Amid a global pandemic, pharmaceutical companies were forced to rethink their traditional commercial models to work in a new environment. Even as the world returns to normal, teams are more aware of the possibility of disruption and uncertainty. How can organizations adapt to these pharma commercial challenges and future-proof their operations?
Challenge: ongoing uncertainty
The disruption to in-person interaction, travel, and supply chains that began in early 2020 still plagues some industries, and pharma is no exception. Manufacturing, transportation, and distribution channels remain vulnerable to problems, and a changing economic outlook can exert even more pressure on both drug manufacturers and consumers. Pharma commercial teams are eager to make their operations less subject to unpredictable factors and thus seek alternatives to processes like in-person market research that may require heavy scheduling or travel logistics. Commercial organizations may also wish to know more about what the competition is doing or to understand new data or prevailing trends so they can update and test consumer- and physician-targeted messaging.
Solution: add agility with flexible, always-on technology tools
Within insights management platforms, various technologies can be applied to some of pharma commercial teams’ challenges. Market research studies can be conducted via asynchronous virtual engagement, allowing drug manufacturers and commercial teams to conduct multiple studies or talk with multiple audiences simultaneously without traveling. Not only does this ultimately lower the cost of conducting the necessary research, but teams can also complete several studies in a matter of weeks rather than months. Year-round social listening and monitoring capabilities provide insight into real-time conversations on digital platforms, enabling teams to keep an eye on the ongoing pharmaceutical sector activities and market discussions to drive precise messaging.
Challenge: a shift toward more specialized therapies
Why are biopharmaceuticals in high demand? These medicines can offer personalized and precise treatment and offer the potential to develop a medicine that can cure formerly incurable conditions, including rare diseases. Rare disease drugs and specialty therapeutics accounted for more than half of pharmacy spending in 2020.
This influx of more specialized treatments involves increased exploration of the merits of biopharmaceutical vs. pharmaceutical treatments. Pharma commercial teams need a better understanding of niche disease states, patient populations, and products to target the right stakeholders and achieve launch success. Where commercial teams once relied on a highly standardized process to bring a drug product to market, they must now be more tailored in their approach.
Solution: better understand disease communities
Here again, insights management technology offers solutions. Network analytics provide a way for pharma commercial teams to get a deeper and more precise view of a disease community and its thought leaders and influencers.
Challenge: less in-person face time with HCPs
The pandemic put an immediate, if temporary, stop to most in-person interactions. Suddenly, pharma commercial teams were deprived of the opportunity to meet with HCPs one-on-one and gather all-important insights to move their strategy forward.
Most teams turned to virtual engagement – either real-time video meetings or asynchronous discussions – to continue collecting comprehensive insights. When the ability to meet in person returned, pharma companies discovered that many HCPs now preferred to continue meeting virtually – or at least to have the option to do so. After several months of controlling travel and day-to-day scheduling, HCPs wanted to retain more influence over their time. Pharma commercial teams must now equip themselves with a way to offer these stakeholders more options and “meet them where they are” to continue benefiting from their expertise.
Solution: identify the right HCPs and engage them effectively
Network analytics also plays a role in solving this pharma marketing challenge to improve drug launch strategy. Commercial teams can ensure they’re talking to the right people – those who are likely to be receptive to their message – and engage them via asynchronous discussions. While in-person visits from pharma reps are not a thing of the past, many physicians and healthcare professionals would prefer digital interaction all or some of the time. When teams have the tools to offer these options, their interactions can be more productive and timely before and at launch.
Modern insights management
These complex challenges require time and organizational agility to solve. Fortunately, insights management technology can address them with minimum disruption. According to McKinsey, a set of linked imperatives create the conditions for a successful product launch – including analytics-enabled engagement:
Facilitate personalized engagement via tools that support reps’ decision-making, integrate user feedback, enable the optimization of channels and content mix, and foster continuous learning.
Ready to learn more about insights management? Start with our blog series.