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. 


A new reality in Commercial Excellence

How COVID-19 has accelerated digitalization

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


Basically, it boils down to this…

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.

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For many pharma organizations, it has for some time been a vision to increase the efficiency of their commercial engagement efforts by having sales reps drive engagements with HCPs using digital communication platforms. COVID-19 has accelerated the change process more than anyone would have ever imagined, and one can of course only speculate, but I believe that this, to some extent, will be the new normal. So it's not a question of “waiting it out” but a question of “how fast can we get moving.
Rasmus Olesen
Senior Manager at Intellishore

How to succeed with your digital transformation?

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1. Integrating your new platform
Remember the old “crap in crap out” saying? If the foundation does not support your end-goal then your data becomes worthless. This is your chance to ensure a data quality that supports your insight generation process (without too much data wrangling and discrepancies). And first step is to understand the technical tracking & extraction setup to ensure a data quality that allows you to merge with other commercial data.
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2. Understanding data and insight need
New platforms enable new opportunities to track and measure. Ultimately generating new data, which can be turned into new insights that drive decision-making processes. But first you need to understand two things: 1) the end-user's need for insights, and 2) the data needed to generate those insights. These 2 points are imperative if you want to harness the full potential of your digital customer journey.
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3. Adjusting your targets
There have been drastic changes in ways of working and types of engagement within Pharma & Life Science. These changes also mean new or adjusted targets for both marketing and sales activities. And even if the COVID-19 situation is slowly stabilizing, it is essential to adjust your commercial targets and adding/improving new ways of measuring your commercial efforts.

The digital tomorrow of Pharma Commercial Excellence

Our perspective on what the future holds

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.


Book an inspiration session with our consultants

If you want inspiration or practical advice for how to manage the new digital tomorrow of commercial excellence then join our next virtual knowledge sharing session or reach out to one of our experienced consultants within Pharma & Life Science.
Rasmus Olesen
Senior Manager
Shankar Ralhan
Head of Strategy & Transformation