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Value add: using digital engagement metrics to optimise and drive salesforce effectiveness

By Simon Grime

Simon Grime

In the final part of the Smarter Strategies series, Wilmington Healthcare’s Simon Grime describes the key steps in measuring the value of your digital engagement and how to use this evaluation to enhance salesforce effectiveness.

Over a century ago, the US retailer John Wanamaker famously grumbled that ‘half of my advertising spend is wasted, but I don’t know which half’.

With so much changing over the last two years, good digital engagement plays a more important role than ever in optimising the effectiveness of a company’s sales approach, and this can all be precisely measured to track its return on investment (ROI).

But how do you do it? In the final article of this series, we will explain how to build robust measurement into your digital engagement strategies to assess impact and drive your sales operation forward.

Benchmarking for success

As shown in the previous article, a data-driven digital engagement strategy starts with a granular understanding and segmentation of your customer base which then feeds through into a highly-tailored and personalised engagement approach.

To measure its impact, you need to benchmark your starting position with the same level of precision. This means understanding who the customer is within a given disease area, what factors are shaping their behaviours and the wider prescribing landscape, what stage each customer is at in terms of their relationship with your brand/therapy/organisation, what their channel preferences and digital attributes are, and ideally their content engagement history.

For each individual customer and segment, it is then important to establish what key impact metrics will determine performance. This will include prior analysis of prescribing and sales data broken down by key accounts, as well as an assessment of where each customer is on the adoption ladder, an understanding of the product penetration/share and competitive landscape (including formulary status), and metrics showing the previous online engagement activity.

Clearly, the customer’s history and status will influence both your engagement strategy and the measurement, although a consistent approach is key. If you are delivering a highly-personalised strategy with tailored messaging with an optimum channel mix to existing or established customers, then the result will be that customers engage more readily and deeply with your content – and the usual engagement metrics will be the first critical indicators of progress.

As the activity rolls out and is continually optimised based on these metrics, this engagement will lead to improved impact in terms of deepening relationships, greater interest in your value proposition, and ultimately a shift in prescribing behaviour across the customer segments. Thus, your measurement framework needs to reflect those strategic goals and align with the sales and marketing strategy by segment.

Measuring quality, not volume

Precision engagement will help you move from ‘share of voice’ to ‘quality of voice’. For example, we regularly see this approach change average email open rates of, say, 15% for a generic email relating to promotional content to 50%+ across segmented programmes. This is always a strong initial indicator that the optimised approach is performing.

Additionally, we look at the impact of channel activity performance within key customer accounts: are we seeing an even more significant uplift above the previously benchmarked levels of engagement within these groups?

Consistently high engagement with relevant, hyper-personalised digital content, measured over an extended period, suggests the foundations are laid for a deeper relationship with the customer. After all, it’s not unreasonable that if a customer recognises that your organisation provides them with tailored information that helps them perform their professional duties, it follows they are more likely to trust and consider your messages and data more favourably.

Connecting with strategic goals

But how do you test that as a theory and measure the scale of the impact generated? This is where it is important to consider the optimal channel mix to start with and also benchmark against existing sales data with key customer accounts and segmentation.

Doing so means you can measure ROI from the optimal channel mix and see what the digital activity delivers above the sales trend line. For example, are you seeing a demonstrable change in the sales curve following the activity? Are sales teams reporting a shift in key customers’ attitudes that suggests they are further along the adoption ladder?

There also has to be an aligned and integrated approach between KAM performance and tailored digital engagement and metrics to drive the optimal salesforce effectiveness.

Using the enriched data and 360-degree view of key customer segments to continually optimise the mix of channels and engagement generates a powerful feedback loop. This then enables and informs customer engagement activity to focus forensically on a customer’s needs and interests.

Similarly, sales/KAM engagement outcomes with customers will inform digital steps and trigger different messages and actions/content.

Conclusion

At a macro level, by using the right datasets to give you that 360-degree view, combined with an agile approach to creating target segments for activity ‘on the fly’, it is relatively straightforward to measure the ROI and tactical effectiveness and impact of all channels – including the digital engagement activity. This can help you monitor not only a sustained uplift in reach, frequency and penetration into key customer segments, but also demonstrable changes in sales performance.

At a micro level, continually testing and measuring changes in customer response will improve the quality of your data and insights into understanding interests and preferences to this. This, in turn, will improve and accelerate how your activity moves customers up the adoption ladder.

By combining the right data sets, Wilmington Healthcare can help clients to measure the contribution their activity is making to strategic goals and quantify its return on investment. Understanding this, as John Wanamaker recognised all those years ago, is a vital part of maximising sales growth for the future.

Simon Grime joined other leading experts in a recent Smarter Strategies webinar hosted by PMGroup. To watch on demand, please visit: https://www.pmlive.com/intelligence/webinar/Smarter_strategies_precise_customer-centric_digital_engagement_with_the_NHS_1388722

For more information about how Wilmington Healthcare can support your digital engagement approach, visit: www.wilmingtonhealthcare.com

11th April 2022

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