The Next Level
With meetings on the quick, sales reps must be prepared with a device that has the ability to respond to any questions that
might arise in that moment. If a rep is waiting for a laptop to load, shuffling through papers, or clicking around on different
programs to locate a data point or file, the doctor is out of time and the opportunity is lost.
The ease of the iPad allows for touch-screen presentations with interactive content, enabling a much more engaging experience.
It brings a new form of interaction to the table for the sales force—with its size and bright, bold display—and helps gain
and maintain attention. With multimedia tools for that added "wow" effect, the digital detailing landscape has entered a new
Sales and marketing presentations can be enhanced with downloadable applications, even industry-specific applications—popularly
known as "apps." The appropriate apps allow users to access files, collaborate on documents stored in the cloud (see feature
story, "The Sky is NO Limit"), print from anywhere and more. By using apps to populate the iPad with relevant points, pharma
reps can reinforce their sales messages and tailor their content to their product, company, and targeted customer.
Beyond readily available apps, some companies utilize customized apps, which allow them to accomplish the specific functionality
they require—and stand out from the competition. Standard apps are designed to be generic, so that they can be used by a multitude
of companies. While standard apps sometimes allow users configuration options to better fit their environment, this by no
means enables them to perform certain functions specifically the way they want to do them within their organization. A customized
app allows companies to gain competitive advantage by accomplishing tasks that are otherwise unavailable to other companies.
For example, an app might be tailored specifically to the product being sold, and branded and formatted physically to represent
that particular company. The type of functions involved go way beyond the capabilities of standard apps. They make a statement.
Imagine this scenario: Your competitors have iPads and have also purchased pertinent apps from Apple's App Store. How can
you find a way to leave a lasting impression with the same doctor they've already pitched? You also have an iPad and have
downloaded the appropriate apps. However, there is one major difference: You have a custom app that's not only visibly different
than theirs, but also allows you to present different statistics for whatever variables you believe would be the most compelling
to the physician. Only you and your company have access to the app. The iPad certainly is a must-have tool, but the way in
which it is implemented and what apps are downloaded make all the difference to successfully stand out among other pharmaceutical
companies and products.
For example, for a rep selling a cardiovascular pharmaceutical product, his sales pitch would emphasize certain data points.
He might want to show what a patient's blood pressure would be with his product, without his product, and with a competitor's
product. In addition to showing these types of results, the rep can also help the doctor quantify things from a business perspective
by showing how much less time a patient will spend in the operating room and how much money will be saved as a result of using
this specific product. Therefore, it's extremely beneficial for the rep to have the ability to enter certain statistics on-the-fly,
as requested by the physician to compare and contrast different data points, variables, and products.
Will the Trend Take Off?
According to a recent BusinessWeek article, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. confirms that it will buy 1,300 iPads for its sales representatives in Japan to market
the company's medicines. Abbott Labs, a maker of both drugs and medical devices, will roll out about 1,000 iPads to US sales
representatives on the drug side, according to a Wall Street Journal article. With that said, it seems that iPads are quickly becoming a necessity for the pharma sales force to gain interest
from doctors and keep up with their competition. Beyond that, to beat out the competition, the sales force needs to be creative
with their presentations, using customized apps to deliver more compelling, supporting data points to sales prospects.
Robert Neumann is Vice President of Cloud Computing & Mobile Apps at Dreaming Code. He can be reached at Robert@DreamingCode.com