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The Next Normal for Life Sciences Sales Calls

By Alex Patsko - April 14, 2020

As we continue to adjust to the changes in our lives being severely impacted by this invisible scourge, many opinions are forming on what the future looks like in terms of our interpersonal activities both at home and at work.

Did many of us adjust so naturally to working from home that we expect that to stay the new normal, even after we are cleared to go back to work?

Will shaking hands be a thing of the past and French “la bise” becomes forbidden?

In terms of a future model where work from home is contemplated, I start thinking about all of the customers and partners I have been working with over the last several years across many industries, how we’ve interacted in the past and how we’re doing it now. I then start looking at them through a new lens – how practical will it be for different roles in different industries once the cloud is lifted off our shoulders?

One industry that my company is working closely with and which has been severely and directly impacted is Life Sciences (Pharmaceutical and Med Products). Historically, the role of the Life Sciences rep is to meet face to face with doctors to have engaging conversations about their products with the intention of influencing their prescription behaviour, known as detailing. The content and tools used during those interactions fall under the category of Closed Loop Marketing (CLM), whereby the med rep is able to capture the sentiment of the physician to the various messages such that feedback can route back to the marketing team to constantly improve their messaging and engagement.

The new stay-at-home directives have forced these companies to look for alternative technologies in the category of virtual engagement, such that the sales rep can still drive the conversation but can do so from home. This typically requires a different type of technology and applications enabling “remote detailing” or even “self detailing” depending on how the engagement is established. This of course leads to different adoption patterns for sales reps and doctors.

Not knowing how long these remote work practices will be in place, I’m sure many organizations are questioning whether it’s worth the time and trouble to institute something new which may end up being unnecessary by the time it’s implemented. However, the chances are that these practices are here to stay…

Customertimes happens to play in this space with our suite of product CT Pharma, CT Mobile, and CT Presenter, aimed at sales force effectiveness. As part of the suite, we also support remote detailing but unlike other solutions, the original purpose of the capability was not to support a work from home model, but one in which the sales rep could engage with the doctor from a distance in her/his office by setting up a screen share (“co-browsing”) process that allowed for the same full interaction but without crowding around a single screen or device.

That capability works the same way whether the sales rep is working from across an office desk or working from home, no additional training or set-up required.

My guess is that this capability will serve us and more importantly, our customers, in what I am predicting will be the Next Normal for the Life Science reps. In other words, reps visiting physicians but doing so with some social distancing in mind. If that’s the case our thinking was ahead of its time and, as many other innovations, was underdelivering until it’s time has come… Sort of makes me think of Darwin’s Theory – the species that survive are the ones most suitable to adapt to the changes…

So, in spite of the gloomy economy outlook and social distancing discomfort, let’s all look forward to the new world that will certainly survive, adapt and thrive through the changes ahead!

This post was originally posted on LinkedIn.

Alex Patsko

Alex Patsko is the Head of CT Software and Managing Director of Customertimes Europe. With a passion for technology, Alex has more than 25 years of cross-functional experience ranging from systems integrations and enterprise software to telecommunications, consumer mobile applications, and even industrial & civil engineering. Alex holds an MBA degree from INSEAD Alex Patsko is the Head of CT Software and Managing Director of Customertimes Europe. With a passion for technology, Alex has more than 25 years of cross-functional experience ranging from systems integrations and enterprise software to telecommunications, consumer mobile applications, and even industrial & civil engineering. Alex holds an MBA degree from INSEAD and lives in Paris, France.