The iPad is becoming the sales tool of choice for the pharmaceutical industry. This lightweight, instant-on technology with its long battery life has finally enabled the industry to realize its vision of mobile working. Field users are more efficient, leveraging immediate access to innovative multi-media presentations to improve the quality of each healthcare professional (HCP) interaction.

As yet, however, organizations are not exploiting the combined power of mobile communications and iPad functionality to truly enhance the productivity of the sales force. Intelligent, intuitive, real-time information provision has the power to change the way detailing is undertaken—from focused messaging to rescheduling meetings on the fly.

Field Force Performance

At a basic level, the iPad offers a chance to improve performance and productivity. Education and collaboration can be built around the iPad, from interactive training to team meetings delivered remotely to minimize demands for time-consuming office attendance. Field managers can also maximize effectiveness, combining real-time access to performance figures with mobile technology, to request immediate face time with underperforming representatives, for example, during which both can view and potentially collaborate on the same information resources.

There is also growing interest in voice navigation technology to reduce time-consuming administrative tasks. Potentially, voice recording interactions can reduce the effort or the need for manual input of notes. Reducing this manual overhead will release the field force to spend more time undertaking productive, timely and relevant customer interactions.

Exploiting Location

The most compelling aspect of this new generation of mobile solutions, however, is the ability to exploit location-based services to improve the timeliness and relevance of HCP interaction. Combining mobile CRM with location awareness ensures the latest information updates on an organization or HCP are made available prior to the interaction, to support the most meaningful conversation.

And if an HCP is unavailable, rather than waste time trying to manually determine a new visiting schedule, representatives can use location-aware tools that provide a graphical view of individuals a field user could meet in proximity of their current location based on their call goals—optimizing productivity.

The latest generation of mobile technologies also enables other members of the team—such as those within the contact center—to improve collaboration and representative effectiveness. Field users can make requests for additional information, such as research studies, direct to the relevant team member while in a meeting with the customer to improve timeliness of information provision, while the contact center can leverage insight on field user location to direct the delivery of samples or information in response to HCP requests, improving responsiveness and offering superior customer service.

Key Timing

With pressure on costs and a shrinking sales force, timing and the ability to maximize every moment of the interaction is essential. The iPad provides the chance to build the most complete interaction with an HCP within the limited timeframe; to answer every question and to reach out to medical experts within the company to respond to complex questions immediately during the interaction, rather than after the fact, thereby ensuring better customer relationships.

It is this combination of powerful tablet functionality with ubiquitous mobile networks and cloud-based infrastructure that can transform pharmaceutical sales processes, make users more productive, and deliver significant incremental value. “The most compelling aspect of this new generation of mobile solutions, however, is the ability to exploit location-based services to improve the timeliness and relevance of HCP interaction.”

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