The Covid-19 Pandemic has and continues to significantly disrupt healthcare delivery. Around the country, the return of elective procedures and the re-opening of healthcare practices remains variable. Even as these practices re-open for patients, many locations are limiting or excluding industry access. Personal, face-to-face interactions are limited in some areas, are not taking place at all or may not happen for some time in other instances.

Despite this variability, pharmaceutical customer-facing teams are demonstrating tremendous flexibility in providing continued support to healthcare providers and other customers. When providers need help with specific patient needs, customer-facing teams and industry medical professionals respond with timely information and assistance. With the help of virtual tools, sales and access professionals are proactively targeting their HCPs/Accounts to maintain contact and relationships, as well as providing needed support.

In these scenarios, customer-facing colleagues must acknowledge that past business practices are no longer the way forward. Provider and account re-engagement require identifying what is the same and what is different.

SKILL What is the same? What is different?
Communicating value
  • Customer-facing teams must be skilled at communicating your product’s value proposition.
  • The relationship and interpersonal skills of “reading the customer and/or situation” now must happen virtually or over the phone.
Effective customer engagement
  • Individual customer-facing professionals need to thoughtfully and thoroughly prepare for upcoming customer engagements.
  • Each customer-facing professional must rely more on emotional intelligence to empathetically re-engage with stakeholders whether meeting them in a live or virtual environment.
Planning
  • Effective account and geography planning must take place to ensure overall goals and results are achieved.
  • The variability of Covid-19 impact to healthcare marketplace ecosystems across geographies requires localized strategies.
  • Many of the key trends impacting healthcare delivery still exist, yet there may be changes in importance and a heightened emphasis on virtual patient engagement that customer-facing professionals need to better understand and apply when engaging their accounts.
Leveraging CRMs
  • Reliance on company CRMs for analytics, information gathering, and planning is essential for turning insights into action.
  • Companies are looking to leverage the power of their CRMs to proactively communicate with HCPs/Accounts and appropriately tailor approved messages and resources, yet the skills to use these systems vary across the field, calling for enhanced/additional training and skill practice.
Coaching
  • Behavioral change and performance improvement happen with ongoing coaching and targeted development of strengths.
  • Ride alongs are less likely, therefore, managers need to sharpen virtual coaching and engagement skills, and provide targeted support as sales professionals navigate uncertainty and master different selling skills.

What is unknown and must be discovered?

In this unpredictable environment, there are many things that are unknown and are yet to be discovered.  As commercial leaders and learning and development teams prepare the field force for customer re-engagement, placing additional emphasis on discovery skills to uncover each account’s specific business, clinical, and operational concerns is critical. Additionally, tools to analyze local markets are needed to translate insights into effective account and geography plans.

At the center of a re-entry strategy is the need for all customer-facing roles to have the tools and training to re-engage accounts and healthcare providers who may have very different priorities, access requirements, and work practices.  Keeping in mind what is the same, what is different, and what must be discovered when designing and developing learning solutions will ensure the right learning strategies are put into place.  Lastly, L&D professionals must remain agile in their approach, frequently re-evaluating what is working and where additional support and partnership is needed.

WLH Consulting, Inc. and WLH Learning Solutions are uniquely positioned to support your organization with tools, training, and resources to adapt to new requirements and changing market conditions. We have an Rx for Re-engaging your Accounts/Providers Post-Pandemic learning solution that equips customer facing roles with the skills they need to successfully re-engage accounts/providers.

Please feel free to schedule a call to learn how WLH can help your organization.


WLH Consulting, Inc.
Author:
WLH Consulting, Inc.

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