Many assume speaking face-to-face with physicians is the best way for pharmaceutical reps to introduce their products and learn their targeted audience’s needs. While meeting doctors in person does hold obvious benefits, pharmaceutical companies must employ other channels and strategies – especially in light of recent trends.
Medical Marketing and Media shared the results of a ZS Associates survey that found more doctors restrict access to all sales reps. According to the marketing consultant’s 2007 reports, 20 percent of physicians had rules against meeting with pharma reps. In 2014, that number climbed to 54 percent. Researchers suggest this preference toward restricting in-person meetings won’t end anytime soon.
To contend with these new obstacles, pharmaceutical companies should invest in new solutions – especially ones that take advantage of modern health industry trends – instead of falling victim to them.
First of all, pharmaceutical companies must recognize restricting access doesn’t mean reps can never get in to see doctors. MedPage Today described how some physicians will set limits on when and how long they meet with pharma reps. An effective strategy may be to reevaluate personal pitches and create multiple methods for different time frames. It may also be smart to treat meetings as introductions and continue engagements on other channels.
“Two-third of medical practitioners prefer to be contacted through email.”
The ZS Associates survey discovered doctors who won’t meet with sales rep in person will sometimes be open to conversations on other channels. This corresponds with a recent HealthLink Dimensions survey which found over two-thirds of medical practitioners prefer to be contacted through email over other communication options. Another interesting trend discovered by the research is the growing popularity of social media as a business channel, with 58 percent of physicians acknowledging the value of the platform and planning to implement it into regular communications in the future.
When pharmaceutical reps face obstacles to physician access, they need to work with the given restrictions. Adapting to a doctor’s preferences demonstrates how a company is willing to acknowledge needs and operate as a convenient partner.
Being restricted from doctors may not mean a pharmaceutical company is being denied access from a sale. Physicians may not be the decision-makers marketers should aim for, FierceMarkets suggested while referring to the latest findings from QuantiaMD research. In a survey of 3,000 doctors, 40 percent said they never see sales reps. The majority of them said it was because their hospitals had rules against it.
The good news is that in major medical organizations physicians don’t meet pharma reps because they are not the ones choosing prescription providers. The Wall Street Journal said more doctors are part of big hospitals than previous years and that decisions about pharmaceuticals are made by administrators. In response to this shift in medical positions, marketers now employ more sales agents to talk to hospital staff with different concerns than doctors.
Identifying the needs of a target audience helps marketing content make personal appeals. Administrators may care more about the organization’s bottom line and email messages should reflect their demands.
As doctors change career paths or alter their communication terms, their contact data also changes. Marketers need to apply data append and data cleansing services to keep their records up to date and relevant with trends. Central marketing software should demonstrate where doctors can be found and when, while email address segmentation ensures the right message reaches the appropriate audience.
Working with a dependable source of data is a must as pharmaceutical marketers launch innovative tactics. It may be best to partner with a medical email marketing service that can provide consistent data management assistance. When contact records are reliable, marketers can accurately measure the success of current best practice, new channels and audience expansion.