Transitioning Reps to Make Their Own Call

Traditionally, the delivery of digital content has been in the hands of brand management, but the time has come to let reps manage this functionality both during and post detail.


In my last column I addressed how we can create a superior customer experience by extending the personal sales call with reps empowered to drive physician engagement with digital material. In addition to creating a great customer experience, combining personal and digital outreach certainly improves our return on investment (ROI). Recent studies conducted by Group DCA on campaigns combining personal and digital details have shown a dramatic synergistic effect. The number of new patients attained increases by as much as 60% when eDetails are combined with a personal detail versus running either independently.


The Rep’s New Role
The big question is how do we transition reps into the driver’s seat to deliver this digital content in addition to personal promotion. Brand management has historically driven digital delivery, not the field. And although it makes perfect sense on paper to have the rep manage this functionality, performance metrics on rep-driven digital activities can be difficult without a central data repository. Difficult, but not impossible. Many sales force automation platforms can record a rep-generated digital outreach activity. Tying in the response rate is therefore, only a step away. We all recognize this, and many companies are developing such support.
In the meantime, companies can begin to develop an arsenal of fully compliant, approved digital brand content—physician-focused—that can be stored in the cloud and available for rep use during a detail or as follow-up. This means arming the rep with equipment suitable to digital content display, developing the content to work appropriately and training the rep on how best to use that content. Post-detail, reps can send physicians a link to additional content via email based on what they learned about physician preference during the personal visit. Or, if unable to present important findings or new information during a detail, reps can elect to email an invite to an eDetail based on their understanding of the HCP’s interests. The technology is here, we just need to harness it to our advantage and better focus on our customer.


Make it Interactive
Whether we choose the iPad or other notebook or mobile platforms, we are seriously misusing this technology if we don’t offer interactive content. Many learning theories testify that adults learn best through experience. A recent study by Manhattan Research, iPad Reps: Evaluating the Success of Early Initiatives & Identifying Strategic Opportunities in 2012, reinforced this theory when it found that physicians who touch the iPad have a better learning experience. However, only 25% of reps in this study had content that required touching. A valuable opportunity lost. We need to abandon the traditional PowerPoint slide approach and develop true interactive, engaging content suitable to the medium.


Pursuing the Dream
Once we have mastered the development of appropriate digital content and rep accountability for using it, we can greater enhance productivity by integrating channel databases. Such integration will make this field-generated activity easier to measure and will provide reps with valuable insights to their targets’ behaviors and needs. Physicians will learn better with experiential, relevant digital content, and relationships with their reps will be enhanced. A win for everyone.


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