shutterstock_659728009.jpgAnkush Gupta co-wrote this blog post with Omer Hancer.

With sales and marketing teams functioning in silos, pharmaceutical companies are targeting the same customer with multiple, uncoordinated campaigns, leading to healthcare professionals hearing different or even inconsistent messages from various channels within the same organization, sometimes on the same day.  

While a single pharma company may use as many as 30 tactics executed by 60 different vendors for three to four brands, ZS’s Affinity Monitor research shows that high volume doesn’t correlate with higher engagement. The current siloed approach to targeting for individual channels leads to uncoordinated campaigns, reduced productivity and, ultimately, dissatisfied customers bombarded with a wide range of pharma marketing tactics.

The solution to this major challenge lies in addressing three key imperatives:

  1. Personalized outbound promotion: How can we dynamically personalize promotion by serving up the right content through the right channels to improve HCP engagement?
  2. Harmonized or coordinated exposure across channels: How can we harmonize promotional exposures across channels by identifying the right sequences to maintain consistency of engagement and share of voice?
  3. Contextual and responsive engagement: How can we learn what the HCP is actively looking for and dynamically infer the next-best opportunity to engage accordingly?

An AI-driven dynamic channel orchestration capability with the following four components will help organizations achieve these key imperatives:

  • Customer data lake: Integrate all historical and relevant customer data such as sales data, profile data, multichannel interactions and sales force call activity. Making recent HCP prescribing patterns and multichannel marketing engagements dynamically available for downstream analytics will help organizations plan the next-best action.
  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning and advanced analytics: Learn and adapt to customer preferences (channel and content affinities) as well as representative feedback over time to drive personalization, and also dynamically identify the sequences of channels that work well for a given customer. Machine learning leverages several advanced algorithms to get smarter over time and to optimize HCP-level tactical recommendations or next-best actions for subsequent weeks.
  • Agile/automated promotional execution: Recommend the right channel and the right content in the right cadence for each HCP. To increase efficiency, the downstream execution of sales and marketing promotional touch points should be automated: Sales reps could integrate field suggestions—displayed via a CRM platform—into their day-to-day workflow, and marketing automation platforms could enable companies to send digital promotions seamlessly.
  • Business process and change management: Change management is a key success factor to drive the effective adoption of a dynamic channel orchestration capability. Engaging brand, marketing and sales leadership in the setup helps inform the business rules and constraints—like specific budgets per channel, geography and customer segments—that the capability should operate under.

Clients typically start their journey by optimizing next-best actions through a couple of channels from sales or marketing, or both. In our experience, we’ve seen digital channel engagement rates improve by approximately 20 to 25% in the first three to four months following the deployment of the next-best actions capability. Moreover, we’ve seen that a relatively higher use of field suggestions has helped sales reps improve their call plan adherence by more than 10%, and HCPs aligned to high-usage reps showed more than 15% higher rep-triggered email open rates. In some cases, we’ve observed a sales impact of around 1 to 4% of total revenue (around $10 million to $70 million in annual sales), attributable to next-best actions, including field suggestions—a direct improvement in promotional effectiveness.

As you consider your own company’s objectives with next-best actions, ask yourself, Where are we in this journey? Where would we like to start, or where can we make measurable progress that delivers results?

Stay tuned for our next post, in which we’ll share more details about these capabilities and our experience with clients who are using them.


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Topics: customer engagement, Digital Channels, Pharma, Pharmaceutical Marketing, Promotion, personalization, artificial intelligence, AI, machine learning, channel orchestration, next-best actions, email messaging