February 17, 2015
Alternative promotional models in pharma: do you have the right one?
The traditional sales rep model faces a myriad of challenges due to regulations and barriers imposed by physician associations, or institutions. Alternative promotional models have been developed to overcome these barriers and to be more cost-effective. This month’s meeting showcased an expert panel who shared how alternative promotional models can achieve success by breaking out of the mold.
The meeting was facilitated by Enza Cignarella, Director of Strategic Operations, Oncology Novartis who started the meeting by saying that pharma’s idea of a “business model” is often thought to be associated with how sales reps promote, but in fact it’s how pharma makes money. She pointed out that many companies have changed the way they make money, such as Walmart, Costco and Starbucks. She showed a very interesting video clip entitled “Rise of the Machines” by Dr. Eric Topol, which showed the way of the future with medicine, such as medical devices that use mobile technology and biosensors.
The first speaker of the evening was Paul Abbass, Principal of Légitimed, who pointed out that the challenge in pharma is no different than it’s always been - reaching high value customers with meaningful content in a sustainable way. In order to do this, companies need to ask themselves: what is our value proposition? To change the way messages are delivered, companies need to look for opportunities to integrate a multi-method approach with new ideas and methods. Three simple questions can put companies on the right path to developing integrated strategies, which are:
Paul left the audience with the following thoughts:
The second speaker of the evening was Ian Wombwell, Manager of Strategic Accounts at Roche Canada. Roche found that there was an organizational “gap” between sales reps and government relations and in between where the product meets the patient. In order to address this gap, Roche has developed Strategic Account Managers (SAMs) and key account managers (KAMs), in addition to regular sales reps. He outlined a number of differences between them, one of them being that the core strategy for reps and KAMs is product selling, and for SAMs, it’s integrated partnerships. Ian added that many healthcare companies are moving towards account management and experimenting with it.
He left the audience with a number of “principles from the trenches” on how to make SAM work for your business:
The last speaker was Joel Erickson, Vice President of Ashfield Healthcare Canada Inc., and he spoke about how the traditional sales model is under significant pressure in Canada to change. The new commercial model offers many sources of information for healthcare professionals and we are constantly trying to achieve better results using these sources. He pointed out that face-to-face contact with sales reps is still the most widely-used and preferred channel, but also the most costly. However, many different types of reps exist now, such as specialty, customer service, KAMs, nurses, MSLs, etc. Companies are trying to find the right balance, based on business needs, and ensure that they work in an integrated and complimentary fashion. Joel suggested that there is a need to have a layered multi-channel mix of communication, using the plethora of sources that are available, and integrate them to achieve exponential results.
Joel provided his stages in the evolution of multi-channel offerings:
The evening finished with a Q&A session with the panel, which is outlined below.
Enza summarized what had been learned from tonight’s session, calling it her “4 Is”, which were: innovation, incremental, iterative and integration.
Be sure to join us for next month’s meeting for an exciting meeting on the Power of Emotion in Marketing!
Presentation (PDF 3.10 MB)
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