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Closed Loop Marketing or CLM has become the latest fad in the pharma industry around the world. More so because face time with doctors is decreasing significantly and pharma companies are exploring new ways to keep doctors engaged. The level of adoption of CLM varies from country to country. In India, from my point of view, CLM is highly misunderstood – I have heard instances where people have equated CLM to E detailing – meaning that both the terms are one and the same – each word replaceable at any time with the other in common usage.

With this article/blog, I am making an effort to break this myth – the myth that for effective CLM; E detailing is a pre- requisite. In fact, pharma companies can do CLM, without having to implement E-Detailing (which in reality works out to be an expensive proposition).

Let me begin by first defining what CLM means to Pharma

A very senior and experienced person in the pharma industry once told me what I feel is one of the best and most concise definitions of CLM I have ever heard. He said that “CLM is a way of redefining customer interaction between a sales person and the HCP. Through this interaction the sales person tries to gain insights on the interests of the doctor which is then fed back to marketing and brand management teams who help him/her define more personalized content and information for that HCP to subsequently to improve customer interaction. This process over time improves both sales and marketing effectiveness.”

I view CLM this way.

The simplest way to understand CLM is to first appreciate that No Doctor call is an independent call. It is a call with an objective. Every call is a successor to the previous call, and is influenced by the previous call. Every call also has an impact on the next call. With analysis over time – each successor call will be better than the previous call.

Instead of looking at a call individually, it may be better to look at a set of calls over a period of time and set specific small objectives towards these call sets. This can be ideally done between a manager and a medical rep where the manager monitors his set of X calls to track improvement of customer interaction with a doctor.

And so, there are 2 components to a Call Set

  1. Quality of the “Initial Call” in a “Call Set”.
  2. “Delta” that each stake holder in the “Call Set” provides, (Delta is the change in Call Content, intended to enable reactive calls to be of better quality.) which culminates in the Sum of all the “Deltas” that the MR delivers in his “reactive calls” in the Call set.

It is possible and indeed likely that E-Detailing provides the right platform for the “absolute quality” of the initial call to be better than leave behind literatures. However, the Deltas are as important, or even more important in the series of interactions. , What is important is the quality of the intrinsic reactive content of the Deltas, and not just the way it is presented.

To me, E-detailing is only one good tool to achieve this, and not the only tool.
While CLM has a higher objective of “closing the loop” and achieving results from a set of calls, E-detailing is just one among many tools that an MR has, with him. If your company has not deployed tablets or i-pad with the field, you can still practice CLM, and track results.

All you need to remember are 3 key things to practice CLM (with or without E detailing):

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