The 2020 Pharma Playbook Addendum: Augment Your Frontline To Boost Sales Momentum

In the midst of a global pandemic, the role of commercial field teams evolved right before our eyes. “Nice to have” sales tactics like digital sales aids and tele-detailing instantly became mandatory as brand teams and sales trainers scrambled to modernize Provider-Rep engagement. Now that field teams are starting to master these virtual interactions and settle into “the new normal,” pharmaceutical manufacturers are turning their attention to the next phase: make up lost sales.

Fortunately, this initial shift to virtual engagements and supporting infrastructure (e.g., technology) enables manufacturers to complement field promotions with more personalized services for providers and patients. Augmenting your frontline with three proven strategies will create value for these stakeholders, and ultimately, boost sales momentum.

Boost Prescription Volume

New safety protocols, limited staff interactions, and appointment-based meetings will redefine the “total office call” for field teams permitted back into the office. Accordingly to a recent survey by EVERSANA, many providers expressed their preference to maintain virtual interactions and receive digital patient education and co-pay cards. Provider-Rep engagement will evolve as teams determine the right mix and frequency of promotional touchpoints for each audience segment.

Now is the time to take advantage of two factors: providers’ new acceptance of virtual engagements and your new set of PRC-approved digital materials. Territory lines and mileage are no longer contributing factors to which providers you engage and how frequently. Consider contracting with an inside sales team to expand into new territories or complement the promotions of existing ones. In spite of best efforts, brand awareness and new-to-brand prescriptions significantly decreased over the past three months. Amplifying share of voice can reinvigorate the brand story and generate more writers, compounding your effort to increase prescription volume.

Boost Product Affordability

As new changes in insurance coverage and policy adjustments are implemented, providers and patients will face yet another set of access barriers. Prescription abandonment will likely increase due to complexity, financial constraints, or unfamiliarity of affordability programs. It’s vital the field team is quick to understand and communicate these changes to providers. Additionally, manufacturers can deploy an affordability program model that streamlines copay claims processing, benefit  verification, and prior authorization handling. For patient assistance programs, secure websites can be utilized for “self-serve” patient submission that automates the intake process, provides instant eligibility determination, and uses e-signature to confirm patient approval. Continuing to invest in digital solutions will not only eliminate providers’ burdens, it will increase speed to therapy and ensure every prescription is managed properly.

Boost Therapy Adoption

The dramatic shift from in-person medical care to telehealth is here to stay. According to a recent survey by EVERSANA, nearly 93% of primary care providers transitioned to telehealth to treat chronic conditions in the midst of COVID-19. Widespread acceptance of telehealth from all stakeholders – patients, providers, payers and even regulatory groups – coupled with the “patient-as-consumer” culture is driving demand for readily accessible medical care. Patients are now embracing new ways to manage their diseases and therapies.

A powerful catalyst for innovative healthcare has been ignited and it’s time to rethink how to improve therapy adoption through alternative distribution models. Whether your product is a brand, generic or specialty therapy, consider offering direct-to-patient dispensing through a specialty pharmacy. Convenient, dependable, and fully customizable, direct-to-patient dispensing enables you to manage the patient experience right out of the box. Additionally, specialty pharmacy teams routinely connect with patients to ensure compliance, assist with reimbursement, and issue refill reminders. Keeping patients engaged with your brand is a key component to securing adoption and building loyalty.

Healthcare will never be the same post-COVID-19 and we should all be so grateful. It’s time to rethink how to share our brand story with providers and the role we play in enhancing the patient experience. By embracing the new reality and creating catalysts for change, we can dramatically improve the lives of our patients…all because we had the courage to lean in.