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Sales and Marketing Strategies in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The impact of legislative changes, economic turmoil and an increase in competition from generics and biosimilars is forcing change in the pharmaceutical industry. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, there is pressure to ensure that sales force effectiveness is maximized, and the correct sales and marketing strategy implemented.

The success factors that determine an effective sales and marketing strategy depend on the area of practice. It is important to draw a distinction between traditional physician or prescriber visits, and more senior level market access discussions with payers and healthcare providers. The most effective strategy to pursue will depend on what kind of audience is being targeted.

Local doctor visits

Sales reps conducting pharmacy or hospital visits have traditionally focused on free samples, with pharmaceutical companies spending billions of dollars per year on this technique. Another potentially expensive approach has been gifting: courting clients with expenses-paid trips, meals and the like. This sales strategy is additionally under fire in many countries from legislative changes making this kind of activity illegal.

With economic restraint a dominant factor, big pharma is eager to find more cost-effective ways to convince physicians of the value of their products, and this is where technology can come in. Mobile sales platforms allow for a smoother interaction with physicians, and the interactive approach can be carried through to social media forms of e-detailing. Platforms of this kind offer a new level of sales integration, with customer relationship management, presentation tools and analytics-based closed loop marketing all in one place.

Communicating with payers and healthcare providers

A different toolkit is needed when it comes to senior-level discussions with payers, key opinion leaders, budget holders or formulary decision makers. Scattershot mass market sales techniques are ineffective because every stakeholder requires a tailored approach. While mobile platforms are a promising avenue, generic and relatively low cost sales apps are not able to integrate the complex evidence on health economic value and health outcomes upon which the success of such discussions hinges.

BaseCase is an app building platform for market access professionals eager to benefit from the technological innovations of tablet-based marketing, but wary that their arguments will lose force or credibility when presented in this way.

Value communication apps that are created specifically around the health economic evidence relevant to a particular product and client can be built and accessed on multiple devices such as the iPad or a laptop. Crucially at a time of cost-restraint, pharmaceutical companies are able to develop and adapt these tools in-house, saving time and money.