Managing Chaos and Change Through a Pandemic

Two main focus areas for pharmaceutical companies are finding ways to sell and market products efficiently to customers as well as manage fraud and compliance issues that may come up. Pharma Industry executives spoke at our recent Synergistix 2021 Webinar Series and addressed these topics of focus. This blog outlines industry insights that they provided.

Data-Driven Sales and Marketing

Often, we need a crisis to encourage us to make changes we have been considering for a long time. Before the pandemic, a pharmaceutical company had been considering a digital portal for some time, but the time never seemed right. When the pandemic changed the way that Pharmaceutical companies and doctors communicated, this company adapted to a new way of virtual sales including the startup of virtual sales reps, digital portal use and the implementation of a data-driven marketing strategy. Pharmaceutical companies have begun reaching out to customers directly through paid search, celebrity endorsements and streaming videos. Companies are analyzing their marketing decisions moving forward by driving results through customer behavior data such as click-throughs and Google Searches.

In our example, this particular pharmaceutical company had a slight drop in sales throughout the move from field sales to digital sales, even though the transition happened quickly. However, this company saved significantly more than it lost because it no longer needed to pay travel expenses for the field sales reps. It is not unreasonable to expect that companies will continue this virtual strategy to some extent post-pandemic.

Monitoring Fraud

Another pharmaceutical executive who spoke at the Synergistix 2021 Virtual Webinar Series stated that the key to effective fraud protection is to check processes regularly and tweak those processes and internal controls as needed to fill any security gaps to minimize fraud risks. Additionally, this practice of tweaking these processes often saves pharmaceutical companies money. One example of these processes include shipping to sales reps. Ensuring reps acknowledge the samples within twenty days is important as doctors may not need the samples if they do not acknowledge them in a timely manner. Companies can save money by neglecting to send samples that may not be needed.

Having a system in place to monitor transactions and processes is important as well. Eliminating risk is critical, but it is important to align processes to ensure consistency across all stakeholders. Companies need to implement tools and policies for keeping track of new hires and terminations, assuring the timely return of unused samples and auditing reps’ electronic signatures every nine months. This system is not used for punitive reasons; rather the systems are used to help reps stay in compliance, although situations might occur where that is appropriate.

Annual training and continual coaching can help reps change bad habits. One example stated by a speaker at the Synergistix 2021 Webinar Series included encouraging reps who have trouble counting samples to count twice and record once. Audits are a key part of the process as well.

Key Takeaways

  • Converting to a virtual sales force can save money in travel expenses with little or no revenue loss.
  • Using data to drive marketing decisions can pay big dividends.
  • Fraud and compliance monitoring are essential, especially in sample receipt procedures.
  • Yearly training and ongoing coaching can help plug gaps between what your policy says and what reps actually do with samples.
  • Team members must block time in their calendars for audits

We Can Help

Synergistix can help you manage both of these key issues. We can help you make the switch to virtual sales teams and provide you with the information you need to make innovative marketing decisions regardless of whether you use field or virtual reps. We also provide sample accountability services. Contact us online or at (866) 732-8665.