A physician educated himself online about new drug treatments and receives digital detailing. He’s listening to PulsePoint’s Podcast.
Insights

Is Digital The Lifesaver for Drug Reps? (Podcast)

July 22, 2020
Chris Neuner

In our second episode of our podcast series “Coffee Chats,” we’re sitting down with Chris Neuner, CSO at PulsePoint, to discuss how Covid-19 has quickly changed the course for drug sales reps. 


Recent trends show that over 50% of doctors had already been limiting access to drug reps. With Covid-19 and related safety concerns, 52% of practitioners recently surveyed have also implemented new measures that further restrict access, so that less than 25% of physicians today are open to in-person visions by drug reps. 

Limited access has led to a decline in number of drug reps in the market – where there used to be over 100K representatives, there are now around 40-45K. Will the role of a drug rep soon become extinct? Or will the role evolve, to become a tech-enabled drug rep of the modern age? In our conversation with Chris he outlines how drug reps can succeed in a programmatic world, from detailing to script lift. 

 

What is detailing?

With over $20B of marketing budgets spent on detailing it’s become an important way for pharma brands to share scientific information of new treatments and conditions. Think of it like marketing meets continuing education, where the scientific information the drug sales representatives provide to physicians  helps HCPs stay up to date with medical advances, and are able to provide better care by prescribing new drugs or administering new devices. 

There are two main ways that drug reps make detailing happen:

1.     Personal promotion: Drug reps do the detailing in person. This is the traditional route, but it is regularly replaced by...

2.     Non-personal promotion: Detailing is done by separate means, such as a website or an advertisement, without a person involved in the transfer of knowledge. 

Physicians will always continue to need education on new health trends, tools and treatments. The new questions for pharma brands are: How do we tech-enable today’s smaller sales force to still reach and engage HCPs? How can we leverage technology to be a better conveyor of this important information?  


The Role of Programmatic in Detailing

Programmatic technology has created efficiencies in other industries for years. It will play a critical role for the tech-enabled sales rep by giving drug reps a faster way to make sense of massive amounts of data that they can then use to make more informed decisions. By automating data analysis, drug reps will be fueled with deeper insights into the needs of the HCPs they want to serve. 

Programmatic can be leveraged in two distinct ways when it comes to detailing: 

1.     Trigger-based: When an HCP performs some sort of basic action, such as visiting a website, an action can be triggered in response. For example, the Sales rep can get notified when and from where a physician has visited the website.

2.     Insights-based: That same HCP’s activity on the website will provide the drug rep with more insight about what the HCP is looking to learn. 

These automated processes empower drug reps by allowing them to build a better understanding of the HCPs to whom they provide detailing. 

Chris is particularly excited about programmatic and customer relationship management (CRM) systems that can work together - and sees it as an opportunity for programmatic technology to connect the dots between health marketing and life-saving practices. 

Digital drug detailing flywheel. Starting with info being detailed, syncing to the CRM system, to triggering the drug rep

How could this work? 

Dr. Hobbes is online searching for information on the latest oncology treatment he read about and thinks might help his patient. He visits a website with scientific information on how the treatment works, label use etc and then logs off his device to treat her next patient. Later that evening, Dr. Hobbes sees an ad for the medication on her favorite website and clicks on it to watch a video on her phone. The next day the sales rep sees a notification that Dr. Hobbes has visited their website, clicked on an ad, watched a video and is familiar with the treatment. This information is helpful for the sales rep to gather so that they can tailor their next call, email or meeting with Dr. Hobbes. Now, they can start the conversation where Dr. Hobbes is in her “journey” with information that is most useful at that time. This helps get the necessary information to Dr. Hobbes to be able to treat her patient quicker, and better and was all done thanks to programmatic platform gathering and making sense of how Dr. Hobbes engaged with the drug brand’s messaging and sharing this information with the drug rep via their CRM. This “downstream” marketing approach lets the drug rep begin the detailing process from a more informed perspective. 

Chris also sees big opportunities in how these insights can be applied to “upstream” marketing - where Dr. Hobbes might signal interest in a topic today that the drug brand uses at a later time to automatically notify Dr. Hobbes of new information or materials when she is online. 

This sort of multichannel approach allows drug reps to keep HCPs consistently informed on new practices in an efficient, personalized way. Due to this seamless process, HCPs are able to keep current with the best practices that will help them save lives. That’s why Chris comes to work every day.

Don’t forget to listen to the full podcast for more details and to register for our virtual Digital Health Forum in September to get an outlook of where the industry is heading in the next five years.


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