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The Management of Customer Relationship Management By Elisabeth Pena Villarroel Responding to the customers’ needs is more important than ever for pharmaceutical companies. As patients seek more information and doctors continue to be crunched for time, targeted, meaningful messages that address these specific customers’ needs are paramount for the industry. Having lagged behind other industries in terms of capitalizing on customer data, the pharmaceutical arena is catching up in trying to reach patients, one of its main customer segments, and is beginning to effectively use the knowledge that can be gained through anonymous patient-level data. Information from the other main customer audience, physicians, however, may be more difficult to capitalize on. The American Medical Association’s policy regarding physician prescribing data and its proposal to provide physicians with an opportunity to opt out would prevent sales reps from using prescriber-level data during details with physicians on this list. Experts interviewed for this Forum believe this would be a major setback for many companies’ CRM programs. Despite potential roadblocks, the industry is beginning to fully commit to learning more about its customers and is using those data to improve its relationships to meet customers’ needs. The Customer Redefined As the industry has evolved during the last five to 10 years, so has the customer. Although most experts interviewed for this Forum agree that physicians are still the primary target for messaging, the end user is the patient, and this group is becoming an increasingly important player in pharmaceutical relationship management. Arnold. Five or more years ago, the focus of most messaging was to the physician, but the definition of the customer has expanded. Obviously, this new customer base now includes patients because of DTC and the longitudinal patient data that are available, but the customer also now includes other decision makers in the healthcare sector. Depending on the product, a company may target pharmacies and managed care, as well as nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants in the big primary-care offices. Because the customer has been redefined, the data have changed. And the reliability of the data, which allows us to figure out the impact of our campaigns and who to target, also has changed. Having more data allows for other strategies and increased visibility into what else is happening in the market — factors such as switching behaviors, new patient starts versus continuing patients, and compliance and persistency. Kantheti. Marketers have become much more savvy about their marketing to physicians; and, thanks to patient-level data, they are starting to target not only high-decile physicians but those who influence these physicians’ prescribing patterns as well as those who influence physicians in terms of writing new scrips, switching, adding on, and so on. Given. Who the customer is hasn’t changed for the most part. The patient has always been thought of as the customer, although most of the focus has been on the prescriber since there haven’t been great ways other than DTC advertising to reach the patient. The change is that now that we have better data sources we have better ways of gaining more knowledge about the patient. Our ability to understand customer and patient behavior is changing and making our marketing approaches easier to handle. We can modify our strategies and focus more on the patient indirectly through the prescriber. Hammond. The most important development in relationship marketing over the last five years is the recognition that there really isn’t any one customer. Certainly we recognize that it is immensely valuable to think about customers as segments of individuals who share common attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and so on; but that is only the beginning. As an industry, we are finally realizing that the ability to respond to differences among individuals within customer segments is where the real relationship power lies. We know that every time we have an opportunity to interact with someone, whether it’s online or offline, we want to learn more about that individual, which will enable us to be increasingly more relevant to that individual over time. Racik. It is much more complicated to define the customer. And with some of the setbacks the industry has faced, delivering the message to the end user and influencer is harder and harder. Customer groups are becoming much more segmented, not necessarily by who they are individually, but by their behaviors; and our ability to talk to these individuals and change their behaviors is becoming more complicated. The challenge today is to develop messaging that changes the customer base’s purchasing patterns. Barclay. While the rules changed the nature of DTC relationships, they didn’t change the fact that doctors are still the primary customer of the pharmaceutical company. The expansion of the industry’s definition of customer has changed the nature of customer relationship management in some ways. There are more products and services available today that provide data about what consumers and patients are actually doing with prescriptions in the field, so marketers now have more information on which to base their decisions. Ashe. When we think about patient or customer relationship marketing, it is not about marketing to the doctor or patient; it is about a new entity: the interaction between the two. CRM should build toward that moment when the physician and patient come together for those five-to-seven minutes, and it should optimize that prescribing moment. The patient needs to be equipped to have a relevant dialogue with the physician, which will help the doctor achieve the best outcome for that patient. As