Since the dawn of time (or a least the 1850’s) pharmaceutical suppliers have employed “detail men” who were the primordial precursor to the modern day “Drug Rep”.
Their numbers have consequently proliferated from a few hundred in the early 1900’s to over 400 000 who currently inhabit the universe.
The fundamental process of how the prehistoric detail man interacted with their more “ evolved” clients has changed little over the millennia until recent times. A basic process of entering the cave, and hitting the client over the head with a fairly blunt tool (lets call it the marketing campaign) until the client either submitted or didn’t!
Over time the Pharmaceutical companies (lets call them the dinosaurs) were wanting to evolve into more elegant beasts but they struggled with their sheer size and lack of grace when it came to adapting to the changing world around them.
As the pharmaceutical ice age was fast approaching and extinction of the current model was nigh, (and food sources became rarer) the dinosaurs started to eat each other, consuming one another at an alarming rate leaving the species decimated and a new species emerged “mega pharma saurus rex”. This didn’t really solve the problem, and eventually the mega pharma saurus rex went in search of exotic delicacies in far off and emerging lands. This also appeared problematic and this new exotic food source often came with a nasty after taste. Finally a new species emerged called “slimmed down saurus rex”.
The primordial drug rep was also evolving in the background (and running scared from his main predators – “down size rex” and “regulatory saurus”). Part of his evolution was to swap his blunt club-like marketing tools for a more elegant and refined weapon – the e-detailer , CRM and MCM systems.
The e-detailer was a logical step and the drug rep species evolved into homo–e–rep tus.
Homo e–rep tus , was now much better equipped to deal with the changing environment , by virtue of his superior tools. A new dawn had arrived with the impending thaw of the ice age by the “sunshine” Act and the fog of the ages had lifted revealing a new “ transparency”.
Homo e–rep tus was now able to wield his new tool with the confidence that can only come from exploring brave new worlds. But was this the right tool and how did it work ?
Homo e–rep tus learnt early on that not all e–tools were created equally, and that if he wanted to survive – then he would need to be able to show he was following the rules that the new era had ushered in.
The e-detailer came in 3 basic forms, the automated PDF reader (not much fun), the PPT on steroids (not much use) and the intelligent detail aid (just right).
The intelligent detail aid allowed him to show dynamic material to his clients in a way that could be informative, entertaining, compliant (and most importantly) could save the discussion contents into a cloud based database. This could later be called on for all manner of uses including commercial and compliance.
Using a sophisticated CRM – as a vehicle for his interactions, data and dynamic promotional material, Homo e-rep tus was able to satisfy the needs of all of the tribes he belonged to (marketing, sales, compliance). This new approach allowed homo e–rep tus to respond to the market needs in real time, and allowed the tribal chiefs to “measure” the effectiveness of their campaigns as well as being able to keep an “eye” on how homo e–rep tus spent his time.
Whilst the pharmaceutical industry has been “digitizing” for the past decade, the real improvements in customer and promotional management are only just starting to be felt. Regulatory requirements to monitor commercial interactions, track spending patterns, and monitor promotional claims has accelerated the need for better systems. The current wave of digital tools are a great leap in the right direction and will continue to get better as time goes on. In a world where the nature of industry to stakeholder interactions is being challenged, it is encouraging to note that the right digital tools are being developed to help facilitate this process.