It’s a simple proposition: Improve interactions between the field force and healthcare professionals, and improve commercial performance. But without trustworthy data and efficient sales operations, significant improvements to customer management are nearly impossible.


When a leading biopharmaceutical company wanted to implement new customer strategies and ultimately improve customer relationships, executives started with a series of key foundational changes.

The challenge

Many global companies are saddled with data in country, regional or business unit silos, which often leads to several different sales force automation (SFA) systems, inconsistent reporting solutions and metrics, and limited international reporting.


In life sciences, companies are looking to centralize, turning to single, unified suites of CRM capabilities at global, international or regional levels. This shift enables cost-effective strategies to improve customer engagement. But a truly unified and well-functioning suite of CRM capabilities needs to integrate with one common data repository. Otherwise, sales leaders struggle to pull ever-changing data, analyze it, and make decisions to improve customer management at the rep, manager, country and cross-country levels.


Without a scalable sales planning solution, the SFA and data reporting won’t be consistent with sales planning efforts like targeting and territory or customer alignment.


The biopharmaceutical company consisted of two divisions, each using its own commercial systems. There were few common reporting metrics, so the company had limited insight into regional or international performance. While expanding global operations, the organization wanted to improve its commercial model and, ultimately, customer engagement.


The first phase of this international initiative required that the company streamline its operations across regions and countries, merging two legacy divisions into one international unit. It also had to develop multi-country reporting capabilities and adopt a suite of CRM capabilities to enable new strategies and expansion.


However, the initiative faced three significant challenges. First, there were disparate customer data sources across divisions and legacy systems. Second, a reporting capability had to integrate with this single CRM and a common data repository in order to function properly. And third, the company’s current approaches to sales planning (targeting and alignment) couldn’t scale to support the strategy.


“We were using spreadsheets for sales planning,” the company’s head of CRM and analytics says. “We’d pull data from the CRM and share it with a country. They would iterate over email with the field and then we’d load the end product back into the CRM. It was too labor intensive.”

“To implement what we did within our budget in such a short span of time—it’s an awesome achievement.”

Head of CRM and analytics

The solution

Although the initiative involved multiple vendors, the company and ZS formed a seamless partnership from the beginning. It was “one of the critical success factors,” according to the company’s IT lead. “ZS is the definition of a partner,” he says.


Together, these partners set out to:

  • Build a single, commercial data repository
  • Integrate reporting with SFA to support decisions and drive strategy—all powered by ZS’s cloud-based business intelligence solution
  • Streamline, harmonize and automate cycle-based alignment and targeting, using ZS’s Javelin Commercial Planning Suite to ensure robust and efficient sales planning

“And we did it all in nine months and on budget,” the IT lead says.

ZS’s own ready-to-implement technology solutions were essential to the project’s speed. With these technology solutions, the company can:

  • Report KPIs to the entire sales organization, from the head of international to field reps via mobile reporting
  • Target customers more effectively using third-party data and profiling from their SFA system
  • Support territory and customer alignments for more than 90 teams across nearly 60 countries

The impact

The company has built a future-proof and scalable platform that supports continued commercial business model innovation. The company can now improve its customer management with analytics, sales planning and SFA. And sales leaders can base future strategic decisions on solid data, facts and reporting.


Through the integration of ZS technology solutions, this company has:

  • A flexible reporting capability that has enabled new local, regional and international insights across products and divisions
  • A better and more accurate sales planning process that takes half as long
  • Integrated sales and activity reports within the CRM that provide reps with a one-stop shop for customer management

“To implement what we did within our budget in such a short span of time—it’s an awesome achievement,” the head of CRM and analytics says.

Adds the IT lead: “I don't know if anybody has tried to do what we did, on the scale we did. We delivered SFA, Javelin, reporting and iPads, all integrated. That number of countries on that time frame with multiple partners around the table, and yet still achieving the successful results we did—it’s amazing.”