part of a CRM effort, it’s very important to learn not only what the patients’ behavior patterns and history have been, but their attitudes and motivations, because that is going to tell us a lot about their interests, willingness, and ability to take action, be compliant with a medication, and actively manage their conditions. This is a major difference in approaching CRM today. Rose. The goal has always been the same: improve patient health. But the focus on the players has changed. In 1997, the ability to market to the consumer through DTC fundamentally changed how companies approached the customer. Today, it’s more important how companies reach the customer. There are going to be more CRM programs directed to consumers. There will be fewer sales reps and more nonpersonal selling to the physicians. There will be more integration and giving the physician the supporting healthcare information to deliver to the consumer. And the consumer will be more educated, which means more useful dialogues with physicians. As patients have begun taking a much more active role in their treatment, manufacturers have modified their interventions to support this process. Whether this is through DTC, patient loyalty and education programs, or the use of tools to influence patient prescriber interventions, the methods have changed substantially. Challenges and Best Practices Although the importance of CRM programs is well understood, full implementation of these initiatives has not been achieved across the board because of myriad factors, including technology access and financial issues. Experts interviewed for this Forum share their challenges and successes in working toward CRM program rollouts. Arnold. One of the challenges I’ve witnessed in implementing CRM is integrating or coordinating between the salesforces that are calling on physicians and the managed-care salesforces and the medical science liaisons. Many of these teams overlap on the same customer group. There are technologies available that would allow marketing and sales to share information about who is calling on whom. This would enable the teams to share insights and build on the conversations the various reps have had with the customer at the next interaction. This is a big challenge for most companies. Kantheti. We have collected tons of data about our physicians, which has allowed us to understand this customer segment very well. We are beginning to systematically warehouse the data and mine the information so that we can give actual and meaningful information back to marketing and sales. We also have started purchasing patient-level data. We are building an integrated model so we can promote to the physician base, as well as to other customer segments. The technology piece is the missing connection. We have not been able to move into a true CRM type of environment with some of the common databases available. We have disparate pieces of data that are floating around, and it is hard to tie everything into one interface. Given. CRM is becoming a bigger focus for our company. We haven’t completed a fully integrated CRM solution, but we have small pieces — a SFA system, a call center, a travel and expense system — but none of those are integrated with each other. When looking to implement CRM, a company really needs to have all the pieces integrated to have a successful solution. One of the roadblocks that we hit is that we don’t have one main data warehouse. Our data reside in different places throughout the company. It will be some time before we can overcome the technical and financial challenges to pull all the data together through the use of one solution. Ashe. The first thing a company needs to create when initiating CRM is a learning plan; this is a document that outlines what the company wants to learn about its target customers and what kinds of behaviors it is trying to drive before a CRM solution is built. Rose. Successful CRM initiatives are those that focus heavily on marketing and business requirements, not on IT requirements. The needs of marketing are so varied and change so rapidly that the CRM architecture must be nimble and versatile. At the same time, the architecture must support cross-brand initiatives and preserve privacy and opt-in options in one master customer database. Barclay. To implement a CRM solution, the pharma company must be very engaged with the process and understand that this is not a one-time project, but an ongoing process. Hammond. Too many CRM programs will launch without any real segmentation rigor. These are programs that are trying to be all things to all people without any real thought ahead of time about how segmentation should be approached. We recommend that before pharmaceutical brand teams begin to implement CRM programs they start with some fairly rigorous segmentation research. Also, they can’t skimp on the analytic rigor applied in the segmentation research. The right tools need to be brought to the table to find the right model. Sometimes segmentation models are put together that meet all of the right statistical tests but don’t yield segmentation that is practical from a marketing perspective. We recommend that companies test their statistical models against the needs of their businesses and what can be done in the marketplace. Arnold. Smaller companies need to work smarter. We aren’t in a position to throw everyone and everything we have out to the market. We have to take a much more targeted and segmented approach. First, we need to figure out which customers offer the best opportunities and where they fit along the continuum. For example, who are the customers who have the most influence, and where along the prescribing process can we make the biggest impact? This information allows us to make decisions about where to put our resources — whether money, sales reps, direct-mail, or