The pharmaceutical industry is experiencing many challenges, including growing costs, new regulations, more provider consolidation, evolving operating models, and a volatile business environment. Traditional sales and marketing strategies, such as the sales rep model, is declining. This means that pharma companies may lose access to patients and healthcare providers. Many of them have started trying new commercial models (NCMs) to counter this.
Although many NCMs are prevalent today, pharma companies have not found a single universally successful model. Rather than a single model, pharma companies are using a combination of many new approaches to attract customers. These approaches have new channels to interest them and new content to retain their attention.
The new channels are clinical sales forces, digital tools, portals for patients and physicians, social media marketing, key account management (KAM), and dynamic channel management. The new content includes product-specific customer services; collaborative research and analysis with payors and providers; disease management; and customer-centric pricing and contracts.
Some companies, such as Abbott, Eli Lilly, Bayer, GSK, Merck, JNJ and Sanofi, have a mix of health-related businesses under one big umbrella organization. Others, including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Roche, are pure play pharma companies. Regardless, all of them have had to rethink their strategies to remain competitive.
NCMs are affected by external challenges, such as regulatory restrictions and pricing pressures, and internal barriers, including lack of understanding of new elements, patent expiration and rising expenses. This has made their impact equivocal.
For example, despite being touted to have great potential, digital tools have not seen much success. Similarly, although they are more expensive and have lesser reach, KAM tactics for institutional healthcare providers have been quite successful. The increase in specialist sales forces has also been fruitful.
Take notes from every NCM applicable to you to develop your own based on your audience, offering, and channel. Audience defines the customers you engage; offering, the value you provide; and channel, the media you use to create customer experiences.
The following will help ensure the success of any commercial approach you choose.
As the healthcare ecosystem continues to evolve, you will have to adapt to it to grow and be profitable. You should create a commercial model that focuses on customer-centric, value-based health outcomes, rather than sales, to do so.