CLM continues to be the go-to solution for organizations looking to overhaul their current sales strategy, however questions still often arise around implementation and execution.
Morten Hjelmsoe, CEO of Agnitio and Anthill, talks with Ben Steele about the best way to go about implementing a major CLM project, and how to scale and manage regional and country differences.
Ben - “What should a company take into consideration when implementing a CLM strategy?”
Morten - The people we work with have come to the conclusion that they need to be much more customer-centric in their approach, to meet customers where they are. This means thinking in broader horizontal terms rather than vertical - instead of talking about features, they can talk about problems physicians are having that they need resolved.
There are two ways of thinking about CLM; the problem pharma has right now is that reps have less and less time with physicians and this leads to less success. 70-90% of a pharma company's communications go through their reps, so if this channel of communication isn't performing as well as it can, then you're in trouble. This is why we see everybody scrambling for other channels.
The 'CRM plus' approach to CLM says 'let’s use the new technology to enhance the messages that we are already delivering'. The thinking behind this is that if reps have less time with the customer, they will have to talk faster and shout louder to be heard. The same material that used to be presented on paper, is now presented on digital devices. But this approach alone does not produce any rich data from the reps' conversations - the only way you will get rich data is through rich conversations.
True CLM means focusing on what is in the mind of the customer, not what is on the mind of the company. Instead of amplifying the one-way information stream, we need to ask the customer what his or her worries are that particular day. If we then make the presentation about that, we are bringing more value to the conversation and we will start to see visits get longer and more frequent.
“What role do the reps play in implementing a successful CLM strategy?”
The sales rep of the future will not only be a sales rep, but also a marketeer. This means that they will have the tools to put together a communication package that is specific to each individual customer.
The way communication is moving at the moment generally is towards pull. If I want to go to the cinema, I will go online and look up a cinema timetable. But does this mean that everything has to be about 'multi-channel'? I would say it isn't just about having a channel; it’s about what you offer in that channel. You can build whatever you want in the way of channels, but if no-one wants it, no-one will come. Most of the multi-channel offerings today are still being used for 'push' marketing. Where the rep is going to have enormous value is actually through having a face-to-face relationship with the customer. I don't know of any other profession where you have nearly as much time with the customer as reps do.
One example of what reps can do is that once they have taken part in a dialogue, at the end of the detail they can ask the doctor whether they want more information, what kind information they want, and what channel they want this information in. The rep can then create a 'microsite' dealing with any questions the physician might have had, the topics he or she was interested in, in the order they found most important for them. By doing this, what you do is you use the reps interactions with the customer to move them from a 'push' to a 'pull' relationship.
It all comes down to delivering the right message to the right doctors, and also in the right channel, and a company's reps are the best tool to get the customers into the right channels.
“Wouldn't it be difficult for a company to manage all of these different channels and microsites?”
This is why it is important for companies to have a CLM platform, which is another way of thinking horizontally instead of vertically. The situation today is that each brand will have its print marketeers and its e-marketeers, and there isn't much of a connection. All of the different channels will need to have the same basic message, so it makes sense to have a platform that can hold all of the base material and distribute it to the different channels. Right now, if you are only focusing one channel at a time, the risk is that you end up with five different proprietary systems that cannot talk to one another. You may have one system doing CRM, another system managing CMS, another doing e-learning and so on. If all these systems are vertical, they cannot talk to each other.
Also, the channels themselves should not be isolated once content has been distributed to them. The platform has to be open, with the ability to incorporate different creative agencies - by conforming to an open standard such as HTML5; a company can ensure easy communication between channels, and easy collaboration with partners all over the world. If you choose a platform that you need to be specially trained to use, your possibility of collaborating with others will be limited.
“So having a central platform would make it easy for a company to implement CLM over a range of different countries and regions?”
Yes. When using a platform you can make adjustments all the way down to the individual countries, but it will all originate from the central authority. You can adjust the content based on the individual regulatory requirements of each country, while still retaining a master presentation to refer back to. And if one country is doing something which turns out to be very successful, the CLM approach allows you to relay that information back to the centre and make changes to your strategy. This is a strong way to gain knowledge that you wouldn't have when using individual proprietary apps in every country.
“But there will still be a central authority retaining control over what happens in different countries?”
What happens with CLM is that the company would choose the frame in which they want to work. The company would set the agenda, but if we see that physicians in a certain segment are requesting a certain type of information, we can respond to that. For instance, if we see that neurologists in a certain city are requesting more input from KOLs, we can supply that, but at the same time, we can see what parts of our marketing material aren't being used by customers. This allows a company to cut down on the amount of information they produce, which saves money in the long term.
Agnitio will be attending this year's Multichannel & Mobile Strategy conference from 29th - 30th November 2012 at the Thistle Marble Arch in London. For more information on this event or to download a brochure visit the website.
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