The Key to a Successful Managed Markets Strategy

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Recently, I was invited by PharmaForce to participate in a panel discussion on Managed Markets at their marketing and sales event for the life sciences industry, which was held in Princeton, NJ. Verix participated in this show along with our partners McKinsey Solutions to feature our latest co-developed analytical solutions.

Devising and implementing a successful Managed Market strategy is something that Pharma companies have been struggling with. These companies realize the importance of fully embedding managed care with their marketing and sales teams to create a more seamless experience across channels and customer groups. They strive to see the managed market team collaborate with marketing and with sales operations, but with each team having different priorities, they still have a hard time implementing such collaboration.

The panel discussion, with enlightening industry perspective from co-panelist Rick Suarez, Senior Director of Managed Markets Strategy at AstraZeneca, examined in depth the obstacles to achieving such collaboration and highlighted practical suggestions on ways to align Managed Markets, Marketing, and Sales teams.

Pharma companies have long realized the value of analytics, from CRM and reporting tools to more sophisticated analytical platforms. In recent years, as the amount and variety of data in hand has been growing rapidly, we’ve seen an influx of business intelligence and analytical solutions to help simplify all that complex data. We have tools for sales reps preparing for a call, we have tools for marketing teams planning a campaign, we have tools for executives getting ready to present the state of the organization, and tools for IT to slice and dice big data. However, what we ended up with is a collection of micro views of situations. There is a sense that micro views make it easier to grasp a problem and deal with it, which can work very well if your problem is local and isolated. However, for managed markets, such micro views simply don’t cut it. Using different platforms with different views of the organization makes it almost impossible to collaborate effectively. What you need is a macro view of your business –  a common platform that serves all commercial operations: Sales, Marketing and Managed Markets, with consistent KPIs that all parties involved agree on and track, to adhere to a single set of metrics. Such a platform presents a single version of the truth, which everybody in the organization can trust and rely upon.

A second key to success in business analytics in general, and managed market analytics in particular, is building your solution around the process. Pharma organizations are often overwhelmed with a large number of disparate reports. While these reports may be informative and interesting, they take you all over the place, without the context of your user process. When implementing a managed market strategy, you want to see how all elements involved, fit together and influence each other. You want to understand how your Pull Through marketing campaign influences sales, how your competitors managed care contractual change influences the market, and how your strategy changes affect your bottom line. Having a process centric view allows you to visualize all key elements and creates one comprehensive picture of affairs, where you can easily see what works and what doesn’t work.

Now, with the advantages of putting it all together to create a coherent, consistent picture of the organization’s commercial affairs, we have to make sure that we don’t step into another problem of providing too much information. A sales rep in the field, while important to know the status of the latest Pull Through campaign, doesn’t really need to see all details beyond his territory, product line, etc. To control this, you ought to be able to configure your analytical platform per user role, so each and every user sees only what they need (or want) to see within their scope of responsibility. Still, all context and correlations are available behind the scenes for a big picture understanding of the situation, but kept behind the curtain when not necessary.

Process oriented, role based analytical applications are needed to analyze and monitor every aspect of the Managed Market strategy – from Pull Through campaigns to targeted sales; they put control in the hands of the user and remove the dependency on the home office for analytical insights. In fact, oftentimes, the Managed Markets team is competing with the same analytics resources and is frequently prioritized behind Field Sales requests – making it all the more important to put the analytics in the hands of the users to get them the information they need, in a timely manner.