Analytics and Business Intelligence Expert
A true analytics expert, Diego Dillon has extensive experience in achievement-oriented marketing, sales, forecasting, reporting, and compensation. As Head of Analytics at Crown Laboratories, Diego successfully built the Commercial Analytics Department and implemented and launched a CRM system. Prior to Crown, Diego held sales and analyst roles at life sciences companies including Merz Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and Bayer Pharmaceutical.
Diego, you’ve successfully implemented a CRM system at Crown Laboratories. What advice can you give to companies that are looking into launching a new CRM system?
Based on how well our launch and implementation went at Crown Laboratories, my advice is to spend the time drafting a clear and concise road map of what you’ll like to have and what you’ll need to have. It’s also important to consider all internal resources and identify the technology and labor needs, as well as create clear expectations and strategies beforehand. With all the information in one place plus activities and events, there is a huge opportunity to leverage analytics when drafting strategies. Most importantly, companies need to make sure that their team is well represented and equipped with metrics to support decision-making.
You’ve also had extensive experience with Business Intelligence. Can you briefly describe the BI needs or requirements you’ve dealt with?
Most systems provide the basic sets of BI requirements—that is, having all information in one place, keeping a record of activities, efforts and events, having a complete customer profile and metrics to support decision-making. What a good BI system will provide is a solution to analyze large amounts of information in simple dashboards that can be accessed from different platforms and shared insights. It’s especially important to create potential “end user scenarios” where different needs for information are presented. This will enable you to anticipate issues and fill those gaps in your data and analytics support.
Have you seen changes in the way pharmaceutical field reps are selling? If so, how are they using technology to help them?
Now, more than ever, sales reps are experiencing many roadblocks. For instance, the time to detail a prescriber was once 60 seconds, but has dwindled to 30. Many offices and practices have restricted access to sales reps and set strict time schedules for visits and sample drops. Over the last 10 years, the regulators have restricted access to prescriber-level data, which is a major constraint. Having said that, how you make use of your time and information has become increasingly important. I think this is where Sales Force Automation, Business Intelligence and CRM come into place. With these technologies, the reps can assess internal data, to say, for instance, based on the information, this target could be an A target, while this one could be a B target. The technology is telling you—look, you have too many people, you’re not going to be able to see them all, and then help you make the correlation of which targets you need to see once a week, once a month, on a certain date, etc. Equipping reps with this kind of intelligent feedback will help them with route planning and time management.
What are some of the most pressing issues pharmaceutical companies are currently facing or will face in the upcoming years?
As I mentioned earlier, I think that some of the most pressing issues are prescriber access, managed care, insurance policies and government legislations. In the area of prescriber access, a lot of doctors don’t want to have their office full of reps. Sometimes, you can walk into a practice and instantly see 4 to 5 people in there, and they’re all in suits—so you know they’re pharmaceutical reps. When you have more reps than patients in the office, then that becomes a problem. So, a lot of practices are now scheduling rep visits to the practice, for example, let’s say, every Thursday from 4:00-5:00, where the rep can go in, drop off the samples, exchange signatures, and then leave. On the other hand, other prescribers are saying, ‘I don’t want to see reps. I won’t see reps.’ This will likely continue to be the case going forward, so pharmaceutical companies will need to get smarter and revisit how they’re going to handle this.
Also worth noting is managed care and the price of healthcare. For instance, in New York, Massachusetts and Florida, there are a lot of retirees. Not every single provider in their portfolio is necessarily covered by insurance. In this case, as a patient, you must go to the pharmacist and ask, ‘How much is my script?’ and ‘Does my insurance cover that cost?’ And if the answer is ‘no,’ then you’re faced with 2 options—either pay out of pocket, often $40-$50 or more, or get a generic product instead. We’ve seen similar issues recently with most healthcare plans. If you have insurance that provides deductible of $3,000 per individual or $6,000 for a family plan, then it becomes very expensive for many low and middle-income families to meet those requirements.
How quickly do field reps adapt to new CRM systems? Is web-based training enough for them, or would you still recommend face to face training?
Reps typically tend to adapt to new systems very quickly. I think this speaks to the combination of a good training program and company policy and support. I would suggest having both web and face-to-face training options available to accommodate different learning styles. People learn in different ways. While some will absorb concepts having seen them, others prefer to learn in more of a team environment. It’s also helpful to have super users, two or three reps from the field that can step in to help with the training sessions.
Thank you Diego for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today.