other tactics — and how many of those points we have to hit to make an impact. One touchpoint is not enough. No company is going to address just one audience; it has to find the right balance between physicians, managed care, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as patients. Kantheti. Solvay’s approach to CRM is slightly different from other companies. Because we don’t have a technology-focused CRM effort in place, our view of CRM is more traditional. To get close to the customer — physicians, managed-care customers, and patients — we use traditional methods. Racik. First and foremost, CRM is all about knowing the customer. The beauty and elegance of CRM strategies is the ability to provide a robust view of customers — how they think, what motivates them to act, and what their challenges are — and then using the data to craft messages that address a concern or alleviate any obstacles or challenges. CRM is really about listening to customers, responding with something that is relevant, and listening and responding all over again. Hammond. Companies need to think more about applying rigorous metrics for CRM programs. These should be measurements not for the sake of measurement, but for the purpose of improving everything that a company does. There are many opportunities to use metrics to build the performance of individual tactics as well as allocating resources over time. Too often, pharma companies only want to focus on the opportunity to use metrics to allocate budgets to the best-performing tactics, without having taken the time to measure and improve the performance of the individual tactics over time. A Shift in Focus The pharmaceutical industry is beginning to take into account the customer’s needs and wants. Data are being collected as early as in clinical development, when decisions are made as to how a drug is administered and dosed, to as late as the postmarketing stages by focusing messages on the practical benefits a product can provide a customer. Racik. The industry has been very features and benefits oriented, and patients have become savvier and have much better access to information. It is a natural evolution that the industry is becoming more patient-focused and looking at ways to satisfy their needs, help change behaviors, and modify decision trees along the way. The result of having an abundance of information available, greater audience receptivity, and a more proactive healthcare community is that those functional benefits are being translated into practical benefits. There is still a product focus, but this information is being made relevant to consumers based on the practical benefits of how a product is going to affect the quality of their lives and their health outcomes. Ashe. The pharma industry is always going to have a product focus. Product attributes, hence the label, are a function of a long and rigorous clinical-trial process. The majority of a pharmaceutical product’s features are derived from the mechanism of action for a compound and cannot be altered to suit consumer preferences. That said, more time is being spent now on translating the clinical features of a product into functional and emotional benefits that will resonate with consumers. Compliance and persistency programs are addressing patient attitudinal and motivational dimensions on top of behaviors to deliver personalized, customer-focused experiences. Also, marketers are increasingly exploring patient reported outcomes and quality-of-life attributes to differentiate their products. Rose. Pipelines are not as rich as they once were, and the largest opportunity for revenue growth has shifted from the front end of the product life-cycle curve, launch, to the back end of the product life-cycle curve, in other words compliance/loyalty. The migration to smaller, more focused sales teams is a trend that will continue. Many companies are addressing the overall value of a prescriber to the manufacturer and developing an “account” management philosophy that recognizes this value. The use of nonpersonal promotional activities is a vital element in this trend as the advances in this area make the cost-effective management of important relationships possible. That being said, there will still be a product-focused mentality in pharma, unlike other industries where there is a finite patent life. Hammond. We are only starting to see a shift from a product focus to a customer focus, and this is a trend that needs to continue. A brand can’t realize its potential without a real commitment to the customer. Science gets a product out of the lab and onto the market, but science alone does not make a successful brand. Customers have to believe in the product, and we understand that customers can’t believe unless they are willing to hear us. To create opportunities to reach customers, we have to provide product-related offers that are very relevant to the needs of customers. This will ultimately create an opportunity to deliver a product message. Barclay. If sales reps are there just to peddle a portfolio of products, the doctor won’t perceive this as added value and won’t want to see the rep. Companies need to determine what physicians want and need — valuable information about the products in the marketplace, about product uses, about side effects, about drug interactions, and so on. And each customer wants different information. This is why reps need to be armed with personalized customer information, not just a portfolio of products to peddle. Getting the Most from the Data Equipped with longitudinal and anonymous patient-level data, pharmaceutical marketers can really gain an understanding of their audiences to deliver the most appropriate messaging and information to the groups who need it. Rose. Anonymous patient-level data can, at a minimum, allow marketers to understand which programs are working the