Disclaimer: This post was written from a Pharma ComEx perspective but may parallels can be drawn to other B2B organizations with long and complex customer journeys.
Overnight, COVID-19 has changed the way the pharmaceutical industry approaches its marketing and sales processes. Sales representatives are not allowed to visit HCP’s (Health Care Professionals) face to face and have therefore needed to find and implement new ways of achieving the same meaningful interactions. Ultimately, resulting in a transition from physical interactions with HCPs to digital interactions (such as e-detailing and webinars).
This transition has pushed for much closer collaboration between marketing and sales. Marketing is often the primary owner of digital communication platforms and now sales are becoming more dependent on those platforms than ever before. But the dependency goes beyond access rights and the technical foundation. The integration of new digital platforms and increased digital activity has also led to a greater need for end-to-end commercial processes to be aligned in order to plan and measure the impact of an increasingly digital customer journey.
New platforms = New data = New insight needs
If you integrate a new digital communication platform to interact with your customers, this will ultimately provide you with data previously not available, resulting in a new insight need from the sales representatives, digital marketers, or other commercial functions in your organization. This is fairly simple. The tricky part is; integrating new systems and work processes that are aligned and anchored with the current work processes. Both in terms of setting up tags in your new webinar tool and when extracting the data in order to merge and relate it to data from your 7 other digital communication platforms. Because in the end, this is what you really want to achieve. The ability to compare data across all touchpoints and track how individual HCP’s are progressing in the customer journey. And ultimately purchasing your products and being a great advocate for your brand and products.
As previously mentioned, many organizations were already embarking on a journey towards a more digital outset in commercial excellence, and COVID-19 has merely been an accelerating force. However, we believe that there are valuable opportunities to capture through an increasingly digital environment, which ultimately can strengthen the quality and increase the efficiency of your commercial efforts.
The digital channels can provide a clear overview and transparency in the way units work together. Workstreams can be re-imagined and enable a new and smooth process when interacting with customers. The transparency and collaboration between marketing and sales can and should lead to less siloed performance tracking & reporting and ensure business activities are more closely aligned with the commercial business objectives. If the commercial business units succeed in collaborating and providing full transparency of their efforts, the insights could provide highly efficient decision-making tools and boost future growth.
Lastly, one central aspect to remember moving forward on your digital journey. The goal is still to provide the best possible platform for achieving valuable engagements with customers. It is about strengthening existing customer relationships or building new customer relationships. This should always be the driving force for digitizing your commercial efforts. Hence, the customer experience must always be the central part when designing customer journeys. Therefore, you must remember to continuously evaluate the impact of the new digital reality to ensure channels are driving valuable engagements.