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Have You Thought About the Pharma Rep as the Orchestrator of the HCP Relationship?

In a recent blog post, I proposed to redefine the pharma rep as being central to engaging with healthcare providers (HCPs) on an individual, personalized basis. With the role of the pharma rep in decline, it’s critical for pharma companies to reinvent that role, especially as the industry shifts toward a people-based marketing framework that’s rooted in customer centricity.

Integral to this shift is the concept of the rep as a franchisee, where reps manage their own territory, servicing identified HCPs using relevant and appropriate channel communications. This model takes into consideration all tactics and channels to which the HCP is exposed, whether outbound or inbound, offline or online. Corporate data is combined with field and third-party insights to provide a 360° view of each physician, affording alignment around channel propensity and tactic attribution. This reinforces the next go-to-market campaign by audience and message, ultimately leading pharma companies to the next best action.

To take this approach, calendar and message orchestration need to be put directly in the hands of the territory manager or rep, rather than remote third-party operatives. The territory manager or rep would be provided with insights, analytic support, broad-channel medical legal review (MLR) approved content, as well as a level of “franchisee” support, effectively moving from content excellence to content enablement. This is key to a people-based marketing framework, as it supports a shift toward KPIs that correlate with physician satisfaction.

With physician satisfaction replacing total prescriptions as the new measure of rep performance, it will be critical to engage a new evaluative model that measures the strength/value of the HCP relationship, not just email opens, rep calls, click throughs, or site visits. In this model, success will depend on customer centricity as measured via an independent HCP value metric, such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Taking this approach would enable pharma companies to quantify (and qualify) their relationships with physicians against overall service levels, meeting and understanding each HCP’s patient/clinical needs, creative problem solving, responsiveness, quality of delivery, and the relationship at all levels. HCPs would be assigned a value as a promoter, neutral, or detractor – these metrics could be used to measure territory effectiveness and rep impact, identify at-risk HCPs, and uncover opportunities.

Disruption and change in healthcare are a given, and competing effectively requires pharma companies to be innovative. While the pharma rep is losing impact, the role can be re-energized via the franchisee model to engage with HCPs where they are with personalized, branded content that addresses their needs and interests. There are five things you can do right now to start on the path of personalization:

  1. Identify the right media mix and investment for each channel.
  2. Develop a roadmap and have short-term deliverables and measurement that can be evaluated along the way.
  3. Review what success has been and discuss how to shift to a more customer-centric focus through personalization and KPIs.
  4. Select appropriate performance metrics to gauge effectiveness.
  5. Provide directions as to how customer-centric tactics and personalization should be integrated organizationally.

To learn more, download “Energizing the Local Rep Franchise: Pharmaceutical Companies are Creating Competitive Advantage Through People-Based Marketing.

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