Just type “CRM system” into Google and you’ll see pages and pages of hits. All different vendors, from very large to very small, are offering CRM systems. They even say they can customize their offerings for your company. So you can go ahead and pick any one of them for your company, right?
Wrong. The biggest gap in these CRM systems for life sciences companies is the adoption of CRM as a panacea instead of formulating a life sciences specific CRM strategy to support the system. According to Chuck Schaeffer at the CRMSearch blog, “Attempting to reapply a horizontal CRM strategy to a life sciences company will likely incur challenges and limited payback. Within a life sciences context Customer Relationship Management facilitates customer interactions across clinical, safety, support, sales and marketing operations—and each of these processes is unique for this industry.”
Schaeffer notes that for life sciences companies, business challenges include:
- Regulatory and compliance, with sampling, aggregate spend and transparency disclosure requirements such as the Sunshine Act expense disclosure.
- The special regulatory considerations with regard to marketing and promotional materials. To meet regulatory agency requests, companies must have customer communications management, compliance, and audit controls to approve and trace every promotional material delivered to any client.
Schaeffer continues to explain that CRM software is essential for life science relationships, but automation does not necessarily “grow your customer relationships, and consequently your business,” unless you’re using the right solution.
The Usage Gap
Adopting a non-life sciences specific CRM system without a strategy to support it leads to another huge gap—in usage. In fact, CRM’s dirty little secret is its low adoption rates. First, someone in the organization has the vision to deploy CRM (or expand an existing system), and takes this vision to stakeholders. Ultimately, they review the business case for the CRM and eventually it’s deployed, which is a long process in and of itself. However, once the CRM is launched in the field, it turns outthe field doesn’t like it and doesn’t use it. After all the work and effort to make the deployment ‘successful,’ adoption rates are low because people don’t see the value.
Closing the Gap
To close the gap in traditional CRMs for life sciences companies, choose a CRM system that takes into account the regulatory challenges faced by the industry. The temptation may be to build such a solution yourself, but that is not the most efficient solution. Don’t reinvent the wheel, get a tool.
But even more importantly, make sure you have a strategy in place for implementing your CRM system. Making your sales reps enter data into the CRM without any clear idea of how that data will be used to support initiatives, improve strategies, and improve interactions with the customer is simply wasted effort. And if the CRM is clunky to use and does not help reps actually do their jobs better, the field force will abandon it.Prolifiq’s systems have been specifically designed with life sciences in mind, and allows life sciences teams to quickly access, anticipate, and act to deliver the best in customer service and patient outcomes. Please contact us for a demonstration.