best so they can continue to fund those programs. This is true for measuring the success of various segmentation and targeted marketing programs. Patient-level data are critical, because without this information a company doesn’t know what is working and what is not. Marketing intuitions and focus groups are not always correct in magnitude or even direction. Anonymous patient-level data provide tremendous insight into the behavior of prescribers much closer to real time. This is important in the new model of influence that is being discussed. This behavioral analysis is a key enabler that drives the integration of personal and nonpersonal promotional activity to deliver better customer service at a reduced cost. Arnold. Anonymous patient-level data offer the ability for a company to evaluate the difference between a new patient and a continuing patient. They also allow for segmenting out new business and the continuous generation of the new business, as well as looking at persistency and compliance of chronic medication patients. These data separate the front end, where a company is constantly generating new business by new patient starts, and the back end, where patients start to fall off. This information allows marketers to make sure that whatever is leaking from the bottom of the pail is replaced by what is coming in at the top. The only way to know this information and segment the new prescriptions versus prescriptions related to compliance and persistency is through longitudinal patient data. This can’t be done with regular NRx and TRx data. Barclay. The senior members of pharmaceutical sales organizations have a big business decision to make about how their field reps can use this information. Some companies want their reps to focus on the sales process rather than on the data. Others are having the field force use the data during the detail. There is value in patient-level data; what that value is depends on the strategy of each individual pharma company. Given. We are in the experimental phase of using anonymous patient-level data. We haven’t rolled out any of the data or even shown the information to the salesforce. We are using the data purely for market research. We are trying to determine how many new patients are coming onto a therapy each year. Based on the answers, we will find a way to apply the information to the salesforce. A company needs in-house or contracted experts to delve into the data and pull out the key pieces that it can then use in the field. Ashe. Anonymous patient-level data are becoming increasingly important in generating ROI and measuring the impact of CRM programs. When a company conducts a CRM program, it’s one to one. This can be a very effective way for a company to learn how effective it is actually being in the marketplace with its communications. This type of analysis also is a great way to understand if a program is impacting patients through its education efforts and how compliant and persistent patients are with their medications. Hammond. There is still work that needs to be done in our industry to dispel the persistent myth that segmentation should be primarily about identifying discrete groups of customers who share a similar likelihood of using a brand. The old idea of segmenting customers along a continuum of early adopters to laggards doesn’t really provide the necessary insights that we need to tune our message to individual customers. Anonymous patient-level data can begin to help us identify customer segments that are defined by attitudes and beliefs, as opposed to where patients fall along an adoption curve. It is this type of segmentation that is ultimately going to enable us to deliver messaging to segments, and individuals within segments, and allow us to more powerfully drive a brand. Racik. The beauty of CRM marketing and tracking is they allow marketers to match self-reported results or IMS results on a panel against aggregated anonymous patient-level data to determine which messages are working. In addition, the collection of deidentified patient data is becoming more sophisticated and more robust from a percentage-covered standpoint. As recently as three or five years ago, brand managers looked at patient-level data and thought they were too expensive. Because these data are becoming very valuable as a marketing tool, the data acquisition budgets of our companies are changing. Today, a company can’t have just prescription-level data without a certain amount of patient-level data, especially in the more competitive therapeutic categories. Arnold. We have used longitudinal-patient data for marketing programs but not at the sales-rep level. Rather, we monitor new patient starts and switching at the national level. For some companies these data are relatively new, even though the information has been available for about eight or nine years. One of the challenges we face is how to get reps and sales management to look at the finer details of the data when their sole focus is to spend time out in the field selling. How do you gain adoption of longitudinal patient data at the field level if you do not structure incentives around new patient starts, switches, or continuing patients? Companies have to invest the time and the money to change their data sources, data systems, and internal cultures in terms of how they look at and apply this information. Barclay. Patient-level data can play a role in a company’s relationship with doctors, but there are some associated risks and dangers. Each interaction must enhance the relationship and trust between the doctor and the representative, and there is a risk that the data could be detrimental to the relationship if used improperly. Given. In the past, companies looked at IMS data for determining who the target physicians were. Now, based on longitudinal data, those targets, or the physicians who