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Big pharma sales and marketing executives detail top strategic priorities

Accenture survey reveals the importance of digital, multichannel and analytics capabilities for big pharma sales and marketing executives.


There is a customer engagement revolution in motion in the life sciences industry as it faces life in the “new normal” after the peak of the patent cliff. The industry is in an era when targeting specific populations and improving patient outcomes is critical for specialty products and in which effectively reaching more customers in rapidly developing markets is paramount for growth.

This revolution requires companies to rethink how they can reach patients, payers, providers and governments in both mature and emerging markets—at speed, at the right price and with right information for each target audience.

There is also a need for better collaboration via numerous channels between pharmaceutical companies and physicians, payers, patients and care givers. 

Infographic: Life Sciences Sales & Marketing Executives Survey Key Findings

Click here to download infographic. Accenture Research Note Life in the New Normal— The Customer Engagement Revolution. This opens a new window.Download Infographic [PDF, 167KB]

Key Findings

A customer engagement revolution in the “new normal” demands entirely new capabilities from pharmaceutical company’s sales and marketing organizations.

  • 11 percent of executives surveyed said their sales and marketing organizations needed a complete overhaul, indicating they were too complex.

  • This percentage balloons to 30 percent for analytics executives and 36 percent for sales executives—clearly indicating those two areas are ripe for fundamental change.

Investments in capability building will focus on three areas: multichannel marketing, digital marketing and analytics.

  • 83 percent of the executives said cost reduction was the highest strategic priority for them in 2013 followed by mastering multichannel marketing (70 percent) and improving digital effectiveness (60 percent).

  • These areas, in addition to the use of third-party service providers, were also identified as the chief means to achieve the cost reduction goals.

  • Over the last two years, nearly one in four direct sales force interactions have migrated to digital interactions with doctors, providers, payers and patients.

  • Over the next two years, executives expect to increase their use of digital interactions by 26 percent on average. 

Organizational/structural changes are also anticipated and will be reflected in the increased use third-party service providers and a leaner sales force.

  • 77 percent of executives reported using third-party service providers to augment sales and marketing activities.

  • 37 percent intend to increase the use of third-party service providers in 2013.

  • 66 percent of senior executives plan to engage third-party service providers to manage the increase in digital interactions.

  • Over the past two years, executives have seen a 13 percent reduction in their direct sales force. 

Life sciences companies seek new commercial models that are very different from those seen in the past where operational activities—such as multichannel campaign management, digital content production, product launch management and campaign performance analysis—are handled by external parties.

Mastering multichannel marketing and realizing the full potential of analytics is a top agenda for sales and marketing executives seeking to achieve greater marketing efficiencies and efficiently meeting customer needs.