In Pharma Sales and Marketing, It’s Not Just About Touchdowns Anymore

Pratap Khedkar, Managing Principal

One of the ways you use data is to mine that data to estimate or predict or project a customer's affinity. If I do these four, five channels, will this person like them?

And so you have to get to that level. You really literally have to get down to the level of one customer, as opposed to a different customer 10 meters away in the next office, who may have very different preferences on how they like to be interacted with, and big data is one way, one key, to getting there.

There's a lot of data, lots of new data sources which are necessary for us to get a handle on what the customer is thinking, what the customer's affinity is. And just integrating all the data…you could easily talk about 80-plus data sources in the course of doing a project like this for one company.

If you want to be customer centric, you can't measure success by touchdowns, you have to measure success by yardage, by your journey down the field.

In pharma, very used to saying, "Well, if I got an Rx, it’s a touchdown. That’s how I keep score. Anything that works to get me touchdowns is great. All the other stuff, I don’t quite understand."

But think about it: If you really put yourself in the customer’s shoes, the customer is not interested in your ways of keeping score. So everything you do—every little channel you employ, every little tackle, every little block, every pass, every run—they’re all working together and helping each other advance down field.

That’s the mentality you need to have on your metrics. Not to say, “Did I win or did I lose?”

The data infrastructure technology is not there. People have spent millions of dollars; don’t get me wrong. But I think they try to solve the technical problem first, because it is something they can throw money at.

Extracting money from this, once you’ve created [it], is very hard, unless you know what it is you’re actually trying to drive towards, what is that end vision of customer centricity.

But again, the right sequence is required. So how are you going to use the analytics? Before you invest in the technical infrastructure, do you know what you’re going to do with the outputs? Is your brand team, is your sales management prepared to use the output for the betterment of the customer? Will they be useful in getting to the right experience which you already designed?

So ask yourself these questions, so you can invest in this in the right sequence.