Using Data to Improve the Sales Force and Multi-channel Marketing Effectiveness

Two years ago in this column, I outlined a vision of “mining databases for pure gold.” I wrote, “Just think of what we can accomplish by integrating insightful personal and non-personal promotion (NPP) via a unified database.” Today, we are doing what I envisioned and harnessing technological advances and cloud maturation to improve the effectiveness of our sales forces, eDetailing content and multi-channel marketing (MCM) campaigns.

But two years ago, discrete data sets cataloged information primarily about prescribers and deciles, creating a vague mosaic of the target. Today, far larger data sets produce a high-definition, 360° portrait of customers and their environment, enabling a personalized approach to all brand interactions that provides a more satisfying customer experience and more brand efficiency.

Use of Cloud Networks

For example, the cloud can update noncompetitive information—physical and email addresses in real time via multi-tenant networks that work in a crowd-sourced manner. Additional information—affiliations, specialty, license status, and even office hours—contributes to better characterization and provides access to targets, prospects and customers.

The in-depth data accuracy facilitates geo-targeting on a scale that matches the complexity of today’s healthcare environment. Sales reps can plan to see prescribers and influencers within a practice—the physicians, NPs, PAs and office managers—to understand complete needs.

The extensive demographic data permit better targeting strategies within geographic regions, too. A mobile app can identify additional HCPs nearby who represent potential leads but may not be on target lists. In combination, these HCPs create local “pods” that include groups of influencers and prescribers.

Taking It to the Next Level

Integrated MCM also combines attitudinal information: It measures what piques individual HCP interest. We can see who responds to which outbound marketing, and when. We can track clicks in our HCP engagement portal to see who heads for CME material, who reads content provided by their reps through our closed network, and who views entertaining content. Thus, we can make predictions about behaviors that give reps actionable data to follow up with relevant content.

The aggregate data provide rich insights into meeting HCP needs for information delivered when and where they most want it. This allows customer segmentation based on more meaningful criteria and a better engagement outcome for the HCP and for the brand—it pairs verified interest with valued, relevant content.

This is critical, as physicians look to pharma for information, whether from sales reps, MSLs or sponsored content on independent websites.1 Although sales forces continue to shrink and many physicians have a “no rep” policy, research shows that most customers are willing to see representatives if the information shared is what they consider to be high quality and tailored to their needs.2

Armed with insights generated from vast but properly curated and analyzed data, life sciences companies can better understand and react to their customers’ needs and preferences. The “gold” is in integrating the inputs and outputs to provide ongoing value through relevant content and responsive service.


1. Coleman D., Implementing a Winning MCM Strategy: Insight From Industry Leaders. eyeforpharma. May 27, 2014.

2. Multichannel Closed Loop Marketing: Digitally Transforming the Life Sciences Industry. Capgemini Consulting; 2012.


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