Top 3 Challenges with Supporting Your Pharmaceutical Direct Sales Reps

Jason Robinson  |  February 20, 2014  |   Marketing Fulfillment,   Distributed Sales Force,   Fulfillment,   Life Sciences Marketing,  

Pharmaceutical_Direct_Sales_ChallengesEffective marketing to healthcare professionals is about more than just an appealing sales pitch. In order to maximize the value of marketing and sales collateral, pharmaceutical companies must control production costs, streamline fulfillment schedules, and must be flexible to changing industry regulations. In the absence of this kind of detailed planning, pharma marketing and direct sales campaigns can quickly become cost-prohibitive and disorganized to the point of irrelevance.

In today's life sciences marketplace, competition is stiffer than ever. Major players are consolidating their resources, at a time when start-ups are changing the way that business is done. Standing out in this crowd takes more than just a great product, it takes great marketing too. That requires a careful calibration of logistics and creative content to capture the attention of healthcare professionals (HCPs). Avoid these three common hazards of pharmaceutical marketing and sales force fulfillment in order to support your direct-to-physician sales reps with the collateral they desperately need.

  •  Challenge 1: Timely Fulfillment

It’s critical for any marketer in the life sciences field to seize the moment. That is why timely fulfillment is such a primary concern for everyone utilizing printed marketing assets and sales collateral. The processes for designing, producing, and delivering physical materials to pharmaceutical direct sales reps must all be efficient and streamlined to reproduce the desired effect on budget.

Thankfully, new technologies have made it easier than ever for pharmaceutical sales reps to access essential marketing materials at the moment when they can make the biggest impact. For instance, web-to-print portals and marketing resource management systems leverage digital on-demand printing and advanced e-fulfillment technologies, which increase efficiency and reduce waste in marketing supply chain operations. Accelerated printing and delivery methods eliminate common hassles and present new opportunities. When time is of the essence, physical marketing collateral can deliver.

  •  Challenge 2: Cost Controls

Reining in budgets for distirbuted sales teams is never an easy process, regardless of your specific marketing mix. In the past, printed marketing materials ran the risk of being over budget, behind schedule, and costly to produce in volume. The risks, at the time, outpaced the rewards.

As new opportunities for on-demand printing, targeted delivery, and refined ordering estimates have become a reality, the efficiency of all offline marketing has expanded exponentially. It is now possible for pharmaceutical sales representatives to manage all of their marketing needs within a prescribed budget. This facilitates a predictable cost structure and long term cost savings.

  •  Challenge 3: Regulatory Compliance

Life science marketing has become significantly more complicated in the wake of new regulations. Under The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, as written into the Affordable Care Act, any business making an appeal to healthcare providers is required to report any transfer of value that is $10 or more. However, there are 12 exceptions where a direct payment or transfer of value is not subject to reporting. These include product samples and educational materials that directly benefit patients. Determining when and how this threshold is reached is not easy, yet noncompliance carries with it financial penalties of $10,000 and beyond.

Pharma and life science marketers now demand better, data-driven insights into their distributed sales force and a new suite of tools to help create marketing materials that comply with industry regulations like the Sunshine Act. The key to regulatory compliance is balancing the necessity to meet the Sunshine Act’s data collection requirements with the need to engage with physicians and promote their products. The best solutions available for compliance management allow marketers to (1) track and report transfers of value, (2) simplify updates to marketing materials, and (3) manage disclosures. In today's life sciences marketplace, these sorts of precautionary measures are a crucial means for staying within the bounds of the law.

Thoughtful pharmaceutical and life science marketing present as many opportunities as they do challenges. Studies have shown that print and other forms of offline marketing are one of the most effective ways of marketing to physicians and other healthcare professionals. When you compound this fact with the time, cost, and stress-reducing measures that new digital printing and marketing fulfillment technologies provide, it is clear this is one strategy that needs to be a part of your marketing mix.

To learn more about how to optimize your marketing and sales force under the Sunshine Act, grab your free copy of our white paper, “Streamlining Fulfillment, Simplifying Compliance, & Staying Competitive for the 21st Century Life Sciences Marketer.”

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