The new era of pharmaceutical digital marketing is coming, and the weakest link in pharma marketing is getting an upgrade – pharma sales reps. However, is pharmaceutical digital marketing really the new sales rep or can the two coexist peacefully?

Let’s find out what the newest advancements in digital mean for the declining sales representative force.

Physicians don’t like to be met in person

If you’ve noticed that your sales reps have a hard time getting through physicians’ doors, you’re not alone. All over the world, the rep-accessible physician is becoming a rare sight. To be rep-accessible, a physician has to see more than 70% of reps who attempt to come in for a visit.

The shift is already happening

As stated in research by ZS, 53% of all marketing efforts to physicians happens without sales force involved. In fact, for the first time in almost a decade, they’ve found that the number of digital interactions has surpassed those by sales representatives.

However, that doesn’t mean that the current methods of digital engagement in pharma are any good. At the moment, physicians receive thousands of contacts from pharma companies annually, through various digital and non-personal promotion channels.

Surely, that doesn’t seem all that bad until you realize that it’s one contact per working hour per physician. Understandably, HCPs get overloaded with digital promotion as well, and it’s getting harder to stand out from the crowd if your pharma company is simply doing what everyone else is already attempting to do.

Even conferences are going online

One of the top methods for doctors to stay updated with the latest in their therapeutic area are conferences. However, they have a wide range of drawbacks, primarily the costs, both for the organizers and the attending physicians. For pharma brands in particular, justifying the ROI on conferences is a problem because getting physicians’ attention during and after presentations has proven to be extremely difficult.

On the other hand, there has been a notable increase in online conferences, seminars and presentations. Webinars have been a marketing staple of many industries for quite a while now, and pharma is catching up.

Besides the savings in cost and time, webinar as a platform has another major benefit for physicians – convenience. While there are numerous live webinars (KOLs and physicians have to tune in at a certain time), evergreen webinars are a novel way of bringing the conference atmosphere without forcing them to present in a certain location at a certain time.

Evergreen webinars can be played on demand, without diminishing the value of a traditional conference. That way, physician can take time off from their day when they want to learn about the latest product and research behind it – without taking a week off to fly to a conference.

Sales reps can use webinars and online conferencing as a way to provide value to physicians, so they can have conference-like experiences without spending time and resources.

Physicians are always mobile

It’s hard to find a person these days who’s not staring at their phone all of the time. Whether it’s for work or leisure, we spend significant time during the day using our phones, and physicians are no different.

Thanks to a wide range of health apps and patient communication tools, physicians’ use of smartphones for professional purposes is on the rise constantly – it’s 81% according to latest research. And out of those physicians who use their phones at work, more than 60% of them check their phones more than 10 times daily.

For sales reps, the use of mobile does not pose a danger – they should embrace it and use it to amplify their efforts. For example, they can put more emphasis on digital communications channels such as email since physicians are more likely to open and check them on their phones.

Emails are not the only type of content – it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve consistently used video to help our pharma company clients out in maximizing their reach and share of voice. By creating videos that sales reps can share with physicians, they can send them to their phones for easy access.

It’s a shot to show something new

Over half of the time, physicians state that reps show them data they’ve already seen, whether it’s through research they did on their own or another rep encounter. Pharmaceutical digital marketing allows reps to show new, engaging content instead of putting out the same information physicians already know.

As mentioned, reps can use video for a wide range of applications – showing a product’s mode of action, a medical guideline or show off the results of the latest scientific publication.

Not only will reps be able to show brand new information, they’ll be able to share it in a new format that physicians appreciate and can use even the rep visit is over.

Help out your sales rep force with pharmaceutical digital marketing methods

If you’re looking for a way to help your sales reps use pharmaceutical digital marketing to maximize their efforts, we have some tools to make your job easier. We’ve created PubExplainer so you can have an engaging way to show off your latest scientific publications in the form of medical explainer videos. In our case studies, we’ve shown ways that pharma companies have used them as a help for their sales teams. If you want to see how they can benefit your pharma company as well, reach out to us.

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