Over the last several years, I have had close connections with Indian Medical Devices and Pharma industries. While Pharma industry has a choice of CRM software solutions, Indian medical devices industry seems to have struggled to find the right software solutions.
First, let us understand the categories within medical devices industry. We can broadly classify the industry into 4 segments.
Consumables: All the consumable products that hospitals use, from Cotton to Surgical sutures.
Drug delivery assistance devices: For example, syringes
Implants: Cardio vascular, contact lenses, orthopedic implants and others.
Equipment: X-Ray, MRI and all the others
When it comes to software needs, the first three categories have similar needs, and what equipment sellers need is different from these.
In this blog, I intend to dwell on the needs of the first three categories only.
CRM needs for devices companies-how different from Plain Vanilla Pharma CRM features?
The difference in CRM needs for devices comes from 4 basic variants:
Pharma is prescription driven, devices are not.
This means that while MR s in devices industry do call on doctors, it is to engage them and make them adopt their devices in hospitals, not for prescriptions.
Focus is on hospitals, not just doctors.
There is a Lead to Conversion process that is longer than in Pharma. But once there is a conversion to the company’s brand, (partially or fully) by the doctor/hospital, it is more “permanent” than in pharma
MR s in devices often take orders that are passed on to stockists for fulfillment to hospitals.
These basic differences mean that a CRM solution designed for the Pharma industry can- not be used for the devices industry.
What should a CRM solution meant for devices industry have?
Apart from the normal master data management (MDM), and all the administration related modules like Travel and Expenses (T and E), E-Learning and related processes, modules needed are:
What I have mentioned above are the basics. If a company wishes to cover all the marketing needs, there are more modules needed.
What is the devices industry doing today, to meet these solution needs?
Indian devices industry is estimated to have over 800 companies. Currently, the market size is about USD 5 Billion Dollars, with strong growth of over 17% year on year. MNC s still dominate large segments of the market. In terms of CRM solutions, the practices followed are fragmented.
MNC s tend to try and extend their Sales Force Dot Com (SFDC) based implementations in India. Some have succeeded: many have failed. SFDC is now considered “legacy” and heavy with high infrastructure, very high complexity, and high costs.
In the absence of too many products that can address their need, Indian companies use custom developed solutions meeting part of the needs or do most things manually or on Excel.
There are one or two strong Indian IT companies who have “Devices specific” CRM solutions. Many companies are adopting these solutions.
What should the industry adopt?
Currently, the Indian companies with field force varying from 10 + to even 1500+ are still figuring out what solutions to adopt.
Thankfully, there are one or two IT vendors who have developed suitable solutions. I am of the view that companies who have 25+ field force must adopt CRM automation. Benefits in information availability and efficiency improvement are significant.