Mick O’Leary, Regional President of Ashfield Commercial and Patient Solutions, looks at how the pharmaceutical industry can create a vision for the ‘new normal’ and embrace change after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pharmaceutical industry is in the midst of a challenging yet fascinating period, as we see an accelerated increase in remote engagement with healthcare professionals (HCPs), driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, business, healthcare and society as a whole have faced unprecedented challenges. Yet we have also seen great agility, determination and innovation displayed by the pharma industry as it has continued to meet the needs of HCPs and their patients.
“A cultural shift will be required, embracing integration between functions, as well as brand new metrics and agile ways of working that are constantly evolving to meet changing customer needs.”
Although remote interactions have played their part for some time now, the pandemic has demonstrated just how beneficial they are to all involved. As lockdown restrictions in the UK begin to ease and we adjust to what’s frequently called the ‘new normal’, the pharma industry is faced with an enormous opportunity to embrace advances in data analysis and technology, reshaping the way they engage with HCPs and their patients.
We see the role of the traditional sales representative becoming elevated, as they evolve into the navigator of an omnichannel model – one that places HCPs firmly at the centre of communication campaigns, delivering the messages they need, in the format they need, in the way that’s most convenient to them. There should be a similar approach in both events and scientific engagement.
Transition to omnichannel
The transition to a customer-centric, omnichannel model is not a straightforward one. It can only work if you truly understand your customers and their interpretation of what value looks like. For that, companies need to be able to respond with speed and agility to insights gleaned from accurate, robust data.
Pharma companies also need the right technology and new content to fit these new channels, and they will have to invest in recruitment, retention and retraining. A cultural shift will be required, embracing integration between functions, as well as brand new metrics and agile ways of working that are constantly evolving to meet changing customer needs.
It’s a tall order, but achievable with genuine expertise and support. Get it right and the results will mean stronger, more valued relationships that benefit the company, HCPs, their patients and our society as a whole.
The onus is now on all of us to make it happen.
For more information, please visit www.ashfieldhealthcare.com to download a copy of our new whitepaper, Reimaging HCP Engagement, which looks at research and draws upon the experience of our colleagues to reimagine what omnichannel engagement will look like as we enter a whole ‘new normal’.
Mick O’Leary is Regional President of Ashfield Commercial and Patient Solutions.