The pandemic has disrupted traditional engagement models and has forced pharmaceutical companies to turn omnichannel wishful thinking into actions, in a matter of months. Many have indeed hastily acted, which has resulted in:

  • A precipitous blind faith in data, lack of focus in strategy design and implementation;
  • HCPs being overwhelmed by emails and webinars invites;
  • The pharmaceutical salesforce being asked to transmute into hybrid overnight;
  • Omnichannel strategies falling short of their goals.

Now that the dust begins to settle, it is time to take stock of the situation and understand our new challenges. These are the two main challenges the industry is facing:

A. HCPs getting disengaged. How to improve connection?

B. Teams are confused and losing motivation. How to keep them engaged and well-coordinated, and maximize efficiency?

And here is what we have learned at A Piece of Pie on how to face these challenges.

1. Achieve an accurate understanding of customers, beyond digital behavior.

Most companies believe that mapping customers’ digital behavior and identifying their level of digital inclination is a key element in designing an optimized omnichannel customer experience.

Although digital profiling is important, it only captures digital behavior data, which results in getting an inadequate and incomplete picture of the HCPs, obstructing a relevant connection.

For instance, an HCP might be categorized as having a low digital footprint because she doesn’t open sender emails. However, she might indeed be very digitally active, and the reason for her low digital response is that she is highly efficient, and only opens strictly relevant emails.

To understand customers’ preferences and make the most of our connection, we need to go beyond observed digital behavior and understand what really drives their actions, both offline and online.

People’s decisions and behavior are driven by emotional needs. Understanding which needs are prevalent in which people will help us understand the true reasons behind their actions, actual needs, and preferences.

2. Transform data into tangible Personas that provide focus.

Many companies believe that profile segmentation becomes superfluous once you can use machine learning for targeted personalization. However, relying on machine learning alone might prove counterproductive: without a strong initial focus, we might overwhelm our customers with randomized and unsolicited information, turning them away before we can even begin mapping their preferences.

Profile segmentation, if done well, can help us prevent this. Solid personas are based on a thorough understanding of the reasons behind HCPs’ personal, medical, and digital behavior. They allow us to focus our strategy on our customers’ real needs and preferences — from the very start — guaranteeing better engagement and powering machine learning results for personalized content.

To ensure the success of a segmentation, your teams must be able to understand it and relate to it. The more realistic, convincing, and relatable your profiles are, the easier it will be for your teams to recognize them, empathize and emotionally engage with them. When you hear a sales representative say, “I know a lot of physicians who are exactly like that!”, that’s a sign that your segmentation is working.

3. Keep it simple

When faced with complex challenges, it may be tempting to appeal to proportionally elaborate conceptual frameworks and deliver equally intricate solution roadmaps. However, overintellectualizing might slow us down and make us lose momentum.

Once we have managed to get our teams onboard and got them to interiorize the needs of different customers, we should seize the moment and give them simple, actionable frameworks to make sense of the Personas and seamlessly turn ideas into action.

Our frameworks, language, and tools should be as slender as possible, simplified, and relatable so that teams can easily process information, without unnecessary complexity and confusion.

4. Put your teams at the center

The successful implementation of your strategy depends entirely on your teams’ capacity to work with it. Going too fast, without getting your teams onboard, might render all previous efforts useless.

We have seen many cases in which pharmaceutical companies do not dedicate enough resources to helping their teams assimilate new Personas and empathize with them for real customer-centricity. The result is that teams do not change their mindset, fall back into old habits, and true change does not happen.

A thorough, dedicated and engaging co-creation process is a must to keep your teams involved and motivated, break inertia, and ensure the implementation of change.