were once considered targets, may not be. During a product launch, IMS data don’t tell which physician would most likely be an early adopter or innovator; that is something that can be seen with longitudinal patient data. Also, these data can identify a physician who may be a low prescriber based on true volume, but who may be starting a patient on a product and then referring that patient to another doctor who then continues the prescription. These type of data are definitely changing who companies are targeting. First-Aid CRM Good customer relationships are a key step in the industry’s efforts to repair its public image issues. By showing customers that they are really invested in their relationships, companies can begin to win back the trust of their most important stakeholders, their customers. Rose. Now more than ever it is important for pharma companies to have good communications with their customers. With a good customer relationship database, consumers and physicians can be quickly contacted with valuable information when news stories break, such as when Adderall was blocked in Canada, or the Vioxx story, and so on. This is the most critical element in the changes pharmaceutical companies are making. Ashe. We are all keenly aware of the need for manufacturers and marketers of pharmaceutical products to improve their credibility in the marketplace. At the top of the list should be efforts that include more unbranded, disease-state education and education on available treatment options to patients. This ties closely to companies’ desire to comply with the new, suggested PhRMA DTC guidelines. We’re creating more customizable discussion tools that patients can use when speaking with their doctors. We’re using outbound telemarketing activities to patients as part of compliance programs. We’re also using new technologies such as online anthropology and data-mining tools that allow us to “listen in” on hundreds of thousands of online conversations to identify and address customer hot buttons. Barclay. A good, trusting relationship with doctors is absolutely vital for pharmaceutical companies these days. Physicians have become increasingly busy, but when they have a trusted relationship with a pharmaceutical company, they will spend more time with their reps. The question is: how does a rep provide real value? There is nothing worse for a company’s relationship with a doctor than to have one rep repeat the same information that another rep already provided. The CRM tools a company uses to support that physician relationship are really critical in obtaining and maintaining the trust of physicians. Kantheti. If companies approach CRM correctly, they understand who their good customers are and who their true customers are, and they can stop going after physicians or constituencies that are actually not very important or relevant to them. That goes a long way in terms of helping companies avoid regulatory situations or promoting to groups that are not appropriate recipients of some information. Hammond. The real challenge in the current climate is to reestablish trust, and the industry recognizes that much has happened that has eroded the trust that all our various customers have with the industry. Trust is built and rebuilt in the context of healthy relationships. We are not going to be able to reestablish trust unless we have healthy, relatively intimate relationships with our customers. Racik. It is paramount to get CRM programs out to the constituencies who are going to find the information most useful and powerful. This is especially important in the current environment. Also, the evolution of the pharma industry has spurred the development of many biotechs and midtier companies that are generating products for smaller therapeutic categories, and these companies are able to provide disease management, counseling, and education. Companies need to market toward the lifetime value of a patient and not just give lip service anymore. PharmaVOICE welcomes comments about this article. E-mail us at email@example.com. Dina Given MedPointe Pharmaceuticals If companies can form better relationships with patients and doctors, then the industry can hopefully overcome a lot of public perception challenges. We need to figure out who our audience is, understand its needs better, and answer those needs. Janice Arnold Daiichi Pharmaceutical Patient-level data are really important for chronic medications. If a company wants to be successful and impact the front end and back end of prescription generation, then it needs to look at patient-level data. Thought Leaders Janice H. Arnold. Associate Director, Marketing and Sales Information Analysis, Daiichi Pharmaceutical Corp., Montvale, N.J.; Daiichi, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., is committed to putting patients first in the development of innovative, targeted therapies that fulfill unmet healthcare needs. For more information, visit daiichius.com. Gina Ashe. Senior VP, Healthcare Director, Rapp Collins Healthcare, New York; Rapp Collins is a leader in direct-response marketing and customer relationship management. For more information, visit rappcollins.com. Sam Barclay. VP, Business Development, StayinFront Inc., Fairfield, N.J.; StayinFront is a leading global provider of enterprisewide customer relationship management applications, decision support tools, and e-business systems. For more information, visit stayinfront.com. Dina Given. Associate Director SFA and Sample Compliance, MedPointe Pharmaceuticals, Somerset, N.J., MedPointe is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, markets, and sells branded prescription therapeutics. For more information, visit medpointepharma.com. Robert Hammond. President, Euro RSCG Life Interaction, New York; Euro RSCG Life Interaction plans, creates, and executes interactive relationship