Danny Lieberman, the founder of Pathcare, the private social network for healthcare, describes a private social network for medical sales representatives and doctors.
The pharmaceutical sales industry is changing, with more power in the hands of healthcare organizations, government and various prescriber influencers. Despite the change, medical sales representatives are the last of a genre of knock-on-doors field sales forces and still an important part of pharmaceutical sales and doctors.
A medical sales representative typically sees 5-10 doctors/day. If she works a hospital it might be on the higher side of the range and if she works in the field, on the lower side.
Now imagine technology that enables a medical sales representative to influence 300 doctors / day and leverage key opinion leaders with the doctors and the prescriber influencers.
MedRep is a pilot project we did in Central Europe to test the concept of expanding the reach of medial sales reps with private social networking. If you’re interested in trying this out in your product area – subscribe on the Pathcare Blog and we’ll get back to you and show you how you can use private social networking for healthcare to make quota and then some.
Based on the popular Open Source social networking platform Elgg, MedRep provides social software applications to focus exclusively on the interaction between sales teams and doctors – without making any investments in information technologies, CRM, sales force integration and data mining.
The initial concept for MedRep came from legislation in Sweden and Poland that prohibits sales reps from visiting doctors during business hours. The challenge for the pharma was, how to take advantage of the opportunity and create a unique offering instead of cutting back of field sales.
MedRep enabled a individual medical sales professional to impact market share with science, personalized to needs of physicians and prescriber influencers – with no information technology.
Medrep was based on the principle that a medical representative operates in the center of a “cluster”1 of doctors that she personally knows and meets with on a regular basis. The power of MedRep relative to conventional online advertising stems from a social view of learning, where understanding is socially constructed, and the message a doctor gets is actually less important than whom he gets it from.
However important a social view of learning was for the operational concept, there are significant market factors driving adoption of private social networking technologies for pharmaceutical sales. We fully expect this area to develop significantly over the next few years – since the cost benefit and Return on investment is outstanding.
Current market factors
- Innovative companies seek innovative marketing.
- Declining scientific level of reps.
- Open social media is not a good fit for pharma.
- Pharma selling methods are becoming less productive, in the UK for example, detailing generates just 10% of new brand market share by the end of their first year.2
- Inadequate feedback: The reports reps file after a visit are often too generalized to enable companies to identify which promotional messages work, which need to be changed, and how best to change them.
- Lack of control: Most reps spend much of their time on the road, where it is difficult to keep them fully informed, ensure that they are acting in compliance with regulations, and share best practices.
- Many physicians believe that the information reps provide is biased.
- Inconvenience. The demands on physicians are now greater than ever. Many of them do not have time to see reps during office hours or legally may not (Sweden and Poland for example).
- Creates parallelism of contact: Enables a rep to influence a network of doctors with authoritative data. Imagine 100 sales contacts/day instead of 10.
- Raises quality of science: Deliver medical science, personalized to needs of physicians and prescriber influencers in a highly efficient interface that saves them time: evidenced-based studies, pharmacokinetics, practical dosage tables, new pipeline.
- Reduces costs: Save travel costs, touch more doctors, more often with less effort
- Eliminates IT: No proprietary software or hardware and no IT/integration or support.
Running in the Rackspace Cloud, MedRep is efficient enough to enable a single product area to adopt the technology and improve sales productivity and provide an innovative and powerful sales tool for pharmaceutical sales placing the sales rep and key opinion leaders at the center of a “circle” of doctors and pharmacists.
Since Medrep operates in the cloud as a service, and does not require any proprietary hardware or software installations, the cost for an invidual sales rep is minimal compared to e-detailing solutions. At 15 Euro/month for a single sales person, Medrep provides a compelling value proposition.
1“Marketing and Social Networking: When Measuring Influence, Quality Connections Top Quantity”,
Zsolt Katona, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley – http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/551499/
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