Insights that Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Field Execution

Veeva Creator Series interview with Cindy Chiang: “Insights that Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Field Execution”

The Veeva Creator Series consists of regularly published interviews with Veeva product leaders and strategists highlighting the backstories that led to key Veeva CRM innovations. This month, we interview Cindy Chiang, Director of Product Management, about Veeva CRM Suggestions.

What is Veeva CRM Suggestions?
Veeva CRM Suggestions provides reps with “next best action” recommendations for their healthcare provider (HCP) interactions. It does this by leveraging the analytical power of data science to provide clear and actionable recommendations.

How exactly does it work?
The recommendations, which can include the best message and the best channel to engage the HCP, are delivered directly in the reps’ workflow, so that they are available where and when they are needed. What’s really nice is that reps can provide feedback on the recommendations they receive, which further feeds the data analytics and improves future suggestions. All of this is standard functionality within Veeva CRM, no additional licenses are required, though a data science partner is required if you don’t have your own analytics engine.

Did customers request this functionality?
Yes, though indirectly. The idea evolved over time through many customer conversations. The common thread among companies was a long-term vision for getting more insights and more analytics out of their CRM data. We also frequently supported integrations of Veeva CRM with third-party BI tools. And as we helped our customers with these projects, we came to understand that the results of this analysis would be best served if they could be fed back directly into Veeva CRM. Customers could then take immediate action through a specifically designed dashboard. This would eliminate the need to surface insights in separate apps or display them through custom objects and related lists.

If you think about it, there’s really no good reason why reps should not be able to benefit from the data they generate. Such capabilities have been fairly common in consumer technologies. We thought to ourselves, “Why is this not available in the life sciences space?”

Can you elaborate further on the link between consumer technology and Veeva CRM Suggestions?
The crux of sales and marketing has always been to understand the customer, their business environment, their purchasing patterns and their communication preferences, and to then utilize that knowledge to provide them with the right information. Most of us are pretty familiar with this from everyday consumer applications. Netflix and Amazon capitalize on displaying personalized recommendations for each user.

I’d argue that in life sciences, there is even more data available to analyze than in retail. Veeva CRM is just one of the many systems that’s generating data that can be evaluated to determine next best actions. In the past, field reps would do this analysis in their heads, with no systematic way of knowing how effective they actually were. But now, with the volume of data growing and the introduction of multiple ways of engaging an HCP, as well as more stakeholders that each field rep interacts with, it’s simply too complex for even the most seasoned reps to do this type of mental math.

What were key challenges when developing this capability?
One of the main considerations we had was whether or not we were going to build the rules engine that runs all the analytics. We quickly concluded that it didn’t make sense for that to be in Veeva CRM because of the multitude of other data sources out there that need to be taken into account in addition to CRM data. Several of our partners excel at big data analytics and already have existing relationships with Veeva customers. So we collaborated with them to understand their capabilities and how their analytics would best be utilized within Veeva CRM. Of course, customers can also choose to integrate with their own proprietary analytics engines, if they have them.

What is the one thing customers should take away from Veeva CRM Suggestions?
One customer, a top 20 global pharma company, actually called it the “foundational capability to our customer engagement strategy.” They went further to state, “Turning data into insights and ultimately bridging the gap between marketing strategy and field execution through Veeva CRM Suggestions is paramount.”

So reps should come to understand that this is the tool that streamlines the analysis of the data for them, so they don’t have to spend their time sifting through the data. Instead, they can be out in the field having more effective interactions with HCPs.

About Cindy
Cindy Chiang has been with Veeva for four and a half years. She leads the Veeva CRM product management team and is responsible for customer success and building products that delight users. Her favorite thing about being at Veeva is the team effort that comes from all parts of the organization to ensure customer success, from services to support, product managers to engineers to QA. “Everyone gives 110% and works together on behalf of the customer.”

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