Achieving CRM Effectiveness by Creating a Single Customer View
From ERP systems and call centers to SFA and sample-management solutions, pharmaceutical companies have myriad ways of capturing customer information and learning more about customer needs. Add third-party longitudinal prescription data sources, copromotion partner data sources, as well as activity- and alignment-based data sources to the mix and it's apparent there is no shortage of information.
But therein lies the problem: There's simply too much information, or rather, there are multiple, inconsistent, and incomplete "views" of customers that hinder a company's ability to properly manage its relationships with those customers. One leading pharmaceutical company, for example, has 16 data sources and five systems.
In essence, for the pharmaceutical industry effective Customer Relationship
. Management begins with effective Customer Information
Management, through which a single, complete, and concise customer view can be developed, shared, and used for maximum understanding of customers.
In the past drug companies have often struggled to manage the voluminous amounts of data they receive. Disparate database repositories, poor data quality and dissemination, and inaccessible information across the enterprise have compromised their ability to gain a clear perspective on customers. As a result, their ability to engage in meaningful, effective CRM initiatives has also been compromised.
To overcome these challenges, pharmaceutical companies are searching for new strategic options and alternatives concerning customer data and system integration. To achieve one clear view of customers, they are considering customer master systems external to their CRM applications that interface with all enterprisewide applications that contain customer touch-point data. Some companies are enhancing existing data warehouses or building new ones, while others are outsourcing the entire process of customer data management to better focus on their core competencies. This approach looks across the enterprise to link various customer records so that all data can be analyzed and acted on. Now, previously disconnected enterprise divisions can leverage critical customer information that was previously inaccessible.
In their quest to better understand and meet the needs of customers, some companies are incorporating new data integration technologies to capture, centralize, and manage customer-related information and develop a complete view of each customer based on data from every source. These solutions enable pharmaceutical companies to provide sales force, management, operational, and home office personnel with more precise, timely, and comprehensive customer information with which to make critical business decisions. By developing this centralized repository of information with associated analytical tools, companies can gain a comprehensive understanding of customers that is consistent and can be shared across the entire enterprise.
Clearly, the drug industry recognizes the importance of having a clear and consistent picture of customers. A single view can promote unparalleled levels of customer intimacy. For pharmaceutical companies, this means gaining deep insights into prescriber activity that allows them to conduct behavioral analysis, align sales forces, improve segmentation, develop precise call-planning tactics, and measure the ROI from promotional outreach. Having a deeper knowledge of targeted prescribers, companies can even deliver "alerts" to their sales forces when a particular pattern of prescribing activity, as established by predetermined criteria, is detected. By directing sales reps to respond to specific behaviors with suggested approach tactics, companies can deliver more timely and relevant messages to prescribers, thus becoming a more valuable and useful source of information.
Attempts to enhance relationships with customers are nothing new. It's the manner in which these relationships may now be improved and managed that has radically changed. Thanks to emerging technologies and services, the tools for strengthening these relationships have now arrived. By taking advantage of them and adopting customer information management practices, companies can achieve a single view of their customers and begin to realize the promise of CRM that has largely eluded the pharmaceutical industry to date.
About the Author
Sheli Gupta is vice president and general manager of Dendrite's Pharmaceutical CRM Effectiveness Business Unit.