mDetailer™ - selling to physicians anytime anywhere
Putting it simply, mDetailer™ is the digital equivalent of a medical representative’s visit, using Internet-enabled technology in the product detailing process to supplement and reinforce other offline investments. mDetailer™ uses the Internet to promote products among medical professionals.
mDetailer™ solutions vary in interactivity from those that provide static product information online to those that require doctors to go through interactive product materials online to those which involves the doctors in a ’face-to-face’ video detail via the Smartphone.
mDetailer™ has come into prominence due to various reasons - The healthcare professionals today are busier than ever, not only do they have more patients to see but the patients are also more educated and well aware.
Physicians’ need for medical information, particularly that around pharmaceutical products and services, is greater than ever yet they have less time available to see medical representatives (MR) who they so often rely on for this information. Hence mDetailer™ seems to be a feasible option for physicians who can avail information anytime.
The ubiquitous nature of internet, in theory, provides access anytime, anyplace and anywhere. This means that the busy healthcare professional can receive information whenever they want and that too in the comfort of their own home when they are far more likely to be receptive to it. Thus, the potential of mDetailer™ becomes clear.
On the other side of the coin, the pharmaceutical industry is becoming a more and more competitive place, with large number of companies trying to promote more products to a consumer base that has less time to deal with them.
Medical representatives visit physicians to provide product information and to campaign for their products so that the doctors will prescribe their products to the patients. Though detailing is very effective in increasing sales, face-to-face interactions are very expensive. Medical representatives spend considerable time just traveling from one physician’s office to the next, spending only a fraction of their time on the actual sales process.
Physicians often view detailing as a distraction - it provides much needed product information, but medical representatives visits during office hours interrupt them in their work and intrude on the patient-care time. The mDetailer™ products, on the other hand, use Web-based, self-service concepts to provide a low-cost option for detailing to the pharmaceutical companies. It also allows physicians to pull information as they need it rather than information being pushed onto them by the sales reps.
mDetailer™ applications are now emerging across the world. The market is still very fragmented with many different vendors, mostly small and private companies taking various approaches to address the ultimate goal of providing a cost-effective solution for product detailing.
Certain mDetailer™ products may use a 5 minute product educational program to the physicians on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. The companies can also offer incentives (cash/gifts) to the physicians for participating in their programs. These services are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Pharmaceutical companies can also perform user surveys to measure the effectiveness of their mDetailer™ programs, as well as to offer awards to increase participation from physicians.
A few mDetailer™ products also provide sample ordering services to physicians. Pharmaceutical companies can also use e-mail campaigns and then present personalized, interactive product presentations online. Physicians can also use the solution to experience live, two-way interaction with MR’s of the pharmaceutical companies. In addition, physicians can access medical references and latest medical information.
Though mDetailer™ provides cost effectiveness we cannot forget the personalised touch which face-to-face product detailing offers. Hence, it is best for pharmaceutical companies to provide a mixed blend of face-to-face detailing and mDetailer™ . They should try to increase mDetailer™ promotions but at the same time not completely eliminate face to face detailing.
mDetailer™ trends are picking up in USA as well as Europe pre-dominantly; India still has a far way to go. Average IT spending by Indian pharmaceutical companies is far less than their US counter parts. In terms of marketing and sales most of the Indian pharmaceutical companies spend money on ‘‘Sales Force Automation’’ software and mDetailer™ is not currently on their agenda.
But the fact also remains that the medical professionals in India are now becoming tech savvy. They now surf the internet for latest medical news but we are still a way away from total net suaveness from our healthcare professionals. But we can’t ignore the fact that Indian pharmaceutical companies today compete across the global markets, they have made their presence felt across the globe. mDetailer™ is a trend which will definitely pick up in India sooner or later. Top Indian pharmaceutical companies can surely be proactive and think about investing in this.
mDetailer™ has thus seen a very interesting journey. It started with a huge hype of being a killer m-business application for today’s pharmaceutical industry but faced somewhat muted success. But now mDetailer™ models are finally picking up in demands by pharmaceutical companies and are fulfilling the initial hope and promise.
Marketing and selling to doctors
How to create lead generation and sales systems that get results
You’ve got to create ongoing, effective lead generation systems
Doctors are notoriously hard to reach. They are unbelievably busy, refuse to use technologies like voice mail and email, and are protected by the most aggressive receptionists on the planet.
“No one talks to my boss without my permission, thank you very much.”
Thus, lead acquisition costs can quickly spiral to the point of unprofitability.
To be successful, you’ll need to rigorously follow time-tested direct response principles: test new ideas, track results, roll out winners and continuously improve and refine your efforts.
Plan to test a variety of media to generate your leads, including direct mail, trade publications, fax, paid search, search engine optimization, e-newsletters, opt in email blasts, affiliate marketing, publicity, telemarketing, trade shows, schmoozing, you name it.
As you get results, you’ll need to evaluate the cost /benefit of each medium based upon its respective return on investment (ROI).
The offer is key
The most important thing always comes down to your offer.
In other words, the only way to get doctors to pay attention to you – let alone respond – is to provide them with a very compelling value proposition, prove why they should choose you, and then give them an incentive to act now.
The offer could be some kind of discount, a free white paper, e-newsletter subscription, seminar, or even something doctors or staff can use personally. Spend whatever time is required to develop strong offers – your success depends upon it.
You must have a unique selling proposition
Developing a unique selling proposition is marketing 101, so it is surprising how few firms really have one. Right now for example, medical software is a hot category, yet when I look at the hundreds of competitors fighting for market share in that field, most say exactly the same things. “It’s paperless, fast, easy, etc.”
Doctors are skeptical, and they have heard it all before. If you cannot clearly deliver a unique benefit in 60 seconds, and then prove your claim, beware.
On that note , you’ll do much better with a specific message than a general one. Always offer specific solutions to specific problems.
Get your doctors’ attention immediately
Whether you are utilizing marketing or direct sales, it is absolutely imperative that you capture the prospect’s attention – and establish credibility – right away.
If you try to build to a big crescendo, you’ll lose them before you even get started.
Add value to their day-to-day lives
Doctors are smart and love learning, yet they feel overwhelmed. It is nearly impossible for doctors to keep current on everything relevant to their patients, let alone the myriad of other issues that come up every day.
Providiing useful, relevant information and education is the best way to not only get their attention, but also to earn credibility. As a rule, doctors love to deal with smart people who have unrivaled expertise within their respective fields.
Don’t come across like a clown – but don’t be a robot, either
For some reason unbeknownst to me, most people remain intimidated by doctors. While you obviously cannot don a plaid suit and act like a used car salesman, you should remember that doctors are people too.
Whether you are reaching them through marketing or selling to them face-to-face, you need to communicate with them like a real person. And while it varies by circumstance, it often helps to make things fun for them.