for technology is a number of different things. But one of the simplest is maintaining those connections between the channels and it’s almost enforcing that governance that Mann was talking about. I was giving that example of the experience where somebody goes to the website and then they want some other experience, what is the information that’s relevant from the website that needs to be handed over to the next channel for the next channel to act on whatever it needs to do. Whether that’s a human end user, like a rep in the field or a marketing automation system, or a webinar that’s going to send out an invite.

The truth of the matter is it’s not all the data. There is a little bit of thinking that needs to be done with the technology behind the scenes of, I’ll get a little bit dorky for a second, what’s the API call or what is the data or the insight really that you’re trying to pass along? If you could define those things, not just from a user experience point of view, but also from a technology data integration point of view, then the technology can make sure that all the plumbing is working and the right data and the right insight shows up in the right channel at the right time.

Moderator

Thank you Matthew. Megan?

Megan Reutin

As Mann and Matthew both mentioned, technology is everywhere. That whole physical to digital shift that has been accelerated during the pandemic, the key is where do we go from here, there’s lots of different questions that we need to answer. There’s a huge big question mark over the ratio of digital to physical interaction and where should we focus, and how should we focus?

The thing is, it’s a new phrase to determine on what that ratio should be and it’s quite exciting. Will that ratio be the same ratio across countries? I doubt it. Because there’s already a huge difference in culture and we can see there are some cultures who absolutely love face-to-face contact, there are other cultures that are okay with face-to-face contact, but quite like looking at things and looking at information on online themselves.

Other questions are, for example, would the ratio be the same across brands? Will they be the same across the different audience segments? No, I don’t think so, but the only way that we’re going to determine that is with a little bit of ingenuity, innovation, good quality data, and the technology to get us there.

I know that you mentioned what sorts of areas will this really help us in and just tip of the iceberg things are knowing the customers, the sub segments, micro segments, but it’s really identifying those patterns and the signals and the data. Things that can help us with our, for example, spend optimization, content optimization, targeting optimization, and those are literally just a few.

Technology is key, but quite simply, if technology isn’t part of the plan to go forward and by technology, definitely the unsung person behind the scenes, and by technology I mean the data, the data stories, the analytics, the data science. Businesses do run the risk of dying out or at the very, very least being much, much less impactful than what it could be. As businesses, we don’t want to be delivering customer experience or customer experiences, we want to be delivering customer excellence. For that, it really needs to be industry leading, impactful and then above all data driven.

Moderator

Thank you very much Megan. Very interesting insights. We received a interesting question from the audience, which is how to ensure the customer data is fit for purpose to get the insights they need? Who would like to answer on that tough question? Or would you like to skip?

Mann Singh

I can go or maybe give it to Megan?

Megan Reutin

Go ahead. I’ll jump in after.

Mann Singh

Fit for purpose will depend on what’s the source of that data. Most of the time, if you’re looking at data at a nominative level at a customer level, it is being provided by human intervention, it’s not being provided by digital intervention. If you can, as I think Matthew pointed out, that we can go from one channel to another, follow the customer user experience across channels.

Its human tendency. When you ask me, what’s my favorite color, it’s blue, but it could be yellow. I could be wearing yellow for four days. The truth lies in what I do, not what I tell you. What is the source of the data? What’s the proof that this data is accurate? Right now, most of the nominative data which we get is, as I said, it’s human provided, it is not customer provided. Customer shares that information, but we do not have proof that they really believe in what they’re saying.

It’s a complicated answer, but it’s depends on which channel, which you’re getting this from. Historically it has been in reps who have been providing us nominative level data, at least X-U.S. markets. It’s been the reps.

Moderator

Thank you Mann. Megan?

Mann Singh

For purpose, I think Mann mentioned earlier, about governance, that’s a huge thing. Where does the data come from? What’s the data source? The whole difference between the data that you could potentially access via different data sources and then the data that you have consent to. Those are two whole… For via individuals themselves generally tends to be of a better quality.

But again, that touches on yes the data that you have been given by individuals says one thing, but maybe their behavior across the different channels says something else, but data quality is a huge aspect.

Moderator

Thank you. Matthew.

Matthew Van Wingerden

I think everything that Megan and Mann have said is right, but when you said fit for purpose, the number one thing that comes to my head is, what’s the purpose? It goes back to what we were talking about before, until you define the purpose of what you’re going to do with the data, there is no data readiness.

I think that’s, again, sort of that user experience design approach that we try and take, where if you define what you’re going to use with the data, then you can work your way backwards and say, okay, I’m going to make this decision or I’m going to create this particular experience for our customer. Then here’s the data that I need. Then I can work backwards because all the complexity of where the data is coming from, it’s human input, sometimes it’s digital, but even digital is becoming more complicated with more privacy technology being rolled out. Then we can do all of that.

