Why pharma sales must harness the power of technology + human ingenuity

The experience of the COVID pandemic continues to change fundamental aspects of how many industries operate. For life sciences, it’s accelerated the growth of digital channels for sales interactions. Specifically, the tried and tested model for engaging healthcare professionals (HCPs) in-person is no longer the default. In Asia-Pacific, maximising the effectiveness of sales and marketing activity is essential. With research and production likely to be carried out elsewhere, sales and marketing are the principal activities of pharma and life sciences businesses in the region.

COVID accelerates change

However, COVID has only served to accelerate a trend that already had significant pre-pandemic momentum. Accenture research shows that over the last few years, HCPs’ preferences have already shifted. More than half of them say they want to engage more representatives through virtual channels, and 83% of more recently qualified physicians prefer information to be delivered digitally.


The digitalisation of sales has particular relevance for our region. And it’s clear that digital channels and information are becoming much more important. But that’s not to say the human element is no longer required. Far from it. Pure digital communications are only effective up to a point. The real power of digital is not as a replacement for humans, but in its ability to augment and empower people. So equipping life sciences sales reps with digital tools is essential. For example, providing them with data and analytics can offer more and deeper insights into HCPs’ buying and prescribing behaviour.

But data and insights on their own will only go so far. In addition, sales reps need to be able to harness those insights and data to make the most of the limited time and interactions that they have with HCPs.

Next-best experience

Consequently, we are now moving to an era where sales reps are using a combination of digital channels and data to deliver more relevant and timely information, and targeted messaging to HCPs. Rather than seeking to automate sales interactions entirely, which has been the case for some consumer markets, leading life sciences businesses are using technology to augment and empower human interactions. That means using analytics to enable sales reps to reach their customers more effectively. Data helps inform their decision making. And using knowledge from multichannel analytics can improve the quality and value of interactions.

Taken together, we call this approach Next Best Experience. By combining data and rules-based decisioning engines, it can greatly enhance how sales representatives and HCPs engage, maximising the value that both can achieve.  

End-to-end approach is essential

To get this right, it’s essential to put in place a strategy – along with the right tools and technologies – to create a seamless capability to create and deliver new experiences.  And in a post-COVID world, it’s never been more important to maximise the impact of every interaction.

Next Best Experience can personalise communications with every individual clinician and HCP, maximising the impact and relevance of every engagement. And in a healthcare world already pressed for time, those are benefits that few life sciences business can afford to ignore.   

To find out more about Pharma Engagement with HCP,  take a look here.


Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.

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Steven Pang

Managing Director – Life Science Lead, Southeast Asia​

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