Flynnsights // May 10, 2023

The Critical Role of the Field Force in Pharma

Field staff can be overlooked as key consultants and sources of valuable insight

Amy Zoldowski

Amy Zoldowski

Customer Experience Manager

Flynn recently attended the Pharma CX Summit alongside 150+ marketing professionals from various pharmaceutical companies. This two-day conference focuses on HCPs and patients, covering topics including the challenges of integrating multiple data sources to draw powerful insights, reaching and engaging customers across channels, and the most effective tactics to build customer relationships. If you’re looking for a practical conference addressing real-life marketing and CX situations in pharma today, we highly recommend you attend the next one.

In this Flynnsight, we’ll dive into a major focus of the event: the field force, or the staff who meet with doctors. No group is closer to HCPs or has a better understanding of their pain points. In recent years, the field force has become much more consultative to help HCPs be better providers for patients; it’s no longer just about “selling the latest.” Today’s winning companies equip their field force with data and actionable insights to pass along to HCPs, digging into treatment analytics to find the most valuable tidbits that no one else can provide.

What can pharma companies do to better leverage this vital and influential group? At Flynn, we help clients put the customer—both HCPs and patients—at the center of their marketing strategies, and we see many ways to approach this challenge

  • Elevate them: We recommend including the field force as a key stakeholder of insights and CX development groups, if you aren’t already. Like any client- or customer-facing role, field staff bring a unique perspective that can shed light on what’s really happening on the front lines. In any B2B research project, we often start with our client’s field force to help define the problem and collect firsthand knowledge about their experiences.
  • Map the HCP journey: Empower your field force by developing a deep understanding of HCP needs, goals, jobs to be done, and burdens, mapping their end-to-end journey—not just as it relates to your company, brand, or treatment, but from their viewpoint as a healthcare provider, including all their touchpoints. This allows you to strategically plan where and when to engage them, identify gaps, and provide the value that no one else does. For example, we helped a large financial services company understand why clients weren’t following through with a purchase via in-depth journey mapping, ultimately using those insights to improve their sales processes.
  • Keep iterating: Regularly solicit the knowledge and observations of the field force in building and evolving your insights strategy. We recommend using your CRM platform to systematically collect structured and unstructured feedback from your field force, integrating it with similar data such as 360-degree view of HCPs and patients.
  • Bring it all together: Combine these data sources to identify the big unmet needs: where and how can your field force provide additional value to HCPs? Then, equip your field force with solutions. For example, you may uncover a need for improved educational materials or content that helps HCPs make more informed decisions.

Flynn has helped many clients through these steps, leading custom research initiatives, facilitating journey mapping workshops, creating touchpoint and service blueprints, and analyzing processes and data systems to get the most useful insights to HCPs. Through these efforts, we’ve seen our clients not only become more focused on delivering value to their end customers, but also increase their sales and overall ROI.

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