marketing programs for pharmaceutical brands. For more information, visit erlinteraction.com. Kumar Kantheti. Manager, Marketing Research, Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., Marietta, Ga.; Solvay is a research-driven pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit solvaypharmaceuticals-us.com. John Racik. President and CEO, Stonefly Communications Group LLC, Westerville, Ohio; Stonefly is a customer-centric healthcare advertising agency and an inChord communications company. For more information, visit stoneflygroup.com. Rick Rose. VP and General Manager of Dendrite IM, Bedminster, N.J.; Dendrite provides diversified sales, marketing, clinical, and compliance solutions to the global life-sciences and pharmaceutical industries. For more information, visit dendrite.com. Rick Rose Dendrite The most critical CRM changes our clients are making are focusing the patient spend more on patient education and loyalty programs and moving their prescriber spend to the development of sustainable relationships rather than just pushing product features. This will create more durable relationships and lower sales costs. John Racik Stonefly Communications Group A CRM program is never static; it is iterative and evolutionary and morphs based on the needs of the end user. A program is never just rolled out; it has to be constantly refined so that messages are as relevant as possible. Patient Relationship Marketing Best Practices for Pharmaceutical Companies Create a Learning Plan: Think about what you want to learn and know about the PRM/CRM program before you build it. Create a Patient-Value Hierarchy: Assign patients into groups based on behaviors and demographics, but also layer in attitudes and motivations. The size and makeup of the groups will dictate the alignment of the investment with customer value. Give a Little/Get a Little: Capture the least amount of information needed to begin a dialogue with a consumer. Over time, offer elements of value for new information received and create a “value exchange” that empowers, not burns out, your consumer. Build a Dynamic Content Platform: Think of it as blocks of content that can be pieced together according to the needs a customer has expressed; it doesn’t have to be complicated. Dynamic content can be printed or streamed; this creates a more relevant interaction with the consumer. Engage a Patient’s Physician: Physicians strongly influence a patient’s decision-making behavior. If physicians believe that communications to a patient are relevant and educational, they will adopt them or become advocates for them. It relieves them of the burden of education. Offer Multichannel Options to Patients: These need to be integrated so that consumers can change up as needed. Create a Seamless Consumer-Patient Experience: Patients don’t realize that they’re on an “acquisition” or a “retention” track in your CRM program. They need to have access to disease-state information, as well as product information, and they need to be able to build on that knowledge over time. Streamline the Program Content: In other words, be relevant, be deliberate, and be concise. Don’t make patients wade through lots of data intended for other people to find the nuggets relevant to them. Learn what they want to know up front and make it easy for them to get it. Satisfy their needs and leave them wanting more so that they’ll come back. Source: Rapp Collins Healthcare, New York. For more information, visit rappcollins.com. CRM Survey PharmaVOICE asked its readers to respond to a survey on customer relationship management, focusing on CRM strategies and translating knowledge into tactical execution. Which group of stakeholders do you think would benefit the most from a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) program? Response Physicians 32.8% Patients 10.3% Managed Care 3.4% Government 0% All of the above 46.6% Other 6.9% Do you believe your organization has successfully implemented and used a CRM program? Response Yes 29.3%5% No 70.7% Which group do you believe is the pharma industry’s most important customer? Response Physicians 13.8% Patients 32.8% Managed Care 8.6% Government 6.9% All of the above 36.2% Does your company have a central data resource or process that can be accessed by the different functional teams who have contact with customers? Response Yes 55.2% No 44.8% Do you view CRM as a technology issue or as a marketing strategy? Response Technology 10.3% Marketing 70.7% Other 19% Note: The majority of “other” respondents said CRM is both. How big a role does CRM play in your company’s overall business strategy? Response Very important 43.1% Somewhat important 41.4% Of little importance 13.8% Not important at all 1.7% Has the definition of the customer changed in the past five years? Response Radically 19% Somewhat 70.7% Not at all 10.3% If your company collects CRM data, do you believe that customer information is shared among all of the different internal groups in a meaningful and strategic manner? Response Yes 14% Somewhat 40.4% No 44.8% Do you believe CRM can impact your organization’s bottom line? Response Yes 98.2% No 1.8% Sound Bites from the Polling Field PharmaVOICE asked what CRM tactics have you employed to meet strategic goals? We are in the process of implementing a new CRM system, which will allow a 360-degree overview of customer activities. This will give us clear insights into the activities of sales teams, as well as allowing vital metrics to be put in place to measure and track effectiveness of marketing activities. We are incorporating sales-call data for better coordination among salesforces and with other marketing programs and managed-care pull through; purchasing longitudinal patient data to observe compliance and persistency; and implementing internal customer-service training programs to make home-office staff more supportive