Historically, pharmaceutical companies have struggled with the un-trackable nature of field sales. Field force effectiveness has been measured based on outcomes alone: Rx share, growth and perhaps Professional Detail Equivalents. While these metrics tell the company a lot about the success of field professionals, and the territories in which they operate, it does little to help them improve that performance. Times have changed. The pervasive use of Interactive Visual Aids (IVAs) brings with it great opportunity to optimize and better target content. How does that work? The iPad, and other tablets, used to display IVAs are capable of tracking the content chosen by the representative, what is presented to the customer, and the customer’s perception of that content. This intelligence gathering is game changing.
In the past, marketing gave the field force directives on what topics to present. Today, leading edge organizations are giving their field professionals greater autonomy to use any and all content in their digital bag. Progressive organizations that allow field professionals to customize and track their presentations have a great advantage. They learn a tremendous amount about what content is the most successful. Specifically, marketing discovers what the field thinks will work, and what is proven to work. They gain an understanding of the most valuable topics and mediums, such as videos and interactive tools versus generic slides. This informs their future IVA design. Additionally, it provides direction on what messaging and content will resonate in other channels.
Predictive Content Targeting
Innovative brands are also targeting their IVA content to individual customers. They are allowing field professionals to capture customer sentiment during the call, all the way down to each slide they present. In this way, the field professional creates a historical log of what they showed a customer, and what they believe the customer thought of it. This is very useful information to that representative, and perhaps to their territory partner, when they next call on that customer.
What is really innovative is that when all of the customer sentiment data is combined, it produces a Big Data effect. Amazon, Netflix and iTunes Genius use the rankings of books, movies and songs by each customer to match people based on their common interests, and then predict what else they will like. This is called Collaborative Filtering. It is now being done in our industry. The means to track what all of a brand’s customers like and don’t like, when combined, allows for Collaborative Filtering that presents the field professional with what each customer wants, before they know they want it. This crowd-sourced targeting is being piloted by innovative brands today.
Why Not Your Brand?
Tracking the field has largely been taboo, and for good reason. In the past, field professionals received nothing in return from being tracked. But, reps are people too. Just like the rest of us, they are willing to exchange some privacy for a better experience. In this case, it comes in the form of improved content from marketing and data-driven recommendations that increase their compensation. If you’re not convinced that your field force would make that tradeoff, why not ask them?