Data. The life sciences industry has a lot of it. The widespread adoption of cloud computing has led to exponential growth in data mining, yet for the most part life sciences lags behind other industries in putting this data to good use in its commercialization strategies.

Take Amazon as an example. Every interaction consumers have with the company drives future outreach. Order a cookbook and subsequent searches include cookware; emails come with exotic foodstuff offers. 

During a recent industry forum Veeva held in Barcelona, there was strong consensus among panelists that declining contact with front-line doctors and increased pressure to get new drugs to market quickly have put customers at the heart of commercial strategy. What does this mean for 2015?

The decline in personal face time with physicians—coupled with the emergence of multiple channels of potential communi­cation—is undoubtedly forcing the industry to rethink its commercialization strategy. Finding ways to intelligently engage the customer via the preferred channel now drives many organizations, with data analytics paving the way. Data can help the industry not only better understand its customers’ information needs but where and when they look for information. This would transform the industry from selling brands to providing solutions.

The shift will require a significant change in marketing and sales managers’ mind-sets not to mention the CRM and data analytics systems that support their cross-functional collaboration. Sales reps, supported by rich customer data, will become relationship managers. By using data mined from multichannel interactions and housed in the CRM to provide a full customer view, reps will effectively coordinate what information goes to which customers through which channels and when. 

A Web query into a new indication will lead to an email invitation, then to a webinar that spurs a video conference and transmission of a new detail aid and samples. Each subsequent contact builds on the last. 

The result will be marketing that truly gets to the heart of the matter in commercialization: engaging customers in intelligent conversation—think Amazon, for doctors.