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18 August 2021

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is now abundantly clear to us all, regardless of what industry you’re in. For Pharma, there was global 75% decrease in promotional activity, and a 500% increase in remote engagement as reps struggled to pitch their products to HCPs [1].

As an industry, Pharma was making headway on this digital journey years before it became a necessity. At Star OUTiCO we were doing the same to ensure that we were keeping pace with our Pharma clients, and leveraging the strengths of our multi-channel (now omni-channel), heritage in customer engagement, collecting preference data to ensure we speak to customers at the right time, via their preferred method.

…there was global 75% decrease in promotional activity, and a 500% increase in remote engagement…

A May 2020 survey of European HCPs, repeated in September 2020 [2], found that 31% would accept regular face-to-face visits from sales reps [3], while 13% wouldn’t; 16% wanted more interactions via email, and 28% wanted to hear from Pharma about adapting to remote ways of working, while 27% didn’t. Evidently, a mixed bag, and reinforcing the widely established conclusion that what’s needed for Pharma to effectively engage with HCPs long-term is a blend of remote, digital, and face-to-face interaction.

This shift in customer preference put the traditional Pharma salesforce to the side, and while those established relationships will never go away, to remain competitive in the ‘next normal’, focus had to swing from relationship management to a more agile, dynamic method of working: to future-proof sales teams more as engagement specialists.

…what’s needed for Pharma to effectively engage with HCPs long-term is a blend of remote, digital, and face-to-face interaction.

For Pharma companies who recognise the need to enhance their commercial offering by investing in their sales teams for the future blended way of working, this is where the Star OUTiCO Digital In-Call Excellence (DICE), development programme can add value.

Simply put, DICE is a unique learning and development solution for evaluating, internally benchmarking and optimising virtual selling, using real HCPs and the latest Microsoft artificial intelligence. It gives clear insight on where virtual engagement strengths and development opportunities lie within a team, delivered in a way that stimulates commitment to develop on a client’s omni-channel journey.

DICE is a unique learning and development solution for evaluating, internally benchmarking and optimising virtual selling, using real HCPs and the latest Microsoft artificial intelligence.

Clients learn how to improve their remote selling capability by gaining unprecedented access into insights, such as call signals, voice sentiment, best practice keywords, and buying intent.

A network of real HCPs, regarded as key opinion-leaders in their fields, take part in the programmes to measure rep performance and help drive behavioural change among a salesforce. This exposure to real HCPs challenges reps to be more thought-provoking in their sales technique and encourages them to ask ‘difficult’ questions – traditionally avoided, but ultimately producing a higher-quality outcome.

Thank you for an excellent, efficient, informative and enjoyable meeting this morning. It was so well organised. – HCP

The ‘Eureka!’ moment comes with our level of insights on offer, providing an even greater standard of engagement and revealing not only how individuals in a team think, but also how they feel. As a Microsoft preview partner, we incorporate customer, coach, and intelligent insights for optimal impact, and offer needs-based learning assessments built to evaluate digital in-call excellence.

I enjoyed the interaction a lot and feel we got really useful feedback from both days, so all-in-all, a very successfully run and professional event. – Participant

Although currently developed for virtual training events, DICE can equally be used for more traditional face-to-face training, for those clients wishing to assess different ways of working. In short, we can assess both virtual selling and engagement skills, and then assess face-to-face selling skills all in the same event, if that is what our clients require.

Once assessed, our clients are then able to determine what ‘good’ looks like to then move forward on their digital engagement journey. We can also support them to transition, through sharing best practice and defining the key selling and virtual engagement focus areas, both from real-life evaluation, observation and feedback, and from Microsoft artificial intelligence.

It was good to get the clinician’s feedback, because we’ve never done anything like this in the Medical team before. – Participant

Ultimately, the DICE development programme enables clients to take their customer-facing teams from where they are to where they need to be, allowing them to pause, evaluate, and reset their salesforce engagement strategy to succeed in the new normal.

Is your company facing challenges when it comes to effectively engaging with customers via their preferred method?

Get in touch to learn more about our Digital In-Call Excellence (DICE), development programme.

UK: Sarah Sinstead | 07850 725681

IRE: Nikki Toomey | 087 2349260

  1. Local opinion leaders: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31232458/)
  2. Ready for launch: Reshaping pharma’s strategy in the next normal, McKinsey & Company (https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/life-sciences/our-insights/ready-for-launch-reshaping-pharmas-strategy-in-the-next-normal)
  3. In the September survey, over 50% of HCPs in France, Germany and Italy said they’d be willing to accept these meetings with reps, but this dropped to just 11% in the UK.

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