of salesforce needs. We use patient segmentation and specific communication vehicles for each segment. Communications, listening to the customer, and technical support are key tactics. We are beginning to implement technology solutions to support the business’ strategy. We profile physicians by territory and break down disease demographics by territory. We have efforts to generate referrals to prescribing physicians earlier. We have a goal to integrate customer systems to better and more quickly identify who the customer truly is and be able to appropriately resource and support that customer. We are doing interactive detailing and data mining. The tactics we use are: listen to the customer, research the customer’s needs, and service the customer. Improvement in salesforce automation data collection and the expansion of e-marketing strategies would be useful. We have a longitudinal database that connects patients and physicians. Source: PharmaVOICE, Titusville, N.J. For more information, visit pharmavoice.com. Note: Survey analysis is based on 58 responses from PharmaVOICE readers. Company breakdown: 62.1% pharmaceutical; 10.3% biotechnology; 6.9% biopharmaceutical/biology; 5.2% device, diagnostic, or equipment; 1.7% contract research; 1.9% drug development/clinical trials consulting; 3.4% marketing/communication supplier; 6.9% service; and 1.7% other. October 2005 PharmaVOICE Robert Hammond Euro RSCG Life Interaction It is easy to forget that the customers we are attempting to engage are real people who don’t spend their entire lives thinking about their health and the next drug they are going to take. We have to work hard to relate to patients as individuals and communicate with them in a tone that is approachable, real, and more relevant. Gina Ashe Rapp Collins Healthcare It is important for pharma companies to engage physicians where possible when embarking on a CRM program. Physicians are often the strongest influencers in a patient’s decision making and can be central to the success of a CRM program. Sam Barclay StayinFront CRM solutions need to marry marketing, which has a relationship with the patient, with sales, which has a relationship with the doctor. Sound Bites From the Field PharmaVOICE asked industry experts to discuss Best Practices for Implementing and Fully Using CRM Peter Grambs is VP of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp.’s CRM Practice, Teaneck, N.J., which provides IT services focused on delivering strategic information technology solutions that address the complex business needs of its clients. For more information, visit cognizant.com. “CRM programs in the pharma space have matured considerably in recent years. The shift away from big-bang projects toward more focused, incremental projects has enhanced risk management. Additionally, more effective use of prototypes helps to identify functional and technical issues and secure user buy-in. Ultimately, best practices for CRM require strong executive sponsorship, a solid understanding of business requirements, and a close working relationship between business users and IT. The most successful programs are integrated with, and driven by, the larger business strategy and vision. Finally, there is no substitute for strong governance and project management practices and tools.” Michael Lowenstein is Senior VP, Customer Management Center of Excellence, at GfK NOP, New York, a market-research firm and a part of The GfK Group. For more information, visit gfkamerica.com. “Understanding both physician and patient advocacy for a brand offers pharmaceutical companies tremendous marketing leverage and potential for competitive advantage. Through targeted customer behavior research, we’ve learned that active advocacy, a state of personal, elective, and often deep-rooted engagement between a customer and supplier, goes well beyond satisfaction, loyalty, and even commitment. Advocacy represents the highest level of customer involvement achievable: interaction with a supplier on an individual level that is significantly past the typical functional, passive relationship, plus having these customers actively and voluntarily convey their perceptions through informal dialogue with friends and colleagues. Both physicians and patients are important advocates and can be very influential in a final Rx decision. By focusing on advocacy optimization, companies can increase both the strength of their brand position overall and the effectiveness of each marketing component — training materials, sampling, messaging and promotion, SFE, events, etc. — individually and on an aggregated basis. Advocacy is not merely a different spin on gaining insight into physician scrip writing, referral, and communication behavior. Arguably, because the name of the game is perceived value, advocacy is, or will become, the only way to think about marketing to physicians and, through them, to their patients.” Michael J. Luby is President and CEO of TargetRx Inc., Horsham, Pa., a marketing information services company that delivers actionable insight to pharmaceutical companies to help them effectively sell and market their products, and ultimately improve the performance of their brands. For more information, visit targetrx.com. “The key to CRM success rests in the organizational buy-in to the objectives and benefits of the project. Of course, software selection and IT implementation are critically important, but they should really enable a process driven by the commercial organization. It helps to have a member of senior management champion the project and also to ensure that sales, marketing, and clinical each participate to capture value beyond merely salesforce automation. If done well, CRM can help companies integrate customer information across many channels and develop a level of customer insight that enhances productivity for all involved.”