Segmentation and Targeting Lessons from Novo Nordisk and Takeda

There are unfortunate yet familiar outcomes in sales and marketing: A rep removes a healthcare professional (HCP) from their call list after numerous unsuccessful outreach attempts. Or, a field team activates for a launch campaign in a new region, but can’t get traction due to unreliable targeting data. The result is more than a deflated rep who logged weeks or months to engage an HCP; it could mean success or failure for a new brand.

For decades life sciences organizations have stitched together data from old and new sources: the CRM, prescription databases, trials, public information, and more. The method produces a lot of segmentation and targeting data, which becomes quickly outdated. In our examples above, that equates to uncertainty about whether the HCP was a poor target in the first place, or if the missed opportunity in the new region traces back to the wrong time/wrong channels — or some other factor entirely.

A modern approach allows you to begin data analysis immediately using integrated analytics. Simply put, integrated analytics are pre-connected, unique, industrywide data that provide rapid insights to act upon. It’s like having the keys to a universal view to answer any key business question.

Integrated analytics fuels segmentation, targeting

Field reps are your first-class marketing channel. To succeed, they need a precise and connected view of customers, patients, and prescribers, as well as deep data and field trends. A common data platform for life sciences synthesizes the right information, so data disconnects are less likely to happen, reps are more likely to crack access codes, and teams better pinpoint where they’re wasting resources.

For example, it is estimated that maintaining a 1,000-person field force costs a life sciences organization about $250 million annually. Achieving even 10-20% more accuracy protects your investment by answering basic but essential questions:

  • Who are my key HCPs?
  • What’s my access?
  • What channels will resonate?
  • What’s behind HCPs’ changing communication preferences?

We discuss evolving segmentation and targeting tools and tactics with Novo Nordisk and Takeda, and break them down into four areas to watch:

1. Deliver better insights with timely data

Frank Armenante is the director of field systems and projects at Novo Nordisk. As a former field rep, he’s been on the receiving end of insights and analytics and understands reps’ needs. While the classic approach is for marketing to refresh segmentation data once or twice a year, Armenante sees costs associated with being slow in moving customers down the funnel — from awareness to trial, and from consideration to loyalty. “Providing reps with segmentation and targeting only periodically will miss insights that matter along the customer journey. Sales moves fast and the customer experience changes so quickly that if analytics teams aren’t timely enough with data, reps may miss the window to execute on it,” he says.

Once field teams trust that materials and targeting data are accurate and well-timed, reps can then focus on personalization. “What ends up happening is that interactions become very personal, and a rep is able to tell a story using all of the information you’ve given them. That creates a strong emotional connection with the physician,” Armenante says.
The bottom line: Given accurate and timely customer, patient, prescriber, KOL, and other data, field teams can more effectively tailor messaging to better support launches and existing campaigns.

2. Use benchmark data to spot trends

A view into field trends allows you to learn about and compare field engagement across channels to that of peers. For example, current data shows that HCPs increasingly want a way to raise their hand between scheduled in-person meetings. Life sciences organizations accommodating HCP inbound communication as part of a service-oriented approach are gaining an advantage:

  • Field teams given the tools to respond to HCPs’ needs in real-time have a vastly different channel mix: they more than double the number of digital touchpoints while maintaining or increasing in-person activity
  • When biopharmas provide an inbound channel like compliant chat, HCPs will start conversations 30% of the time

Eric Solis, director and lead data scientist at Takeda, points to the advantages of “crowdsourcing” some field data, given that all life sciences organizations share the goal of getting information into HCPs’ hands so they can treat patients sooner. “The exchange of distilled data is a powerful and appealing approach in contrast to the old ways of doing it, which is holding information close to the vest in your organization,” he says.
The bottom line: Contributing to and accessing field trends for segmentation and targeting aligns your strategy with current market trends for improved commercial success.

3. Don’t ask reps to juggle too much

Segmentation and targeting are moving to a place where the desired data set is more integrated and smaller, Solis says. It’s better to help the field identify a manageable set of interesting opportunities that they feel are new. “Then a snowball effect starts to happen, but it’s easy to snuff that out by trying to do too much.”

And less is more when it comes to the number of tools field teams access while on the road, too. Many organizations, especially those with legacy brands, ask reps to track data in multiple software programs. Streamlining the field force’s efforts drives consistency toward a single source of truth — not just for the usual metrics, but also for marketing insights, channel preferences, information about events, and the like. The use of a single cloud platform makes data more accessible, easily understood and applied, and able to be integrated with larger marketing initiatives such as omnichannel.
The bottom line: Use a common data architecture that integrates segmentation and targeting data, and it won’t be viewed as just another tool on the desktop.

4. Facilitate change among field teams

For Novo Nordisk’s segmentation and targeting programs to succeed, the team works hard to align what marketing recommends and what field reps hear, according to Armenante. “It can be like speaking different languages. Our strategy before asking reps to make a change is to first ask ourselves: can we save them time and make their interactions more enriching, so they impact more HCPs and patients?” Some of the best reps still use day planners, hand-write notes, and don’t necessarily use the technology at their fingertips, he says. “Appeal to differences in work habits, and look for a common denominator to incent the change.”

Keep in mind that the field may not know how to incorporate a new program or data set with existing workflows. In the same vein, Solis points out that trying to incentivize the field to broaden their customer reach essentially means giving them a new problem to solve. “Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s easy for marketing and data teams to support field teams with new technology and tools, but you’ve got to bridge the gap.”
The bottom line: Clearly communicate the reasons for change, including the addition or removal of tools and data sets, so field teams will effectively support them.

Connected in a cloud with an industry lens

It’s extremely challenging to get to the right HCPs at the right moment in time, and perhaps even harder to pinpoint what message will resonate with each one. But getting through to HCPs — and knowing the information will help start a patient’s treatment — can invigorate a field team and set a program on a path to success.

It all starts by presenting reps with carefully selected segmentation and targeting data sets, a capability made possible by integrating analytics in an industry cloud.

Learn more about how integrated analytics help commercial pharma teams.

Interested in learning more about how Veeva can help?