Since last year, the HCP and patient relationship have shifted drastically due to the pandemic. As a result, HCPs adjusted how they will provide patient care, resulting in a significant drop in patient visits. However, it has also presented obstacles in monitoring the patient behavior and improvements. This shows the importance of better support beyond traditional brand-focused communications needed for HCP engagement.
This virtual transformation also created a massive challenge for Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical companies to engage with HCPs to educate them on treatments or programs.
In the following blog, we have summarized the advantages of a hybrid approach to HCP engagement (face to face & virtual) and provide some best practices into the existing industrial processes.
Empowering Digital Engagement in Life Sciences
Digital engagement has become crucial for the life sciences sector like any other industry. This means utilizing updated data collected from past interactions to streamline the future ones and develop a personalized customer journey. There are several successful digital programs focused on multichannel, helping to bridge the gap –
Source - Link
A Brief Look at The Digital Channels
More Than An Aggregate of Their Parts
A successful digital engagement doesn't mean eliminating face-to-face and in-person interaction. Instead, it complements the in-person interactions and meetings. Why? These interactions provide a better opportunity to increase customer satisfaction while making it more convenient for them. Overall, it extends the reach of a digital engagement strategy.
This approach drives better sales growth more effectively. It also has a significant influence on resource efficiency. For example, one global life sciences company performed a two-year test to evaluate the implications of digital channels in one of their evolving growth markets. They created a program involving three groups -
First group of reps engaged with HCPs only via face-to-face interactions.
Second group of reps engaged via digital channels only
Third group used a mixed approach of face-to-face and digital interactions.
The third group secured the best results, exceeding the combined sales growth of the other two groups. The company also observed a significant cost efficiency led by the digitally enabled hybrid reps by 80%.
Life sciences field reps extend their outreach by utilizing emails. With relevant and compliant content, the result is powerful. Companies need to incorporate the right type of email content that captures the right mindset and attention to generate a better engagement. HCPs are looking for educational tools and mobile-friendly services to delve into. Therefore, the email content should be personalized and targeted.
The goal should be to deliver maximum value via emails. Keep the number of emails minimum to avoid your emails land in recipients' spam box. The idea here is to combine all the crucial information and create a touchpoint for HCPs by keeping all the key messages in one email. For optimum results, you can break down the whole content like this -
General email body for every HCP
Personalized information or email add-ons
For instance, this example below shows a general follow-up with personalized add-ons –
Source - Link
Some other everyday use cases are -
New product indications
Scheduling face-to-face calls
Invitations to online or offline events
Sending materials as call follow-up
Virtual engagement reinforces the existing relationships to bridge the gap while allowing ample flexibility for meaningful conversations. These meetings extend the usefulness of existing approved content. Even when compared to a face-to-face call, a virtual meeting delivers the opportunity for deeper engagement.
Source - Link
With restrictions around social distancing, the relationship between HCPs and reps has been altered, creating a dire need for virtual meeting tools and software. The life sciences industry companies respond to this shift in behavior by focusing on recreating the in-person experience using virtual tools. These are well-positioned to tackle the HCP access challenges during the pandemic and once it recedes.
Even a poll conducted by GlobalData establishes the fact that video calls are the best tools for virtual interactions between sales reps and HCPs –
Rise of Virtual Events
HCPs have embraced the idea of virtual events that offer them the flexibility to stay updated about the new products and trends and to network with fellow members.
Here are some of the most popular HCP virtual events to boost engagement -
Digital Symposiums and Congresses - The life sciences industry is no stranger to the symposium. Still, 2021 hasn't put an end to it. Instead, these webinars, virtual events, and digital experiences have become a vital part of a pharma company's marketing strategy. These tools pave the way for companies to run their big events online seamlessly.
Peer-to-Peer Education and Networking - HCPs want to learn from subject matter experts and peers in their industry. But due to the social restrictions, there are limited opportunities for such engagement opportunities. However, there is a way to facilitate networking and peer-to-peer education by initiating a digital environment to host virtual events.
Key Opinion Leader Events - A great Key Opinion Leader Event (KOL) can help companies position themselves as thought leaders and draw in HCPs seeking the latest information on their field. To take complete advantage of this event strategy, focus on a core topic to speak on, such as medical best practices or the latest trends in clinical research. In addition, make sure to ask your speakers to share about the event on social media to encourage HCPs to attend and drive registrations.
A Blueprint for Successful HCP Engagement
For most life sciences companies, digital engagement needs a great deal of change management. A solid digital strategy will help make sure the right processes are built, evaluated, and standardized to aid the company's scale. The pace of change will differ according to each company's modern culture, landscape, and current capabilities. Below are some of the best practices to bridge the gaps and ensure a successful outcome -
Visible, Active Sponsorship Is the Top Factor for Program Success
An active executive sponsorship is essential for digital programs as it needs further prioritization and collaboration for their successful implementation. An engaged executive sponsor will -
Empowers the project
Ensures a continuous flow of communication
Showcases that digital is a crucial priority for the entire brand
Defines the values and aligns them to the brand's objective
Have A Clear Destination Before the Journey Begins
A big advantage of digital channel engagement is that it allows collecting data, evaluating the usage, and quickly modifying. However, it can be overwhelming to deal with a vast volume of data to measure to start with. To prevent any mistake, focus on these factors below -
Recognize the most critical KPIs (Data quality, volume, user feedback, customer engagement)
Have cross-channel standards
Have cross-department standards to ensure one approach from the company versus multiple approaches from different departments
Establish how to capture the insights and take the action
Measure, assess, and optimize
Know Where Customers Are on Their Path
Life Sciences company that has great digital engagement has a well-developed plan for each of their customer that is personalized and considers individual's preferences. This helps create a successful engagement strategy. For every single channel, look at it from the customers' point of view. Think about certain factors such as ease of access, type of content, expected speed of response, and the particular service required. The success of any channel depends on a deep understanding of customer preferences.
Tailored Messages Delivered Via the Correct Channel
After a careful introspection of the customer journey, it is crucial to have relevant content to map each segment. Many life sciences companies have content frameworks and standards early in their process so that their team can focus on the right messaging for their specific channels and customer need. Instead of creating new collaterals from scratch for each channel or interaction, focus on existing content and adjust them accordingly for a different type of interaction, device, or customer need.
Adopting the Ever-Evolving Digital Journey for Lifesciences
Now, more than ever, there is a crucial need for Lifesciences to redefine their customer-facing teams and commercial models. As customers have clear expectations from HCPs, it is the right time to support this shift from traditional to more flexible and personalized. These best practices can help in HCP engagement through several compliant and cost-effective ways that deliver significant value. Schedule an inquiry here to discuss solutions catered to your specific business needs.
Icreon's 20-year journey involves helping life science companies to bring digital innovation at the forefront. Icreon's solution has been implemented globally in six countries with 97% of client retention rate. Learn more about how we help Life Sciences companies in connecting the dots for a better customer engagement here.