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The shift to digital: Omnichannel execution with pharma sales

In this latest article, we examine the shift in adopting new digital technologies within the pharmaceutical sector and the benefits they can provide. It also looks at the journey of introducing this within the sector compared to other industries based on observations from Compass Life Sciences.

The need for adopting to new digital technologies

For a number of years now, the pharmaceutical sector has been in the process of trying to align itself with increasing digitisation channels and looking at new ways of engaging with the broader Life Sciences industry as a whole. When the COVID-19 pandemic materialised in 2020, many industries had to essentially adapt to new ways of working almost overnight to counteract the challenges they were now facing. The pharmaceutical sector was no exception and has seen a digital transformation that has accelerated advancements within the industry by more than five years.

A rise in the uptake and confidence in the use of digital technologies such as cloud computing and cybersecurity helped the industry adopt remote working and perform decentralised clinical trials. Companies need to adopt digital technologies according to their business needs to ensure they develop a robust digital transformation strategy before investing in new technologies. With the increase in technological investments, the industry has seen a shift in the strategies for omnichannel execution.

Post-pandemic changes

The view on this from regulators and rule makers was forced to modernise by making decision points more efficiently and faster. This has in part enabled the acceleration of new platforms and technologies to both bring drugs to market faster, enable better recruitment (Diversity) into clinical trials (Decentralised and remote studies) and also leverage more powerful analysis of data using advancements in AI, Machine Learning and Digitisation creating cost efficiencies and time savings.

Pre-pandemic, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies have been lagging behind other industries in providing an omnichannel experience since face-to-face communications are beneficial as part of the overall service delivery. Although most businesses have begun to increase online services, many consumers still use traditional channels when interacting with them, for a variety of reasons.

The argument for taking an omnichannel approach

Pharma and healthcare marketing notoriously rely on complex customer journeys. This has never been the case more than now, with increasing customer expectations of omnichannel decision-making and changes to the industry in a post-COVID world.

While pharma lags behind other industries, channels to engage HCPs are proliferating, and the line between online and offline engagement is rapidly blurring. Being accustomed to the variety of digital channels and information outside their time in patient care, HCPs are increasingly expecting content from pharma companies that is directly relevant and tailored to their practice and patients.

Omnichannel execution refers to a sales strategy in which a company uses multiple channels to interact with customers and provide a seamless customer experience. In the pharmaceutical industry, omnichannel execution can be particularly beneficial because it allows companies to reach and engage with customers in a variety of ways, including through in-person sales calls, email, phone, and online channels.

Four potential benefits of omnichannel execution within pharma sales include

  • Improved customer experience:

Omnichannel execution can help to improve the customer experience by providing customers with multiple ways to interact with a company and access information about its products. This can be particularly helpful for customers who may prefer one communication method over another, such as email or phone.

  • Increased sales:

By providing customers with multiple ways to learn about and purchase products, companies may be able to increase their sales and reach a wider customer base.

  • Enhanced customer loyalty:

Omnichannel execution can also help to enhance customer loyalty by providing a consistent and personalized customer experience across all channels. This can help build trust and strengthen the company’s and its customers’ relationship.

  • Improved data collection and analysis:

Omnichannel execution can also help companies collect and analyse data from multiple sources, providing valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences. This information can be used to inform marketing and sales strategies and improve the overall effectiveness of a company’s sales efforts.

Conclusion

Having the consumer central to the strategy enables a clearer understanding of their requirements; the Omnichannel solution enables this to be delivered upon in a targeted and progressive relationship that can flex based on the consumer journey and decision or endpoints.

References

  • Pharmaceutical Technology, (2021) COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation of the pharma industry by five years: Poll, Pharmaceutical Technology. URL:¬† https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/news/covid-19-accelerated-digital-transformation-of-the-pharma-industry-by-five-years-poll/
  • Chaffey, D., (2021) What is omnichannel Pharma?, Smart Insights, URL: https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/what-is-omnichannel-pharma/
  • Chan, R., et al, (2022), Demystifying the omnichannel commercial model for pharma companies in Asia, McKinsey & Company. URL: https://www.mckinsey.com/jp/en/our-insights/demystifying-the-omnichannel-commercial-model-for-pharma-companies-in-asia
  • Anthill Agency, (2021), Omnichannel in pharma: meaning, strategy and best practice, Anthill Agency. URL: https://www.anthillagency.com/omnichannel-pharma-guide#:~:text=In%20other%20words%2C%20omnichannel%20enables,interests%20in%20a%20disease%20area