It’s kind of funny, the number one concern or the number one request that I’ve gotten from my customers in the last couple of months is, “Please. No more dashboards,” because I think that’s one of the things that we just have is like, we’re figuring out how to pull all this data together and it’s really good and it’s super foundational, but we need to get past just having a lot of data and making sure that the data is correct.

We need to know what to do with it. We need to do some evaluation of, okay, what are we going to… That’s actually quite often, a lot of times how we start our projects is, do we have the data to do what we want to do? It’s not just do you have a lot of data? But, do you have the data to do what we’re planning to do in this project? That’s always step one. Step zero is defining what you want to do, step one is figuring out whether they have the data to do it.

Moderator

Thank you, Matthew. My last question for you would be what are those great opportunities which you see in going back to the field and how to increase this customer experience? Is this the big data? Is this something else, customer experience? What are those great opportunities would you see? In overall because of course you can’t compare apples and pineapples. Who would like to go first?

Megan Reutin

I’ll go first. I like the fact that it’s going to be a lot more customer driven. It’s the same as when social media came on board, we went from mass marketing to social media channels to individuals saying, “I don’t actually agree with, the messages that you’re conveying,” it’s the same thing. We went from physical to digital, and now those experiences can be customer led and customer driven. We can really listen to what we’re being told so that we can optimize those journeys.

Moderator

Thank you.

Matthew Van Wingerden

I agree with what Megan is saying. I’ll say it a different way, which is I’m really excited to get back to the human part of marketing and sales and pharma. I think we forgot about that, probably in a lot of ways in our society, but we’re trying so hard to focus on how do we connect the digital technologies together? How do we do all this? I know I’m supposed to be the tech guy here, but I think at the end of the day there’s just so much common sense of these are human beings at the end of the day, they need some information from us. We’re also trying to provide them information from a promotional standpoint, we have to make it a good experience and that means putting yourself in their shoes. Once we get that kind of human touch, the empathy back, I think we’re going to be fine.

Moderator

Mann.

Mann Singh

I’ll build on what Megan and Matthew have shared that it’s going to be hybrid, it’s still going to be driven by people. Sales folks do not need to be terrified that technology is taking over and we’ll all be plugged into the matrix. The one thing which we need to lay stress on is that going forward, there’ll be a lot of co-creation with our customers, that was missing. It was us deciding what the customer wanted, what the customer needed and what the customer got.

Hopefully the pandemic has taught us that there’s a boatload of insights available where we can co-create user experiences, customer experiences, and then end results with the customer. That is going to require a significant shift in capabilities, both on the data scientist side, and also on the sales and marketing side.

What we are gathered for today is more where we decide versus the customer deciding. Going forward, the co-creation request significant shift, but it’s going to be a hybrid world, which we are going to inherent augmented reality, where you’ll have a face-to-face and you’ll also have remote and digital engagements combined together.

Moderator

Thank you very much Mann. Based on the comments which you see in the stage chat, I see that we found our new enemy, which is the dashboard. Let’s finally leave this customer experience journey, which is of course, a never ending journey. Any final thoughts for our audience? What and when they will go back to the new normal, or the next normal, not the old one.

Megan Reutin

Okay. I think it’s not a new normal, I think we need to adopt to never normal. That is that this could, heaven forbid, but it could happen again and we need to be prepared for it.

Moderator

Exactly. It’s an ongoing transformation. Good. Mann? Matthew?

Mann Singh

I’ll go Matthew. Is it okay

Matthew Van Wingerden

Yeah, please.

Mann Singh

My one and only you ask for everyone is let’s not unlearn what we’ve learned. This pandemic has taught us a lot of things, let’s not unlearn that. There is a better way of approaching our customers. At the end of the day, it is not about just a P and L or dollars and cents, it’s about our patients. We make world-class products, we change lives, we save lives and in order to do more of this, we need to get our messages to as many customers as possible.

Let’s learn from this pandemic, let’s go co-create those experiences. Let’s go co-create the knowledge which is required for the customer to solve the problem for the patients. That’s my message for everyone.

Matthew Van Wingerden

Yeah. I think that’s exactly it, which is, look, this is the pharma industry. We’re here to improve patient lives, we’re here to save patient lives, in order to do that we got to get some information out there. Clearly we’ve had to learn how to be more creative in how to get information out there, to Megan’s point we’re going to have to keep doing that, but it’s not complicated at the end of the day. There’s unmet medical need, we’re here to fill it. We’re going to make sure people know that how they can fill that unmet medical need and that’s just what we do all the time.

Moderator

We can all agree that Matt you finished that presentation as Mann started it, keep it simple, which is very great. Really loved this meaningful conversation. Megan, Matthew and Mann, looking to the next one, hopefully live in Dubrovnik. Take very good care and was really a pleasure to have you here today.

Matthew Van Wingerden

Thanks a lot.

Mann Singh

Bye-bye.

Megan Reutin

Thanks for having us. Bye.