Interactions before COVID-19 in healthcare were very distinct from what we see today. Nowadays, many HCPs prefer hybrid or virtual interactions with patients and other contacts.
This means that pharma sales reps have a different role now than the one they used to. How can they get in touch with healthcare professionals in a growing digital reality?
What do HCPs want from pharma sales reps nowadays?
In 2020, virtual engagement with pharma companies was permanent. Not only that, but it required new techniques to keep communications human in a sense.
Many HCPs took note of the restrictions. Some of them these days either have a restriction on who can meet with them for professional matters. Others made it clear that virtual meetings have a bigger advantage in that regard.
Pharma sales reps made an effort during this period to adapt to digital reality. Yet, some of them are still struggling to find the real point of connection between them and their contacts.
Not that HCPs are closed to new proposals from reps. They want them to have a better understanding of their real needs and expectations in the aftermath of the pandemic. This is the perfect moment for pharma to take a slight step back. The goal is to help their sales teams know how they can engage with HCPs.
There are a series of questions that pharma reps should consider before using a digital strategy. Below we’ve gathered five important questions for sales reps to ask their teams. The purpose is to create an engaging flow between them and their audience.
#1: What do all the people in the audience have in common?
Each HCP is different in a way. Not only in their area of specialization. We’re also talking in regard to professional challenges, personal goals, and preferred channels of communication. Of course, analyzing each profile would take a lot of time, but the good news is that there’s a better way.
By creating a persona based on general data and relevant features common to the audience of a sales team, one can idealize the type of client to whom to speak. Here, sales can request help from the marketing team. These are the team members who are more likely to know the profile of this specific customer.
Creating a persona is possible by looking at a series of questions on the HCP sales interactions. It’s a matter of asking questions such as:
- What do they all have in common
- Their aspirations in a professional and personal context
- What are their digital habits
- Their preferred channels of communication online
- What are the most common areas of expertise from the HCPs on your list
By gaining a better understanding of these elements, you can idealize a model of engagement that can suit the majority of your contacts. Not only can you identify several common pain points, but you can also adhere to the channels preferred by HCPs.
#2: What do your contacts need?
To establish meaningful contact with an HCP, there has to be a point to said contact. Pharma companies are adjusting to this increasing customer-centricity, as time marches on.
The truth is that HCPs want to have better access to content that can both help them and their patients. Especially if these contents provide valuable remote support.
Contents that HCPs look for daily and that pharma can provide them with can be found in examples such as follows:
- Tips and hints for digital patient education;
- Changes in treatment options in a post-COVID-19 era;
- Indications for treating patients remotely;
- Information to help patients manage their conditions in light of COVID-19;
- New solutions that can help patients keep stock of therapies.
If your pharma company can provide these types of content in any fashion to HCPs, then your sales team has a good starting point for a conversation. If you’re still not sure about your audience’s real needs, ask them. A general inquiry can be very revealing about real people’s feelings and necessities.
#3: What type of content can engage with your audience?
As soon as you pick the categories, next is the time to pick the means for communicating the topics. The good news is that the digital spectrum has provided biotech and pharma companies with a wide range of formats.
Nowadays brands can engage with audiences online through video content, web pages, creative images, infographics, blog posts, and more. In a way, digital environments can be a great asset in telling your story in a compelling and modern fashion.
Using automated communication, you can provide your HCP contacts with content that’s not only relevant to them but also adds value to your interactions.
#4: How can you show that you take your audience’s time seriously?
Sales reps have to know well how critical it is to not waste the audience’s time. In the case of HCPs, they tend to value their time a lot, so you must make it count. The ideal tactic is to have at hand content that can address their needs or pain points.
In digital interactions make sure you have links to clinical and medical pieces of information. All of them need to be ready to support your conversation.
Before having a meeting with an HCP, make sure that the sales team has a variety of content collections. They need to focus on their area of expertise, as well as based on the aforementioned persona model.
#5: What can you show as proof to your audience?
Lastly, data analytics will speak volumes about the efficiency of your digital engagement strategy. These facts will help you take a look at all your actions and determine what’s working and what needs adjustments.
The best part is that through detailed analysis, you can determine what content formats or topics resonate better with HCPs in your list. Through metrics such as downloads, views, and shares you can have a clearer picture of the content that counts.
You have an insight into the content that is more suited for your sales teams to share. Not only that but also be able to apply that learning to future virtual meetings and impact content decisions. Digital marketing provides a variety of engagement opportunities for you and your sales team to explore. So it’s a matter of testing and then adjusting.
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