Is there anybody out there? Making relationships real in a digital age

Published: 3-Dec-2021

Takeaways from Chris Moore’s Summit keynote with LEO Pharma’s Monica Shaw and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Timmo Rousku Andersen

In his keynote at Veeva’s Commercial and Medical Summit, Chris Moore, European President at Veeva, explored how digital relationships in life sciences have changed - particularly in the past 2 years.

Who should we build digital relationships with, in an increasingly complex healthcare ecosystem? How do you ensure that your content connects to the changing needs of customers and stakeholders? Key takeaways from the talk are below.

Building an emotional connection with HCPs, digitally

Boehringer Ingelheim’s Timmo Rousku Andersen contributed his thoughts on digital engagement programmes, specifying the need for content to be hyper-personalised and therefore as relevant as possible to make connections as emotional as possible.

LEO Pharma’s Monica Shaw echoed this point, adding that her own customer research supports the fact that HCPs want to consume content that can add real value, delivered at the right time in the right place.

Being able to do this is vital for building long-lasting digital relationships. She added that as customers’ needs change, for LEO Pharma, key account management has never been more important to monitor and cater to their needs.

Pharma still needs radical innovation: digitalisation is a solution

Timmo commented that the healthcare system is under serious pressure and warned that if we think it is serious now, fast forward 10 years, and the pressure will be even greater. He said: “What we’re doing now isn’t enough - pharma needs to see radical innovation during the next decade and digitalisation has to be one of the solutions to enable this.”

The reason? Digitalisation enables a level of sophistication, particularly with data analytics, that the industry hasn’t embraced before. Being able to record and understand, measure and demonstrate real value will enable businesses to work towards true patient centricity.

Catering to the next generation of doctors

As Baby Boomer HCPs head for retirement, the next generation are moving into more senior medical positions. This new generation is far more comfortable with digital and their expectations are therefore different. The industry needs to respond accordingly.

For this industry, which has for so long relied on reps working individually, there now needs to be a shift in strategy, to working as one team.

Timmo comments that reps need to share with everyone what they’re learning on the frontline every day, saying that this is “the mindset shift that will catapult us forward; moving from the mentality of ‘my’ customer, to ‘our’ customer.”

Timmo said that for him reps now need to move from being a “friendly face” to being a “relevant face,” adding that customers “don’t care what our job titles are, they just want us to help them solve their issues.”

Building a 360-degree customer picture

For Monica, the path to true customer centricity comes with effective customer data analysis. She said that much of the industry still relies on the manual sharing of information, which is contingent on individuals, and that this is something the industry needs to get better at.

Timmo agreed, adding that if those insights can be utilised effectively, the ‘wow experiences’ customers crave can be created. He added that for leaders in the pharma world, what their teams are looking for is honesty and clarity. “That honesty will help us carry out change management and shift the industry’s mindset.”

Overcoming inertia

The move to digital is relentless. But overcoming the inherent inertia in the industry from decades of in-person rep meetings can be challenging.

For LEO Pharma, it all starts with upskilling. The skills of the rep today need to be dramatically different from the rep of 15 or even 10 years ago. Monica stated that reps now need to be “curious, openminded and agile”. And digital knowhow/ is a big part of this agility and being able to adjust rapidly on an iterative basis.

Chris closed the keynote on the point that this side of the industry is moving from being a single-player game to being a team sport. And the digital revolution happening in pharma can be the enabler of this.

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