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Comprehensive Doctor Engagement is the way to go

There is so much talk of Digital Customer Engagement and Alternate Customer Engagement channels these days. It makes me wonder how companies can talk of any one channel independent of others. To my mind, we need to look at enabling a Pharma company to operate all channels of engagement with a doctor, not just digital or otherwise.

For Pharma companies, their priority now, is to meaningfully engage doctors in a professional non-intrusive manner, whereby, doctors develop a lasting relationship with the company. This can only be achieved through “Comprehensive Doctor Engagement”. And so, CRM vendors have to make a conscious choice: do they want to limit their platform and services to only the so called alternate channels of engagement and play a small part or provide a platform that enables a total engagement.

In the Indian context, what are the essential components of such a comprehensive engagement currently? Let us look at a table below that lists the channels, actors and how they can all jell together

comp engagement

There are more channels evolving. But there are 2 points that are worth noting:

  • MR s and field managers will always play a significant part in most channels

  • It is unlikely that a company can do away with the traditional channels and carry out all engagements “virtually”. Doctors will definitely want a physical connection with the MR who will perhaps be the orchestrator driving all these channels being used in varying proportions.

CRM vendors

CRM vendors will have to play a role similar to that of an MR, i.e. be the “conductor”. They will need to do two things, at the very least:

  • Be the facilitator to actually “render” some channels. For example, E-Detailing. When it comes to say, a virtual conference, the core rendering may well be with a specialized tool that helps render a virtual conference and the CRM tool works in tandem assisting the tool.

  • Be the “conductor”. In this role, the CRM solution should have the capability to integrate all touch points with the doctor and provide a platform that enables these channels of engagement and analyses effort and investment parameters.

These are interesting times. We will have to see how Pharma companies start to modify their budget allocations for doctor engagement. In my view, Pharma companies will adopt a comprehensive approach, and will, therefore, look for CRM vendors who can adapt to managing this comprehensive engagement

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