“Speed and Agility”– The New Competitive Edge in Customer Engagement?

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Written by Eric Gubera, EVP Life Sciences at ARSENAL ADVISORS

The means by which Life Science companies engage with the most vital link in the delivery of its value proposition for patients– the HCP– has been turned upside down and given a hard shake over the past 2 years. The model has shifted from predominantly live interactions pre-pandemic to 100% virtual during its peak in 2020, and then all the way back again to a blend of live and virtual in 2021– ushering in the era of the Hybrid Model. Suddenly, developing customer-centric capabilities has become a priority. Speed and agility are needed for customer-facing teams to compete and succeed in such a dynamic, constantly evolving environment. Meeting an increasingly stressed, sometimes elusive HCP customer where and when they prefer has become the priority challenge to solve for in the new “normal”. The stakes are high– 1.3 Trillion approximately— with Brand performance implications for all and existential consequences for some who fail to adapt in time. 

The Race is On

The race is on to develop the capabilities needed to close the widening gap between Brand potential and actual performance in 2021.. One obstacle that has emerged is that many CRM systems in place are locked into one digital engagement modality or another which may not be able to accommodate HCP preference. This friction can lead to lost virtual appointments in the short term and negatively impact Brand performance over time. Certainly not a recipe for long-term success in the Infinite Game of competition in this sector. Last, gaining performance insights on Brand assets in time to course-adjust is another challenge compounded by the data-rich but an insight-poor world in which many companies find themselves right now. Waiting for the dust to settle on a given quarter before acting on the insights generated by the team’s field activity may have made the cut in the past but that is no longer the case. Having the ability to rapidly course-adjust and leverage assets that have proven their worth on the battlefield of customer engagement will emerge as a best practice in the “new normal”. The end result will be a much more customer-centric, customer-driven experience. This approach seems to have worked out pretty well for Amazon and Netflix. Their well-heeled competitors (brick and mortar stores and Blockbuster respectively) who clung to the status-quo and their shrinking balance sheets with a death grip soon found themselves left in the dust. A very similar inflection point has arrived in the war for HCP engagement for Life Science companies. 

Fortunately, necessity is the mother of all invention and new technologies have emerged to address many of these gaps. I had the opportunity to address these challenges in a recent interview with Bob Lempke, Chief Revenue Officer at MobileLocker, a company focused on empowering better customer engagement experiences for Life Science companies. 

When asked to provide a high-level summary on what his company was doing to address these issues Mr. Lempke was quick to chime in: ‘’So what do we do in a nutshell? We are all about access and engagement. We give the client a platform that is super adaptable, super easy to use – where reps and other people in the field can access the content that’s relevant to them on a personal level.” 

The New Normal for Life Sciences

He went on to describe in detail how the MobileLocker platform is designed for the new normal of the “Hybrid Model” because it equips teams with the capacity to move seamlessly from live to virtual engagements. “Additionally,” Mr. Lempke would go on to add, “Mobile Locker is ‘platform neutral’ which means sales reps can engage with any platform the HCP may prefer resulting in a more seamless transition for the sales rep and a more customer-centric experience for the HCP.”

When asked about how the platform was being received by the teams using the app, Lempke reported, “The reps love it.” 

He went on to emphasize, “Eric, our clients simply aren’t experiencing the pain points you mentioned in your opening segment.” According to Lempke, the idea was ”to have the capacity to share all of that content in any format. So whether it’s virtual, an iPad. face to face, or an email– the content is always available for use from the same interface.” 

Mr. Lempke went on to describe how the efficient delivery of real-time data insights may be one of the most beneficial values offered by Mobile Locker to clients because it has such a broad reach across the organization. He cited the fact that it helps customer-facing sales and medical affairs teams identify assets and resources which customers and KOLs prefer and those which might be falling a little flat, or simply underutilized. Often, these are exactly the kinds of insights needed to advance the cause and inform Brand and Sales leadership where course adjustments need to be made or where they might need to simply step on the gas to accelerate performance. 

Equipping customer-facing teams with digital technology that are platform-neutral and cross-functional can help them do a better job of meeting the HCP customer where they are and according to their preferences. (insert common use scenario 1 here)Reducing friction in this area alone may offer tangible benefits to performance as demonstrated in the first common-use scenario at the Medicine to Market Innovation Showcase in June. Lempke goes on to describe in more detail how teams are connected more intimately with the insights generated by the platform. ‘’Most important is the capacity to track what happens after I share it. So if I’m in a virtual meeting and I share a piece of content, a PDF, or whatever it might be with the HCP. Once that is shared, I now have access to everything that happens to it after I’ve shared it. So I know when they open it, if they open it, where they spent time in it, how much time they interacted with it. Each time they interact with it, I get a notification’’. I put some of these claims to the test with a couple of common use scenarios based on my recent experience in the field during the pandemic with the sales team I lead. (insert common use scenario 2 “Brand Insights in Real-Time”) 

Summary 

Suffice to say that finding ways to optimize the customer experience, and deliver brand insights in real-time can deliver the speed and agility sales and Brand teams will need to gain a competitive edge in the “new normal”. Regardless of what decisions are made, an objective assessment of these capabilities is needed before performance stagnation becomes the “new normal” for your Brand.. A great litmus test would be to assess whether your current organizational approach more closely resembles the customer-centric model of Netflix or that of Blockbuster circa 2004, shortly before they had to close most of their stores. Overcoming internal hurdles like status quo and vendor bias may be the only thing holding Life Science companies back from making the necessary adjustments to better equip their teams and delight their HCP customer. Sapere Aude is latin for “dare to know”. The 1.3 trillion dollar question is which companies will have the fortitude to seize the initiative? 

About MobileLocker

At MobileLocker, we’re passionate about implementing field sales and marketing solutions that are intuitive and painless so we can all focus more on selling and less on setup. Our platform allows seamless HCP engagement via any communication channel resulting in unmatched agility and capacity to immediately pivot. Access, share and track any content in any form on any device or communication format for unprecedented follow-up and value creation. MobileLocker clients gain more time with HCP’s and drive greater rep, medical and brand intimacy.
Learn more at: https://www.mobilelocker.com

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