Elevating HCP Experience with a Digitally-Enabled Field Force

March 2023

At the March DHC Summit, hosted with Sanofi, North Highland’s Amy Turnquist led a discussion with GSK’s Geoff Nocar (Lead, HCP Experience), Essence Nixon (Director, Enterprise Field Effectiveness), and Crispin Hallam (Head, Enterprise Operations) on lessons they’ve learned while working together to elevate HCP experience through a digitally enabled field strategy.  

 The discussion highlighted mounting industry pressures around HCP access, an ocean of increasing customer data, and an increasingly competitive landscape as factors requiring pharmaceutical organizations to think differently about how to activate the field to enable omnichannel engagement. As Essence Nixon explained, orchestration between the field and digital is “where the magic happens.” 

 The video of this conversation is available now as a part of the Post Summit Resources page. 

GSK’s Before/During/After Vision for Digitally Enabled Sales Rep Visits:

  • BEFORE: Think about how to apply machine learning in ways that help them to be in the right place at the right time with the right message. Explore opportunities to help reps do what they do best by simplifying their job and focusing more on client engagement and less on territory analytics. 
  • DURING: Up-skill your sales reps to best leverage available channels – digital and analog, in-person and virtually. Avoid slipping back into pre-COVID norms where the face-to-face visit with the HCP was the measure of success. 
  • AFTER: Make it easy to capture data from your sales reps to collect insights based on their relationships and knowledge of the HCPs that can be used to optimize NPP and downstream interactions.

Potential Barrier to Success: The Importance of Getting the Sales Rep Bought In

To ensure that GSK brought the heads and hearts of their field force along on this journey, the team took the time to create and communicate the case for change, building alignment at all levels across the field and supporting functions before launching the initiative. Once the vision is embraced by reps, sales leaders, and other critical stakeholders – once you have established trust that building more digital tools into the process will benefit all involved – the mindset shift required to support these new ways of working starts to take shape.

Crispin Hallam Head, Enterprise Operations, GSK

Crispin Hallam suggested anchoring key value messages into your communications with the field to articulate the benefit to the sales rep of adopting new data-driven mindsets. “Frame it as ‘Our reps are the face of our company to our most important customers; their role as a representative is the vital connection that will never go away.’ And we can help them be even better at that. Their success is not based upon their ability to sift through oceans of data themselves because we can provide them with the insight to help them be more efficient and successful in their role.”

Integrating with Marketing/Commercial - Tying it all Together

Experts recommend having a communication loop that helps sales reps see the payoff of sharing post-interaction details and engaging with a data collection engine.  Omnichannel orchestrators should be sharing the “what happens next” so that the sales team can see and trust that the digital integrations are delivering an improved customer experience for their HCPs.

Essence Nixon shared that she engages sales managers and leaders to help share the vision, partnering with the sales vice presidents across the enterprise. “Ensuring that our sales leaders understood the journey that we are on, their role in the journey and the messages they needed to share with their teams was critical.”

Essence Nixon, Director, Enterprise Field Effectiveness, GSK

Geoff Nocar stressed that leaders in marketing / commercial roles need to ensure that education and communication with the sales teams is ongoing. Start by sharing the omnichannel strategy to build trust and sales team integration and then reinforce with change management and capability support over time. “We want to change the perspective of the field to see omnichannel not as an enemy that might replace them, but a wingman or wing-person that is going to help them sell more which will drive an internal dialogue that sounds like: ‘if I interact with my Veeva system or CRM system in a certain way, I’m going to increase my sales because all of the digital or omnichannel activities around me are going to help me do that’.” 

Geoff Nocar Lead, HCP Experience, GSK

As this panel’s moderator, Amy Turnquist, put it, “it’s exciting to see an organization really taking a leading role in rethinking how we need to approach the field force in terms of the way we use data and the way we enable the field with digital platforms to be an active partner in delivering omnichannel engagement.”

Amy Turnquist, Partner, North Highland Consulting
About the Author
Christine Franklin

Christine Franklin is the Executive Director of the DHC Group. You can learn more about her on Linkedin.


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