Maximizing sales effectiveness with e-detailing

At eyeforpharma’s recent 5th Annual Marketing ROI for Pharma Congress in Amsterdam, Marianne Anderson, marketing manager for Pfizer in Denmark, outlined the results of an e-detailing pilot her

At eyeforpharma's recent 5th Annual Marketing ROI for Pharma Congress in Amsterdam, Marianne Anderson, marketing manager for Pfizer in Denmark, outlined the results of an e-detailing pilot her group completed in conjunction with Boehringer Ingelheim to promote Spiriva. The pilot, she says, has given the group an enticing glimpse of the increases in effectiveness that can be gained when reps are empowered with e-tools for detailing.

In Denmark, like most other countries, Anderson says, sales reps are having a tougher time getting time with physicians and seeing fewer than ever before. And that she says pushed Pfizer and Boehringer to pursue the e-detailing pilot for Spiriva.

We had some basic concerns and issues to address, Anderson says. First, we had a complicated and information-rich topic to communicate and we also had a need for focus and structure in our detailing.

In addition, she says, the group wanted to improve the quality and consistency of the messages it delivered and needed to win the attention and interest of GPs. They also needed to achieve more frequent and longer interactions with doctors and wanted to provide messages in a way that meshed with doctors's decision-making habits and information needs.

We think we know what reps are doing out there, but often the dialog between reps and doctors doesn'st exist or is not happening in a structured way, Anderson says. We needed a tool that would allow us to be there.

Before launching the pilot, however, she says, her group had to convince many within the organization of the potential of e-detailing. And there were many considerations to be taken into account, such as whether e-detailing was something physicians wanted and how to make it simple for the reps to deliver. Anderson's group also needed to consider whether e-details would improve the effectiveness and quality of reps's meetings with doctors, whether such an approach would catch the attention of GPs, and if the physicians would be willing to participate in a second, traditional detail afterwards.

Anderson says they also faced obstacles that included technical problems and getting the reps on-board with the approach and getting them trained. The team worked with Agnitio through a series of kick-off seminars and training to launch the four-week pilot and analysis.

The e-detailing presentation, Anderson says, made a complicated topic simple and had just four basic parts that demonstrated the problem to the physicians, explained what it means for patients, revealed how Spiriva addresses the problem and offered solutions for physicians.

To measure the success of the initiative, Anderson says, the group needed to consider the general receptiveness of physicians and reps to e-detailing and to examine the effects on sales performance

Each of the 400 GPs that participated in the pilot was asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed their experiences. And reps completed written questionnaires as well as short telephone interviews to report on successes and failures during the pilot.

SFI (Sales Force Impact) Monitoring also was used to record all e-details to document the length, time spent on specific topics and data that was of the most interest to the physicians.

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the physicians felt the e-detail was superior to paper-based details for explaining complex issues and 95% rated the presentations as good or very good. Most participants (92%) also say they believe the e-detail provided a good overview of the topic and 89% report it was a faster method by which to obtain information. And 80% recommended that the companies should continue with their e-detailing efforts.

The results of the pilot were equally positive among reps. Anderson says all of the reps participating in the pilot found the e-details easy to use and navigate. Eighty percent (80%) of rep participants say the e-details allowed them to get more time with physicians and 60% said it made it easier to sell.

The reps also say they did not find the second detail more difficult to complete after the e-detail. Anderson says the reps became better at the e-details with time and that was highly motivating for those participating in the pilot.

Reps had control of the communication and were able to achieve a more structured dialog with physicians, she says. We won the GPs attention with this and increased the convenience of the message.

Reps, Anderson says, can tailor the presentation to the needs of individual physicians. And that, she says, gave reps a lot of confidence.

The group also saw a willingness among GPs to schedule follow-up meetings that Anderson says was a direct benefit of the e-details. She and her colleagues are already working on a second e-detailing pilot

This is not rocket science, she says. You just must convince others within your own organization that this is worth doing. The resistance is within our own organizations not with the doctors. Physicians are open to this; they are ready.

To learn more about e-detailing and other technologies for improving sales and marketing effectiveness, be sure to register for eyeforpharma's e-Detailing and Online Marketing conference, May 8-9 in Berlin. For additional details, visit