Sunday, May 9, 2010

The smart wave and lead generation

Today there is a new pharma marketing phenomenon: the rise of importance for lead generation. (I got the above image from here).

The word 'smart' is the IN word now! You have smart cards, smart cars, smart mobiles, smart rooms, smart whiteboard, ... many entities are now smart, ie., tech enabled. Whatever the smart tech features we want in business activities, it is ultimately for increased sales revenues - for improved value delivery to customer. In the contemporary world, business is marketing, and marketing is campaigning. Smart tech helps marketing or value delivery and facilitates better campaigns.

Lead generation: the new pharma marketing phenomenon

There was a time, in pharma marketing, when the concept of lead generation was an unheard concept! The MR had a big playground! He would comfortably call on 8 or 10 doctors and the business would follow. Things have changed today - doctors are more demanding or business savvy, competition is fierce, there are more and more brands, pharma marketers, and commoditization of the pharma market is very high. Hence, the concept of lead generation is now becoming more important.

Leads are information bits or enquiries that can lead to concrete business results. For eg., let us say, a MR attends a social function in his neighbourhood. Casually, he bumps in to a new doctor who evinces interest in the MR's product range. Then the MR has a lead, which may lead him to a prospect and hopefully this doctor is converted in to a customer (ie., prescriber).

In today's context, all doctors are not prospects. There are many factors that play a role in converting prospects in to prescriber or dispenser customer doctors. For eg., there are doctors now who prefer franchisee or PCD market operators for routine pharma brands and prefer only those MRs who market specialty brands (products not offered by PCD operators). So the MR needs to collect leads, qualify them to locate prospects, and then convert them to prescribers or purchasing doctors. All leads need not lead to prospects. The scenario was different 10 years back; during that time all doctors were prospects! Today, all doctors need not be prospects. Because, many of these doctors have their commitment to certain companies or PCD operators. Hence, location of leads, qualifying them for locating prospects and then converting them to prescribers or purchasers has become a new marketing and sales phenomenon.

TOMORROW: LEAD GENERATION AGENCIES?

Leads are important for sales personnel. When MRs get strong leads from chemists (pharmacisits) or fellow MRs, or tips during conversation with doctors, or references from doctors, they follow them up. These leads will lead to potential prescribers.

Collecting leads, sorting them, prioritizing them and follow up is an important exercise. Pharma companies now get a lot of leads from trade stall activities, where stalls are put up at doctor conferences. Let us say, the veterinary segment is not tapped by a company's field force. When the company puts up a stall at a veterinary doctors conference, the company personnel will realize that there is good potential in the vet segment, and through interactions with vet doctors of the conference, they will get good leads, who can prescribe a lot of products. These leads need to be collected, sorted out, the respective MRs should be given them, they should assign priority to these leads, follow up and the company can realize more business.

Considering that lead generation is gaining importance in the business of pharma marketing due to various circumstances, it is not far fetched to imagine that in the near future, there may be specialist agencies who will get in to the business of providing leads, doctor lists, conduct surveys, provide qualified leads and thus add value to a pharma company's business operations.

Let us consider this example: A pharma company is operating for the past 20 years with its basket of herbal drugs and nutraceuticals, and enjoys a certain level of sales in South Bangalore. Let us assume, the company as part of its business development proposal, invests in an agency to help generate good qualified leads in the same territory. The agency people will obviously go conduct interviews with various doctors, compile the interview data, analyze and generate a list of doctors with addresses who have evinced interest in this set of herbal drugs and nutraceuticals. So what the marketing agency has done is, provided a list of qualified leads in South Bangalore, the MR of the client company covering South Bangalore can prioritize the leads, follow up and thus generate better business through a new set of customers. So the agency has provided leads that has led to new business and growth.

Constant lead generation is crucial for business growth

Leads need to be constantly generated, trade stall activities help in this regard, chemist surveys will give leads to new potential doctors. However, most MRs (as is human) are satisfied with status quo new leads are not solicited. This stagnates business in the MR's territory or makes it dependent on certain prescribers only. Direct enquiries to pharma companies from doctors through a dedicated sms no., call no., or web site helps generate leads to pharma marketers.

CMEs and sponsoring doctor meets

When pharma companies sponsor doctor meets and pitch their products there, a no. of leads are generated - many doctors who are not met by MRs get exposed to the pharma brands. Thus, CMEs, and doctor meets present an opportunity for product promotion and lead generation (for follow up later).

Smart technology and lead generation

Let us assume, a pharma company launches a sms joke service to interested doctors, or launches regular e-newsletters through e-mail to doctors. On one hand, the company is engaging prospects and customers through the e-newsletters, on the other hand, the engagement will lead to lead generation, where doctors get interested in new products they are not familiar with, after all, the MR cannot promote all products to one doctor! So leads are vital.

Every day is a new day in pharma marketing! There are new product concepts doing the rounds, new marketing approaches creating market eddies ... all this points to the importance of focusing on those customers who will give a good sales yield. This requires good LEADS. We, pharma marketers, are most certainly going to focus on this new pharma marketing phenomenon that is gaining traction. Every doctor need not be our customer. Hence leads to good prescribers are gaining importance.

Hope, this blogpost will lead you to better times! Please scroll down, for leading to other blogposts, when you click on older posts, you will get leads to other blogposts. Please recommend and lead your acquaintances to this blog URL. Thnks.

1 comment:

Aashessh Gupta said...

nice blog !! i was looking for blogs related of franchisee of veterinary companies . then i found this blog, this is really nice and interested to read.