As 2020 dawned, Otsuka Pharmaceutical was implementing Veeva CRM across Europe. There was recognition within the organization of the importance of changing the way field representatives engaged with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and the need to better understand customer channel preference. Then the unexpected happened and COVID-19 created a burning need for all pharmaceutical companies to reconsider their engagement strategy with HCPs. At Otsuka, Veeva CRM and its suite of tools became the digital engagement foundation.
Too many openings for errors
Prior to the pandemic, Otsuka’s affiliates in Europe had access to a common CRM platform, but usage varied widely from location to location, limiting the company’s ability to gain the actionable insights it needed. “There was no digital channel capability available and we lacked the ability to centralize reporting,” says Debbie Young, multichannel strategy and customer insights director, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe. This made it difficult to offer HCPs a choice of channels to engage with Otsuka, and it lacked the ability to report on engagement in content.
“We chose Veeva after a lengthy RFP process based on the fact that we felt Veeva was the right fit for Otsuka given our business requirements and future launch plans.” —Paul Allen, CRM Strategy Manager, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe
Launching Veeva also allowed Otsuka to consider centralizing some key compliance processes, such as, the capturing of consent and the management of issuing privacy notices, ensuring compliance with the ABPI code and European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
A suite of connected products
In Q4 2020, Otsuka rolled the Veeva suite out to more than 350 field- and office-based users. In 2021, while its reps continued to work remotely, Otsuka set goals that included optimizing the development and use of digital content with Veeva CLM and Veeva CRM Approved Email. It also implemented Veeva CRM Engage Meeting, Veeva CRM Engage for Events Management, and Veeva Vault PromoMats.
“We chose Veeva after a lengthy RFP process based on the fact that we felt Veeva was the right fit for Otsuka given our business requirements and future launch plans,” says Paul Allen, CRM strategy manager, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe. “We were confident in Veeva as a product because of successes elsewhere with peer organizations and we were reassured with both the technology but also the support Veeva would provide us following our launch.”
To ensure a smooth rollout, Otsuka’s multichannel strategy team captured the requirements of each affiliate, selected local testers and trainers, and then had each country’s CRM lead deliver training to the employees who needed it. Now, instead of allowing each rep to engage with an HCP as they wish, Otsuka has standardized processes that meet country and company-wide requirements—and deliver on its goals.
“Veeva has allowed us to apply consistency and structure across all affiliates,” says Young. “It has also enabled us to ensure we can maintain and measure compliance in the approaches we take and the decisions we make.”
The Veeva CRM suite gives Otsuka a framework for digital engagement. Reps can now send messages that are compliant and have brand-consistent messaging but also include relationship messaging. All reps are able to consistently capture consent and have a system that prompts them to do just that. Italy leads its affiliates having captured consent to engage digitally with 90% of its target audience and Otsuka’s rate across Europe is greater than 50%.
“Veeva has allowed us to apply consistency and structure across all affiliates. It has also enabled us to ensure we can maintain and measure compliance in the approaches we take and the decisions we make.” —Debbie Young, Multichannel Strategy and Customer Insights Director, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe
Spreading messages that resonate
Otsuka digitized its promotional model to better understand and act upon customer preferences, and it is working. When the company sees that a piece of content is resonating with HCPs in one market, it can showcase it for all affiliates so that they can better see the assets that they might want to localize. It has even established a Europe-wide agency to support content repurposing.
With the Approved Email framework, Otsuka has been able to train its marketing teams to compose their own messages, reducing the need to use agencies for this work. The data that Otsuka is capturing is also helping it to learn the best day and time to send emails to generate higher engagement from HCPs, and gather other metrics on HCP engagement. The company now has an email open rate of 47%.
Digital engagement has given Otsuka capabilities that it didn’t have before, enabling hybrid engagement at scale and setting the foundation for meeting individual HCP preferences for channels and content well into the future.