nels that physicians prefer and to
which they most often respond.
Of course, tracking responsiveness and adjusting channels and
messages are essential in helping
to create a seamless experience for
the physician. That’s Integrated
Marketing 101, but it’s integration
at its most effective level.
Oncology is a prime example of
the efficacy of the cross-channel
team approach. Oncologists
require more—beginning with
more scientific information about
treatment options and clinical outcomes—and they want it delivered
by a representative who can offer
valuable clinical information that
will benefit both the practice and
But that’s just the beginning. Oncologists also want more patient
education and support, more help
for the office staff and more web
sites devoted to disease states. They
also demand that everyone on
the caring continuum—from the
oncologist and the oncology nurse
to the support staff, the caregiver
and the patient—be able to access
information when they need it.
Of course, oncology is not the only
growing specialty that lends itself
to this broad-based, cross-channel
approach. Americans today face a
changing landscape of health issues,
and that dictates a shift in how our
industry supports both physicians
and patients. The increasing prevalence of health problems rooted in
the obesity epidemic—conditions
such as diabetes and cardiovascular
disease—has had a profound impact on many medical specialties.
Similarly, an aging population has
created a surge in practices related
Primary care physicians need help
too. Often they are deluged by
patient and insurance demands.
Pharmaceutical companies can
gain more access to these doctors
by offering the very same things
that specialists crave. That means
more scientific information, better
customer service, and assistance
across the board in helping the
doctors achieve their ultimate goal,
which is to improve their patients’
outcomes. That increased access
can be obtained through face-to-face dialog as well as “virtual”
exchanges conducted by phone,
live video or chat.
It all adds up to the fact that sales
and marketing executives can have
their greatest impact on doctors
provided that they bring something of value to the table.
I think of it as a throwback to the
days when I started out, 30 years
ago. In a way, it’s “back to the future,” but with a bit of a twist.
The shrinking of the ranks of traditional field sales representatives is
now estimated at 40 to 60 percent
of the record-high numbers in the
1990s. This means that our industry
is no longer sending out armies of
representatives that physicians don’t
have the time to see.
Instead, we are shifting our focus and sending fewer, but more
highly qualified, traditional sales
representatives into the field,
and combining them with nontraditional teams that can provide
helpful customer service, valuable
clinical information, support for
patient education and the improvement of health outcomes
across the board.
Along with the new breed of sales
representative, we are providing
tools that are needed in the modern medical practice, and providing them in the format that the
2014 Tipping Point:
For the first time in conducting this survey, we found that a majority of all
physicians want to see more field sales representatives calling on them.