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Is there such a thing as the new normal? Or is it simply the ‘here and now’?

By Chris Grimes-Crompton

Chris Grimes-Crompton

Many of us are discussing how launch excellence will look in the new normal.

But is it a new dawn we are facing, or is it simply the world we live in? Over the years we, as consumers, have all embraced digital transformation in our everyday lives. In fact, we’re experts at it. But in pharma we are still coming to terms with it. So let’s look at launch excellence in the here and now and how we can better approach it.

Launch excellence or launch better?
We’ve all become ‘excellent’. We have our playbook and trusted structures. We think differently but do we do anything that is fundamentally different or are we still making the same moves?

Launch excellence starts early before phase 3 initiation. Usually the moves are already in play and the team is lined up.
But surely this is when we should begin to look at new ways of doing things that will make our launch even better?

The two-year pre-launch window is a critical time, influencing how successful a product will be, but there is one de-railer that trumps them all – complacency. When we know a therapy area we overlay our current assumptions, believing customers and stakeholders will embrace our new product because they use our products already, right? Wrong. While in new disease areas there is a tendency to underestimate the complexity and export existing business models. Also wrong.

To achieve real excellence we have to work in the present and forget the past. We need to build teams with people who are experienced but also new to the therapy area and we need data, not just lots of it, but the right data, to ensure the difficult questions are addressed.

The more we can develop a detailed and dispassionate view of the therapy area, the trends, challenges and stakeholders, the more we can eliminate ‘I believe’ and deal in ‘we know’ for better results.

Is there such as thing as the new normal?
Think back to what you were doing five years ago. How different is it to what you’re doing today? Now think about some of the things you do in your daily life; the way you shop, watch TV or interact with friends. We have been doing things differently, and digitally, for years now.

So what does this mean for pharma?
* There will be fewer face-to- face customer interactions
* The customer will demand higher quality engagements
* The shift towards more ‘medical’ rather than ‘sales’ interactions will continue
* Conferences and meetings will be a mix of physical and virtual
* Customers will expect engagements based upon who they are, what interests them and what their needs are
* They will expect to interact with companies in a mixture of ways that fit around them
* Customers and patients will seek out impartial, trusted and digestible sources. Which may not be yours!

Critical success means embracing digital and educating our gatekeepers to embrace it too
Most of the world’s Top 10 companies are tech businesses but pharma has only just opened the box of ‘digital transformation’ and now has to plug it in to become customer-centric.

Words like ‘profile’, ‘map’, ‘network’, ‘target’, ‘influence’ and ‘Key Opinion Leader’ should be part of our daily lexicon, but we tend to avoid digital because we don’t understand it. Internal processes make it feel too hard and even motivated people simply give up. But we must find the right way to harness digital so that we can truly put the customer at the heart of what we do.

Industry leaders talk about ‘digital transformation’ but progress will be glacial unless we educate procurement to buy digital services discerningly. Legal, compliance and IT all need to understand the digital journey and feel part of the process. We can be faster, more objective, more productive and deliver solutions that meet the needs of our customers and patients. At the same time, we can increase transparency and demonstrate improved compliance too.

If we do this, I think we can take launch excellence to a new level. Not in the new normal, but the here and now. Let’s do it before Amazon buys its first pharma company!

Chris Grimes-Crompton is Senior Advisor to VISFO

Chris Grimes-Crompton is Senior Advisor to VISFO

22nd April 2022

From: Marketing

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