Virtual detailing takes center stage but….

QUICK READ: Some pharma companies are doing a great job with virtual detailing and experimenting but it would be a mistake to think that virtual detailing will succeed when docs are busy seeing patients again.

You might think that pharma is hurting because of COVID-19 but it seems they are managing just fine. New branded Rx’s were up almost 5% at the end of May even though close to 70% of patients who are in fear of seeing an HCP are holding off care.

However, the news is not all good. While 36% of HCP’s are considering virtual meetings with pharma reps in the next few weeks, only 34% are willing to take a meeting in-person before 2021.

Some pharma companies see this as an opportunity and are developing in-house tools so reps can stay in contact with HCP’s. The challenge is ensuring the content is enticing enough to virtually talk to a physician as most frontline physicians find that in-person meetings with pharma reps are currently non-essential and do not confer enough benefit to justify endangering their patients and staff.

When it comes to the business end of a healthcare practice some are very concerned. Forty percent say they could go under unless things change and another 40% have laid off staff.

A huge opportunity

Pharma has a huge opportunity to learn from virtual detailing. So far most physicians are willing to talk to reps virtually but once patients start coming through the door again one has to wonder is they will have the time to engage virtually with reps.

The keys to virtually detailing physicians are:

1ne: Make the interface easy to navigate so that little learning is needed.

2wo: Stop with the “sales talk”. Give them the data they want and need and don’t be afraid to share your market research on patients with them. They eat that stuff up.

3hree: Any virtual detailing has to be integrated with your sales system so that, for example, a salesperson can quickly turn the detail over to an MSL if the conversation warrants.

4our: You need to define success metrics upfront. A contact, for example, that lets five minutes is not as beneficial as one that lasts 20 minutes.

5ive: Listen to what’s happening. As more people go back to their doctor physicians may not have time for virtual detailing.

6ix: Any internal system has to be scaleable so that you can integrate learnings and metric measurements.

7even: Ask physicians for feedback after each online detail but keep it short.

8ight: Physicians should have a way to request product samples if applicable.

The key to this whole change is going to be “who can move the fastest” as the market changes. It’s going to challenge the structure of pharma organizations.