An assessment of KOL maturity must start with a clear-eyed review of current KOL practices. This will help identify the gaps
in the system. Defining goals along with a thorough self-assessment will also let a company know what lies ahead in creating
an effective KOL management plan. Here's an example of a self-assessment inventory based on some best practices in the industry:
Is a systematic approach in place?
Do all parties agree to it?
Is it compliant?
2. Metrics and Business Intelligence:
What are the objectives a company is striving for?
How can they be evaluated via metrics?
Where is the data available?
What evaluation tools are required?
Is a governance program in place? Does it have an official charter and reporting structure?
If there is no governance, does a governance structure exist that could accommodate crossing KOL management functions?
4. Systems and Infrastructure:
What tools are currently used for engaging KOLs?
What resources are available?
A company must then decide who will conduct this assessment and how it will be evaluated. Once questions have been answered
for each category, an assessor can decide how the answers translate into a maturity assessment along a spectrum from "Emerging"
to "Mature." The chart at left details how a completed inventory of questions can be laid out into Maturity Matrix.
An evaluation system similar to this model allows companies to see the strengths and weaknesses of their current KOL management
plan. As a result, it highlights how far along a company's KOL Maturity Matrix is, and consequently reveals what is necessary
for the KOL management plan to reach desired levels of efficiency and productivity. This knowledge opens the door for effective
KOL management, the benefits of which are enormous.
Effective KOL management gives a company a stronger advocacy platform, provides better MSL performance management, optimizes
the use of internal resources, and makes compliance easy.
A KOL initiative developed after making a maturity assessment will generate the right mix of tools and strategies to efficiently
satisfy the multi-faceted functions of KOL management. Depending on how far along the KOL Maturity Matrix track you are, remember
that each KOL management plan will differ per company. The most important step is to begin and begin correctly. Otherwise,
you might find your company caught "in the matrix."
Jim Zuffoletti is president of openQ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joel Mezistrano is senior VP of professional services at openQ and coordinator of the company's Best Practices initiative. He can be reached
Alex MacMorran is the communications director for openQ. She can be reached at email@example.com