HCP’s engagement with pharma companies was once devoted to in-person interactions with sales reps. These were often quick meetings that put physicians in contact with a brand’s products. Yet, the digital era came, and all changed.
Information consumption and buying habits have changed since the advent of the World Wide Web. This allied to the growing busy schedules of HCP pressured by the everchanging circumstances in the industry. Thus, digital options had to be sought to adapt HCP engagement.
In-person interactions became complementary to email, virtual conferences, and website engagement. This contributed to the rise and increasing adoption of the blended approach.
Continue to read to learn more about this new model in HCP engagement.
Blended Approach in HCP Engagement
A blended approach is the combination of traditional and digital practices. Interactions focus on continuous engagement within a digital multichannel program in action. Where face-to-face still plays a complementary role.
This approach to HCP engagement is then all about embracing digital channels. They are complementary, resourceful channels of communication to traditional in-person interactions.
“This combination drives sales growth more effectively and has dramatic impacts on resource efficiency.” – Veeva, Guide to Digital HCP Engagement
Journey into Pharma
The blended HCP approach is a result of the growing omnichannel marketing trend. This and the customer-centric approach have entered into B2B-led Pharma.
The pharmaceutical industry long relied on in-person interactions with HCP. It was the traditional way to foster long-lasting relationships. In fact, in the years before the pandemic, 64% of meetings between sales reps and physicians were physical (Accenture). The industry relied more on B2B marketing and direct communication with the HCP not as a consumer, but as an “institution”.
The Internet and the growth of digital channels made physicians’ content habits change. Over half of practising physicians are digital natives who seek online search engines as their first resource for learning or obtaining information. So, buying journeys have changed, and so have relationships with brands.
COVID-19 has further aggravated the industry’s digital shift. It made pharma companies adapt to the new circumstances in the field. At the same time, they respond to the needs and preferences of their key stakeholders, namely HCP.
Physicians have busier schedules and feel pressured by the growing demands from patients. So they sought alternatives that allowed them to continue their education in an inclusive environment. This has forced pharma brands to shift their perception of HCP. So they started perceiving them as digital users looking for meaningful experiences.
It was here that Omnichannel marketing and customer-centric came to play. Physicians wanted, and still want to receive content at the right place and time at their utmost convenience. They are consumers, who have their unique preferences and needs. So, for a successful engagement, it is important to consider this and move on with an inclusive approach, such as that of the blended.
Here communication comes through using:
- In-person meetings;
- Virtual meetings…
Learn more about how to optimize your omnichannel marketing, here.
Fundamentals – How does it work?
The blended approach moves on with an Omnichannel integration of communication. This can be made over different platforms and practices. Especially ones where email, remote and face-to-face interactions take place.
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By implementing an inclusive communication strategy, sales reps can better target HCP. While providing them with the necessary information and educational value they need.
These are the 3 main benefits of a blended approach:
In a blended approach, sales reps have the benefit of following up on information provided in face-to-face interactions. This can is achieved, for instance, through scheduled virtual meetings. We recommend you adopt a personalized service here.
In a blended approach, sales can follow up on information provided in person. Virtual meetings are a good tool. As here reps can personalize service.
With less time restraint, virtual meetings increase HCP engagement. In-person interactions last on average 6 minutes. Yet, these models of meetings can be as long as 18 minutes in the EU (Veeva).
By having more time with the HCP, sales reps can better study the physician’s needs. Maximizing, in that way, engagement and education on the value of your products. For instance, some pharma companies have started to do it through video. In only three minutes, they share insight into a product and its MOA (mechanism of action). While targetting the HCP’s specific needs and questions.
Supported by a multichannel digital program, the blended approach is cost-effective. HCP are not only approached in person. So, sales reps can continue communication. For instance, through email and website, enlarging, in that way, reach.
Sending material as a follow-up potentiates the physician’s receptibility to your content. If you display a strong, personalized presence, your company can experience growth. Sales, in specific, can increase as much as 15%. Thus, decreasing the cost of interaction.
Seamless Customer Experience
By providing personalized service of continuing engagement, you can meet customers’ needs. In that way, you offer a seamless customer experience that can be meaningful and valuable.
HCP see more patients each day. And, each day they encounter new information and advancements in the field. So, it is important to consider, the digital platforms you desire to use. Companies should strive to choose platforms that support the sales reps’ needs. While they do not force the HCP to install new, arduous software.
Through a blended approach, you further have the opportunity to collect valuable data. Such will allow you to know what are the specific interests of your customers. And, in that way, personalize your meetings so you can provide a seamless experience.
What to keep in mind…
Consumers’, namely HCP, content consumption habits are volatile to change. Yet, without a doubt, the digital shift is here to stay. Physicians now communicate with other fellow practitioners, patients, and brands through several devices. Digital gadgets are now a natural part of the landscape of their workspace.
It’s important to look into the future knowing that it is vital to strive to target these key stakeholders. More than that, to target them in the right place and time, through the right channels. There is no better way to do it, than through a blended approach that is comprehensive and engaging.