28.05.21 ADVANZ PHARMA’s Global Director of Commercial Excellence David Johnson outlines the company’s investment in its omnichannel excellence programme and commitment to employees through new ways of working. A rapid increase in the use of digital channels in recent years has meant healthcare professionals (HCPs) are consuming and communicating information in a vast number of ways. That’s why it has never been more important to place HCPs at the centre of the customer experience, to truly understand their needs and ensure they receive valuable, tailored information in the right place and at the right time. The overnight changes to ways of working as a result of COVID-19 have further propelled the pharmaceutical industry to integrate omnichannel approaches into everyday commercial activities. This means that, where digital tools were previously perceived as an important add-on to commercial strategies, they now have a business-critical role to play. Much has changed in my five years of leading commercial and marketing teams at ADVANZ PHARMA, and our recent adoption of an Omnichannel Excellence Programme to support our Key Account Managers is an important step in adding to our engagement strategy. For us, it isn’t about replacing what we already have, but using all the tools at our disposal in the best way possible, so that we can enhance the experience of both our customers and our employees. Maintaining engagement with HCPs When it comes to engagement with HCPs, we understand that time is extremely valuable, so it is essential that we make our communications as efficient and meaningful as possible. While there have been challenges to adapting to new ways of working, the shift to virtual meetings has meant that we can schedule calls with HCPs at their convenience, without the need to travel, which has allowed time savings on both sides. Through our Omnichannel Excellence Programme, we have also been able to make our communications more interactive and engaging, by using videos, graphics and other multimedia to convey our messaging. Creating bespoke training based on employee needs The programme isn’t just focused on our interactions with HCPs; a vital component is providing personalised coaching to our sales team, to help them feel motivated and empowered in their roles on a day-to-day basis. This includes understanding the drivers of effective human conversations through monitoring things like taking eye movement, tone, sentiment and energy of the conversations into consideration and providing a detailed breakdown of the structure of discussions, highlighting areas where employees are doing well, and where they can make improvements to their engagement techniques. Supporting teams through remote working We appreciate that everybody works in different ways; some may be extremely comfortable speaking in a face-to-face environment but find the dynamic of a virtual meeting more difficult to navigate, which is why we are committed to supporting our employees to find what works best for them. We also see this as an opportunity to inject energy and enthusiasm into the sales team, to let them know that we understand the challenges and we are listening, investing and adapting to their needs. It is vital that all of our employees feel that their role is valued and crucial to the success of the organisation, regardless of working environment. Combining digital and face-to-face interactions There is no doubt that the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for change and remarkable uptake of digital technologies and innovations, and it’s likely that many of these ways of working will be here to stay. However face-to-face interactions will continue to play an important role as social restrictions ease; the key to efficient communications of the future will be striking the right balance between remote and in-person interactions to create a seamless omnichannel approach. Keeping pace with this change will be essential for the industry and I’m eager to see how our Omnichannel Excellence Programme can continue to develop the skills of our commercial team and enable employees to connect with HCPs in meaningful ways. Implementation of omnichannel approaches provides us with a bigger and better array of opportunities, where we can use a wide range of channels to communicate with one another. Ultimately, it’s all about conveying quality content in informed and insightful ways, while ensuring our customers and our employees have a great experience along the way.