Ever since customer centricity has become a cornerstone of most pharmaceutical companies’ strategies, the central question has become: how can we best capture what our customers’ needs are? Where can we learn what they think and feel? Most pharmaceutical organisations today are ready to listen: they understand that sufficient focus on the needs of their customers will enable them to provide the best treatment solutions for their physicians and patients. This may seem so obvious today, but not so long ago pharmaceutical development was largely driven by science, regulation and policy, largely over the heads of patients and practitioners alike.
At present, companies are investing considerably in new state of the art CRM systems and are continuously collecting and logging all kinds of data in these systems: number of past interactions with the customer, messages delivered to them, events attended, customer satisfaction scores, call centre questions and many more. Increasingly, these data form the basis for the strategic decisions in product management and sales.
Combining CRM data with external data sources
Not so long ago pharmaceutical companies based their marketing strategies mostly on the human brains of experienced business intelligence analysts. As companies and their staff grow more and more accustomed to extracting insights from data, some have come to realise that data collected by their own CRM systems may only represent part of their customers’ reality: the inside out view.
Data collected by their own CRM systems may only represent part of their customers’ reality: the inside out view.
Luckily it is possible to enrich and widen this valid internal view by external data sources such as customer perceptions collected via primary market research, external sales data, publicly available data, …. The new question is then: how to consolidate your team’s knowledge, the internal customer view and the broader external view into a fully-fledged 3D view of your customers? No doubt such an integrated analysis will allow you to improve your customer centricity and your products positioning. Which capabilities are needed to achieve this?
Additional “brainpower” is needed: Advanced analytics
Currently, many organizations still try to manually bring the insights of these various sources together, which is often a complex and time-consuming task for business intelligence managers. But more than time and effort, the real problem is the quality of the outcome of all this work.
It is almost impossible for a single human brain to capture the complexity and the in-depth insights hidden in all the sources at once.
So how to build data-lakes with an architecture allowing to bring data from different sources together in a meaningful way? It is important to think how to link data from different systems. Only then does the use of the automated algorithms of advanced analytics make sense. The main obstacles here is one of uniformity. Data from different respondents or doctors should not be matched or the same doctors appear under different names in different sources, time of collection of data can differ from one set of data to another (in which time the environment could have undergone a significant change), data sets can be incomplete…
In a number of recent projects, Trilations has been working closely together with clients to link the data from internal systems to external data collected in Trilations customers loyalty surveys. For example, we managed to build a predictive model, that could forecast patient share, for a client combining its internal operational data with customer perception data from a survey. The insights taken from this combination of data sources, showed the way to operational change in the interaction with the customer, with good results. The advanced analytics approach brings new insights. Adjusting the timing, channels, duration or quality of your contacts or finetuning the messages accordingly is key to success. This is only one example of how combing data sources could help strategic decision-making as it demonstrates how operational actions can change the potential behaviour of the physicians.
3D: From analysis to behavioural change and improved market performance
Broadening and combining your internal data about customers with data from external sources generates insights only a 3D view from your customers’ reality can bring. It is good to zoom out and take a step back allowing other perspectives to complete the full picture of your customers.
This is the new territory in customer analysis brought to us by advanced analytics: it makes more of the information we already have or is available to us.
Our global head of analytics, Bjorn Van Loy, wrote this article. Contact him if you want to discuss this topic further.