Pharma & HCP Meetings Best Practices – Thoughts from the Recent Global Pharma & Medical Meetings Summit
I was in Philadelphia last week to attend the 4th Annual Global Pharmaceutical and Medical Meetings Summit. I lived at the Monaco Hotel just next to the historic Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It was invigorating living next to the sites of American history where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed.
A quick walk down Market Street was the Marriot where the #MedMeetings Summit was organized. It was a great kickoff with Andrew Haley talking about converting pressure into performance and Kevin Mellott alerting pharma meeting managers about crises management.
The event really kicked off for me when I proposed an additional topic for the panel comprising of Christian, Chad, and Agnes, and the audience voted the topic for discussion – What are some best practices for 1:1 meetings with HCPs? This was interesting to note, that amidst topics ranging from compliance reporting to meeting costs, there was still considerable interest among attendees to understand how they could secure 1:1 time with HCPs/ KOLs and best make use of it. This also fell in line with Michael Young’s presentation at the HCEA summit a few weeks ago, where he spoke about some of the key ways in which HCPs are changing:
- Only 17% HCPs operate in solo practices compared to 68% in 2008. This changes the way they prescribe and also access information.
- With the access to health information on the internet, the physician as God model has become outdated. They are now questioned everyday by patients armed with online help information.
- HCPs want to make most of their time at events. The focus is on learning new things that can help their day-to-day jobs.
- If companies do not pre-schedule time with HCPs well in advance of meetings, it is unlikely they will visit the booth or meet a rep.
Every pharma meeting manager needs to schedule 1:1 time with HCPs across a variety of events type – AdBoard meetings, Medical demonstrations, Webinars, Congresses, etc. All the above trends point to the fact that 1:1 meetings with HCPs will gain even more importance going ahead.
At HIMSS 2016, companies have used the Jifflenow meeting management solution to schedule more than 4,000 meetings with HCPs and healthcare buyers. Here are some of the best practices that they have implemented and found useful:
- Establish meeting scheduling processes that enable reps to attract company Executives and SMEs to HCP meetings e.g. secure early approvals for their travel to events, provide Sales with a meeting request template that includes CRM history,
- Actively promote 1:1 meetings internally (to reps) as well as externally (to the HCP target audience) – publish meeting information on intranet; send email blasts to sales force that redirects them to the meeting-scheduling page; use social media
- Allow HCPs to request meetings on specific topics with your experts or reps while at an event
- Integrate meetings tech with CRM and other enterprise technology (like Marketing automation). Building a tight integration between Salesforce.com and meeting scheduling (Jifflenow) has made it significantly easier for Sales people to request meetings with active prospects
- Engage booth visitors in 1:1 meetings. Invite HCPs walking through the booth to have a closed door meeting with reps.
- Send post-meeting surveys to reps as well as HCPs. This will help tie-in the opportunity discussed with a revenue figure and will provide executives more visibility into the revenue they helped generate by attending meetings.
- Ensure executives have meeting apps on their mobiles that can alert them about meetings in addition to keeping meeting details updated in real time.
- Tracking meetings as they happen by marking out meetings that happened and those that did not. This helps in compliance reporting as well as future event planning.
To understand the complete scale of 1:1 HCP meetings at congresses, see the infographic from HIMSS 2015 below.