Tuesday, January 8, 2013

6 Ways CRM in Pharma Ensures Continual Growth

It is a well known fact that making a profit isn't easy in today's market. However, this endeavor becomes a tad more difficult when one is working in the pharma sector. This is because pharma companies have tons of hurdles that other players in the corporate sector don't need to worry about; the time lag between the testing and final sanction of a drug, stiff competition from lower priced generic drugs, ever changing drug regulation laws, etc. And, of course, economic crunches and recessions don't spare anyone, including the pharma sector. However, the biggest hurdle that pharma companies face is the fact that they cannot hire celebrities and cannot simply directly market their products to the general public. With drugs having a limited shelf life and pharma companies having limited options of going about their tasks, how can one hope to make a profit?

The entire game plan lies in effectively planning strategy. Implementing CRM software successfully is a sure shot way to optimize existing business strategies and create new ones. The advantage of a CRM software lies in its ability to create a common platform for maintaining a constant and strong relationship with customers (doctors and patients) ensuring that their loyalties stay put and that they aren't snagged by competitors.

Advantages of CRM for pharma companies
There are many ways CRM software benefits pharma companies -
  • Develop a better relationship with customers - with the number of drugs released and the number of patients being inversely proportional, one needn't be a mathematician to infer that holding onto and maintaining a steadily growing relationship with existing customers is of essence.
  • Capturing and utilizing data – information regarding the distribution of patients, doctors and drugs can be collated and shared through a central repository easily with CRM software to ensure that there is no discrepancy between supply and demand at any given point in time.
  • Planning a marketing strategy for drugs - while outright marketing of any prescription drug is considered unethical and unlawful, a 'soft' approach to plugging drugs is allowed. Issuing pens, small gifts and displays at pharmaceutical counters and doctor's desks catches the eye and tends to stick with a customer for a while. This can be planned effectively and in an insightful manner, if a software exists to collate sprawling data of all the pharmacies, doctors and prospective customers in an area along with all related open and closed activities.
  • Track campaigns - a CRM software can effectively manage campaigns for pharma companies who showcase their drugs in the form of camps and tours wherein products like nicotine patches, ORS sachets, etc. can be distributed and thus, marketed. The CRM solution also ensures clear visibility for a campaign’s expenses versus leads generated and converted.
  • Customized rules - A CRM software ensures that queries, cases and general responses to customers are fast tracked and tackled immediately using assignment rules and alerts.
  • Progressive improvements - working on feedback and suggestions received also ensures that the services and products provided in the future are better and enhanced. Also, escalation rules ensure that management at different levels is aware of all shortcomings in products and services.
Securing a competitive advantage in the future

Drug regulating bodies are becoming more and more stringent with their laws in an attempt to crackdown on unscrupulous approaches by certain pharma companies. There is an increasing amount of interference by local regulation bodies, to the extent that in certain parts of the United States, laws have been passed that do not permit doctors to share their patients’ prescription data with anyone besides the individual it is written for. With four states in the U.S. already having adopted this law in an attempt to thwart the steady increase in frivolous medical lawsuits, it is only a matter of time before such a law comes into force elsewhere in the world, so as to protect the fragile medical community.

While there are pharma companies that are fighting to have such laws repealed, claiming it is a violation of free speech protections, there is little hope that their voices will be heard over the screams of doctors asking for more protection and confidentiality in their work. In such a foreseeable future, imagine being a pharma company and not being able to know which doctor, or worse still if any doctor is prescribing your drugs or not. How will one plan marketing campaigns? How will one go about building relationships with customers not knowing whether or not they are prescribing medications from said company? With such scary possible prospects ahead for the pharma industry, it is best to strike while the iron is hot and rope in the help of CRM solution so as to streamline and fast track the entire process of introduction and marketing of drugs while they still have a shelf life of a few years.

Collecting data to deal with the possibility of having no data in the future due to restrictive laws is merely one handicap that can be overcome with the aid of a CRM software. Understanding, analyzing and sustaining customer relationships, leading to an improved customer retention rate is the eventual aim of any pharma company looking for future-proof strategies. This can be accomplished if a network exists where trends and details can be documented, analyzed and worked on. Besides these advantages, CRM in pharma also improves workforce productivity leading to a win-win situation for the company by automating recurring non-core activities and generating out-of-box reports and analytics. Increased and sustained profitability is an achievable goal for companies that plan well ahead of their competitors; this is also the case for forward thinking pharma companies that successfully implement CRM solutions.


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