Dear House Rules,
I’ve always had a pretty easy time of striking up conversations in both my personal and professional life. As a pharma sales rep, however, I’m well aware that being a good conversationalist only goes so far. Can you explain the complex world of engaging with physicians in simple terms so I can be more effective in my job?
Engaged with a Doctor?
Dear Engaged with a Doctor:
Glad you asked! First and foremost, broaden your view of whom your target audience is. More and more, the physician isn’t going to be your primary contact in the practice. You’ll find quite often that you’ll be meeting with a nurse or physician assistant (PA)—licensed medical staff who are often the ones making prescribing decisions as well as bringing relevant information to the physician’s attention.
Meet with the right stakeholder
Depending on the type of information you’re offering, some offices might have you meet with a non-clinical staff member. For instance, if you’re bringing patient support resources such as copay cards, vouchers, or medicine samples, you might want to meet with the Medical Assistant or Patient Financial Counselor, if the office has one.
Presenting data in convenient nuggets
Your conversational skill will be enhanced if you can complement it with handy guides and other quick-reference tools. These tools can summarize key facts about your brand, or about clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the treatment of the medical condition related to your brand. According to one survey, 75% of physicians reported that they find it extremely valuable for pharma reps to provide these CPG pocket guides.
As HCPs find themselves with less and less time, they appreciate data that has been reduced down to smart, accurate microcontent, presented in a format that is easy to interact with and share.
Beyond the data
“Traditionally, data and new information was the most valued commodity, but what is now most valued is the way we access information,” says Lee Fraser, EVP, Chief Medical Officer, Digitas Health. “Reps who show HCPs better ways to find information, easier ways to navigate it, and simple means to share what they find, are much more relevant to emerging HCPs. When once the information in the text book was the thing that was most prized by med students, it is now the act of sharing a link to a site like Sketchy Medicine that carries value.”
Getting personal. Sort of.
While non-personal promotion is a tried-and-true way to engage with HCPs outside the office, the methods for doing so can be tailored to individual preferences. Do they prefer emails? Notices sent through professional platforms, such as LinkedIn? Peer-generated, case review platforms?
In other words, asking HCPs about their preference for receiving your content—and giving them a choice of platforms or channels—lets them have more control over how and when they access the information you want to convey. These non-traditional communication methods will enhance your traditional approach to engaging with HCPs.
Keywords: Engaging with HCPs, presenting data, non-traditional communication, peer-generated, beyond the data, microcontent, patient support resources, quick-reference tools, what HCPs want