Article

Reaching HCPs in a Post-COVID World

April 2021
Reaching HCPs in a post-COVID world
Beyond the Barriers

HCP Communication Trends

Now what?

No-see restrictions for healthcare professionals may begin to ease, but that doesn’t mean setting appointments with HCPs will be easy. New communication patterns have been established during the pandemic and some (maybe most?) of these will continue to impact in-person access to medical professionals.

So, moving forward, how can you optimize your HCP communication strategy for future success?

Let’s look at three key areas:

1. The value of bringing value

“When the pandemic hit, companies were quick to adapt to converting live sales interactions with digital alternatives. After some initial trial-and-error, these companies started to learn about what worked … or didn’t. Now, we’re seeing more sophisticated and more effective communications.” 

—- Liam Sherman, Director of Business Strategy, meltmedia —-

Added Bailey Shoffman, Senior Project Manager at meltmedia, “When the shutdown first occurred, we saw a tremendous spike in rep-triggered email requests from our clients. A lot of content was pushed out all at once. For a while, we did see open and click-through rates go up. However, we are starting to see a downward trend in these rates again.”

Sherman and Shoffman agree that the only way to ensure your messages continue to be opened and absorbed by your HCP target is to understand what that HCP needs and deliver it. Said Sherman, “Know the trigger points for your customers. What are the most frequently asked questions your customers are posing? Make sure your communications address those topics in ways that truly provide actionable value.”

“Your engagement rate will definitely be higher when your reps are responsive to specific HCP inquiries. And these may not be related to just safety and efficacy data about your medication. In today’s environment, your FAQs may revolve more around access, reimbursement, patient education, and other support services or resources. So, first you have to know what the questions are, and second, you need to make sure your entire team is focused on providing answers.”  

—- Bailey Shoffman, Senior Project Manager, meltmedia —-

2. Linking internal resources to build a stronger link with customers

Identifying customer needs mandates that your internal communication network is strong, united, and prepared.

“In too many companies, sales and marketing don’t coordinate and align on customer communications. But that doesn’t work today,” explained Sherman. “Your sales and marketing (and regulatory and martech) teams need to be operating in sync. There shouldn’t be a battle for the customer’s attention, there should be a coordinated effort to deliver relevant, consistent, and timely messaging to your target audience.”

Questions you should be asking about your internal strategy:

When you get these pieces in order, you make it easier to build strong customer connections. “We are definitely finding that relationship matters. Rep-triggered emails sent over a familiar name are getting much greater response over those communications sent over a company signature,” noted Shoffman. “So, if the internal working relationship is healthy, the rep can remain focused on the customer and the external relationship will thrive. And there’s no doubt that intended messages will be received more effectively.”

3. The demand for on-demand

Keeping a physician informed is critical. But keeping other members of the practice informed is equally important. In the pre-COVID world, sales reps could conduct live in-service training for an entire staff in one session. The rep could also deliver patient education materials, answer access and reimbursement questions directly, and offer other support resources. Without the live interaction, how does your team compensate?

Welcome to self-serve options.

“The clinical staff is who gets things done. You have to make it easy for them to keep the practice in business by giving them easy access to the tools they need,” said Sherman. “If you have starter kits, free sample programs, educational pamphlets, patient diaries, or any kind of support materials, you need to make them available 24/7 online.”

This might include downloadable PDFs, user-friendly online order forms and quick-turn shipping of printed materials. It might also include a series of how-to videos that briefly address single topics (think again about your FAQs) and are conveniently available whenever the customer needs them.

“To find a balance that lets you deliver valuable, consistent messaging in a timely manner through media that the customer will respond to is a delicate challenge. But if you take advantage of the technology available and keep your entire organization customer-centric, you will succeed.”  

—- Bailey Shoffman, Senior Project Manager, meltmedia —-

About the Author
sue zobrist
Sue Zobrist
Sue works as the Copy Director at meltmedia. You can learn more about her on Linkedin.
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