As we’ve written before, the role of a pharma sales rep is undergoing some necessary changes. Sales reps won’t disappear any time soon – instead they will learn to adapt. Especially with the rise of multichannel, reps need to familiarize themselves with a host of different channels to deliver the ultimate experience for increasingly busy HCPs.

Here’s how sales reps will use multichannel in the future to improve the pharma marketing process.

Data-driven decisions

Instead of blindly calling, emailing and visiting physicians, the rep of the future will be able to make educated decisions at each step of the multichannel journey. With digital multichannel marketing, reps can use data to decide when they contact which physician and through which channels.

Is today’s pharma marketing really multichannel?

As mentioned, pharma companies left and right have been touting their efforts to go from analogue to multichannel to increase their engagement and share of voice and push the envelope when it comes to bettering their digital presence.

In reality, things aren’t really as what pharma companies would have you believe. Some time ago, Across Health did a research asking physicians instead of pharma company representatives about their experience with multichannel marketing.

As it turns out, 48% of physicians have single channel experiences, where reps contact them through a single channel, with little to no use of digital. When it comes to true multichannel, just 6% of HCPS state they have engagement on the rep level (calls and visits), rep email level and remote engagement. As research concludes, email is the most popular channel for pharma brands at 43% of total use, compared to a low 12% for remote engagement.

Why multichannel is on the rise

Even the biggest opponents of MCM have to face the facts – today’s physicians were born and raised in the digital age. According to research, 70% of HCPs will have been medicine students by 2020. Clearly, this generation of healthcare professionals has been brought up and educated online and is used to digital channels of communication. While in-person rep visits still hold a lot of value, digital wins purely for the sake of convenience.

However, the digital-first physician is not a reality – yet. That means that multichannel strategies of today have to adapt to the behavior of older HCPs actively working.

In a nutshell, the major benefit of MCM is the ability to reach physicians through their preferred channels, instead of forcing communication through only one where pharma companies focus their attention. In data from one research it was shown that 13% of physicians who meet reps also engage with pharma brands through other channels, mostly digital and non-personal.

What will the rep of the future do with multichannel marketing in pharma?

The first part of success in the new world of multichannel is data – gathering it, interpreting and learning from it. The role of the sales rep in the ever-changing world of MCM will adapt to physician behavior and preferences.

For example, at the moment 75% of physicians older than the age of 50 stay in the loop with pharma marketing efforts through the use of sales reps. On the other hand, 59% of physicians below the age of 35 are reached through reps. Data consistently shows that the older the physician target group, the higher the preference for in-person visits.

When it comes to email, there are no drastic differences. For all age groups, whether under 35 or 50+, the percentage of physicians that get approached through email ranges around the steady number of 43-45%.

Remote detailing, as it may have been expected, has the most impressive impact in the category of younger physicians, but they have significant results with the older groups as well. Quoting meeting times as the biggest inconvenience, many HCPs prefer remote detailing than in-office visits. Finally, 90% of remote detailing participants take parts in similar meetings more than once.

Conclusions

The role of a sales rep in multi channel marketing in pharma is going to change considerably in the years to come. From mere salesmen, reps will turn into data analysts and drivers of change in the world of pharma marketing. Using multichannel insights, they’ll be able to choose the most efficient channels for HCP communication for each individual physician and dial in on them to get the maximum engagement and share of voice. Pharma companies that ignore multichannel and don’t pick up the pace with their adoption of digital will lag behind as their sales force sees more closed doors and physicians unwilling to cooperate.

Do you need multi channel marketing help?

If you’re looking for a partner to take your digital marketing to the 21st century and utilize the latest multichannel techniques and methods? Reach out to Bluenovius, the digital pharma marketing experts behind PubExplainer, a multi channel solution that helps pharma companies relate their latest scientific publications to physicians with ease.