Blueprint for Excellence - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Blueprint for Excellence


Pharmaceutical Executive


1. Differentiating customers




An accurate understanding of prescribers provides the foundation for all other commercial efforts. Differentiation leverages anonymized patient-level data (APLD) and managed care (MC) insights to advance a more robust form of customer characterization. Further leveraging secondary data and primary research (NBRx and market research) also offers new insight into the key influences acting upon prescribers, such as managed care access and control, group practice affiliation, ethnicity of patients, and the expected impact of DTC outreach on patient adherence and prescribing behavior. The goal of differentiation is to identify not only the differences in prescribing behavior but also the factors that contribute to decision making. Once these factors are understood, marketing and sales organizations can develop more effective promotion strategies for their brands.

By aggregating prescribers into distinct customer segments, pharmaceutical companies can focus on the customer with differentiated promotional programs, messages, sales tools, and delivery capabilities customized to optimize ROI at the segment level. For example, a particular customer segment may be most influenced by direct product-attribute comparisons communicated via e-detailing; another segment may want sales reps to deliver the latest information about product features and benefits, so they can engage in two-way dialog.

Strategic implementation approach:
Understand new sources of customer information, such as APLD, group practice affiliation, patient adherence, and managed care metrics that offer value for the brand
Adjust current insight processes, such as how marketers and sales operations teams use customer data, setting promotion and sales force strategies to accommodate new information
As needed, conduct controlled, parallel pilots to help the organization understand the value of new insights (For example, one company compared call plans under its traditional insight approach vs. the new information–based approach, and was able to assess the value.)
Communicate insight differences to sales and marketing managers in order to share best practices
Implement a strategy for tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and customer information over time (For example, one leader in a particular product class has developed a robust dashboard to monitor its share of new-to-therapy patients, assessing its performance among moderate-to-severe patients with the goal of making brand message adjustments as needed.)

2. Optimizing Investment

Professional promotion is usually optimized at the brand level, but shifting from undifferentiated brand messaging to prescriber (and patient) customization is the key to driving higher ROI. Each customer segment responds differently to different promotion; the inclusion of APLD and MC insights in the promotion mix has, according to IMS, a dramatic impact on ROI.

In turn, allocation of promotion investment based on the enhanced segments can yield the effectiveness and efficiencies—top- and bottom-line P&L impacts—that most firms seek. With robust characterization and influential messages, a multi-customer brand strategy can be effectively created and executed, deploying promotion dollars optimally across brands. For example, 12 months after implementation, one mid-sized pharmaceutical company realized 6 percent incremental sales growth in a therapeutic area while reducing its promotion spending by 12 percent.

Physician perception of value drives relationship strength. Traditional sales force–model metrics, such as use of visual aids, frequency of visits, time with physician, clinical knowledge, and script requests, provide diffuse measures of value delivery. They yield inconclusive results and cannot identify specific actions that will increase market share. Novel value metrics at the segment level better explain prescribing behaviors, and identify specific improvement opportunities and field sales behaviors/attributes most likely to increase new-to-brand (NBRx) share.


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Source: Pharmaceutical Executive,
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