Many drug companies are looking into technology to market their products to doctors. 73% of providers own a smart phone and can look up medical and pharmaceutical information on the fly. In the near future more and more providers will adopt and integrate these tools into their practice to create efficiencies and share vital patient information throughout their practice. This digital revolution is a big opportunity to reach an audience that has been hard to crack without the use of expensive pharmaceutical sales reps. In addition, with recent legislation in healthcare such as: HIPPA, Sunshine Act, and PDMA many hospitals and clinics are evaluating their relationship with sales reps.
IMS reports, one of every five doctors in the U.S. was what the industry calls a “no see,” meaning the doctor wouldn’t meet with reps. Events like this and tighter regulation might change the return on investment of hiring an elite sales force. You wouldn’t want to pay someone $100,000 a year in salary and benefits when they cannot increase their sales due to the fact, they cannot get in front of their customers.
The alternative is a digital-marketing package to target doctors, including organizing webcasts for leading physicians to speak to other physicians about the drug.
What might a digital marketing plan look like?
- Providers sign for samples online with a digital signature. This would take away the need for a rep to stop by his/her practice.
- Make samples contingent on the provider watching a short flash video on the products safety and efficacy.
- Direct Mail product and disease resources to the providers office.
- Have online coupons for pharmacists and physicians to use on demand.
- Hold Web conferences at lunch or after hours to update physicians on label changes and updates to their products.
Is there a future for detail reps?
What are your thoughts? Can an entire industry replace its reps with apps and online ads or will there sales suffer?
Only time will tell if the old school model of pharmaceutical sales will evolve, change, or be digital.