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How the Pandemic has Fast-tracked Digital Transformation and Remote Sales Engagement
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on corporations globally, with companies everywhere needing to reconsider the way they work, how they communicate, and how they sustain their revenue. Particularly with the pharmaceutical industry, where healthcare professionals suddenly became overwhelmed and unavailable.As a result, many companies saw this as an opportunity to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. The Challenges It’s no secret that sales professionals have been hit hard by the pandemic, and leading European specialist pharmaceutical company Norgine was no exception. They were severely affected because their business depends on doctors doing procedures on patients. From the end of March 2020 and all through April and May, all procedures came to an abrupt stop. This had a substantial impact on their sales team. Reps could not see their doctors face-to-face, and hospitals were closed to them. In turn, customers were dealing with their own challenges due to the pandemic, which added further complications to the sales process. Understandably, this introduced some nervousness and uncertainty amongst the sales team about their future. Because of this, Norgine had to find new ways to do business. Although their digital transformation efforts had been ongoing for a few years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these efforts and made digital transformation a priority in 2020. The Solutions Norgine introduced Multichannel Veeva CRM, the most advanced and only proven life sciences CRM solution, to help them optimise their customer experience. Although the sales team adapted to this new technology extremely quickly, they weren’t prepared for communicating with customers via remote channels, especially video calling. Gone were the days of in-person sales meetings and negotiations, sales reps were now encouraged to take their sales processes online. This posed a challenge for some as they had to replace years of knowledge and experience in selling face-to-face with selling remotely, in an instant. They needed help adapting to this new way of selling. Norgine adopted CheemiaReSET, the most comprehensive remote sales engagement training platform aimed at the pharmaceutical industry. It is created by experienced remote pharma sales experts who had proven success at getting results during the pandemic. The first thing they wanted to achieve was to increase the number of video calls and interactions their sales team was doing because, at that stage, they were close to none.
Norgine also implemented CheemiaReINSPIRE, the management suite that helps sales managers inspire their sales teams to get the most out of CheemiaReSET. This enabled sales managers, who were also new to remote selling, to coach and guide their teams through the training process.
They initially piloted the training platform in four regions, the UK, the Netherlands, the Alps, and the Nordics. Their initial idea was to try it in these four regions to get the necessary feedback and insights that would enable them to roll it out across Europe and Australia. What made the adoption of the platform easier was that the videos have subtitles in the specific language of the region. As a result, the pilot and the roll-out were both a huge success. The Outcomes From the beginning, the feedback was excellent and emphasised the intuitiveness and simplicity of the platform to establish the skills needed to engage with customers remotely. It also caused many to re-evaluate the way they had previously been engaging with customers. After about a month and a half, they started to see results, and the number of video calls registered with the CRM system increased. 10,700 remote phone calls and 5,262 remote meetings per month Initially, they aimed for increasing or maintaining contact with their customers via remote channels. Within 2 months, there were 10,700 remote phone calls and 5,262 remote meetings per month which means on average 3-4 remote contacts a day per representative. The Future Ultimately, Norgine has enabled its sales team to continue doing its job despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, they are now in a better place than they were a year ago when they weren’t prepared for digital interactions and remote selling. Recent research has revealed that many healthcare professionals have embraced remote meetings. Over 70% would prefer a ‘new hybrid normal’, with a combination of remote and face-to-face meetings. It is vital for pharmaceutical companies and individual sales representatives to understand and adapt to how their customers prefer to be contacted. The Norgine team has now learned new skills that they can use for this new normal, and the remote culture is directly embedded in the sales process. The implementation of CheemiaReSET also had some other unexpected benefits. Overall, people are now more comfortable switching on their cameras, even in company meetings. As a result, they’re capable of behaving naturally in remote meetings with colleagues as well as customers. Moreover, other people in the company, aside from the sales teams, are enquiring about this newfound confidence. They want to implement the same techniques and tactics. This then serves to improve the company’s communications as a whole.