Get the Most Out of Your Digital Detailing Efforts in 2015

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Joe Doyle, VP, digital strategy, hcbhealth
Joe Doyle, VP, digital strategy, hcbhealth

Your budgets for 2015 have been submitted -- but a flip of the calendar means it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. While most of pharma marketing spend will be allocated to digital advertising, there are some innovations that will mean even more for crucial one-on-one detailing to healthcare professionals.

So that's an important industry challenge: finding ways to make our in-person digital efforts even more worthwhile. Below are some thoughts for increasing your sales efforts and improving your sales force's detailing experiences.

The evolving sales team 4.0

Enhancing your sales force through the addition of Key Account Managers (KAMs) – those people who call on their organization's most important accounts -- is not a new idea; the shift was even reported in mainstream media this year. Pharma companies have augmented their traditional sales forces with consultative leaders who show knowledge, energy and confidence in answering questions physicians ask -- in the doctor's own language.

In addition to detailing physicians, KAMs also call on hospital-system administrators and paint the picture of efficacy that goes beyond the medication and pinpoints how to reach patients after they leave the hospital. Your opportunity lies in helping to identify – in real time – publicly available trends such as cost benefit analysis and return visits. So when your KAM does get through to the next layer of decision-makers, they have the information they need to make their determinations. In this case, instant gratification will lead to the greatest satisfaction for everyone.

Expect to be more pervasive – and persuasive

Pervasive equals persuasive, and nothing is as persuasive – and says, “That's smart” -- like someone else figuring out your next steps before you do. 2015 will see more pharma and device companies leverage insurance clearinghouse and EMR data for a second purpose: to identify new potential patients. This is a subtle switch from the old method of identifying physicians who prescribe certain medications or perform certain procedures to focusing on sufferers, and it is the future.

Luminate Analytics, for example, recently uncovered a Big Data trend by identifying 36,500 IBD patients who were going unnoticed and in need of new treatment methods that were safer than older treatments, like harmful, long-term steroid use. By successfully identifying patients through de-identified (and no longer privacy protected) health information, Luminate was able to provide information to physicians, who were in turn able to present treatment options for relief even before being asked by their patients.

Leverage your CRM application

It's quite amazing how many Fortune 100 and 500 pharma companies are just this year getting on board with CRM applications like Interestingly, of all the new clients our agency had onboard last year, 100% had initiated CRMs just within the last two years, and of these, two-thirds -- 65% --were only just starting to roll them out.

The benefits of your CRM applications are endless. From customized resources for email and database enrollment to inbound content marketing and inside information for sales, your platform will help you make smart decisions. Your opportunity lies in getting to know it better: how it works and what you can do with it.

In fact, 2015 will see more pharma companies hiring specialists just to harness the power of these massive systems. These people can help customize the CRM system so it complements the company and product selling style and process, accommodates the number of users and their needs, and aligns it with the company's business goals.

Find new potential with Artificial Intelligence

When we talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Star Trek comes to mind. It's the process of creating software that comes close to mimicking human intelligence. This past year saw major strides in machine-learning software that uses human experience – generating advances that can help benefit your marketing programs.

Take, for instance, Deepface, a simulated neural network developed by Facebook with facial recognition at 97.25% human accuracy. Its main purpose – for now – is to help uncover your friends in images uploaded to the site. But what if you were able to harness the software to identify patients who could benefit from a dermatological pharma brand?

There's also IBM Watson, the super-computer that beat all champions on Jeopardy in 2011. IBM is rolling out the Watson Developer's Cloud with eight different cognitive computing solutions that help solve complex problems. One of these solutions is called Message Resonance, which can help companies refine their content based on comments from active social users who engage with their brands. This can help you better understand your customers' preferences and communicate with users on their terms instead of the current method, which is to grab keywords based on search.

The firepower is out there. Technology is evolving in a way that will make your detailing experiences even more meaningful. 2015 will bring in some exciting and innovative products that will vastly enhance our ability to find and connect with customers in both the professional and consumer arenas. By keeping an eye on these advances and adding some new digital strength to your efforts, you'll find more loyal customers, higher sales numbers and improved ability to hit your goals in 2015.

Joe Doyle is VP, digital strategy, hcbhealth
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