What is Your Tier 1 and Tier 2 Device and ABM Strategy?

Do your sales reps drive a Ferrari? Probably not. Would they like one if you offered it to them? Probably. Once they’re used to driving around the field in a Ferrari, how easy do you think it would be to convince them to give it back?  Nearly impossible. They would argue that it is the only way to get to their appointments on time. Nothing else would measure up. So why would a life sciences company provide Apple iPads to their sales force in an emerging market? They are likely used to their personal Android phones and a motorcycle or public transportation to get to their customers. Compared to their income this is like giving a Ferrari instead of a regular car make to a sales rep in Western Europe or the US.

That’s why it makes more sense to have different solutions for different markets. Doing so still allows an organization to leverage scale in these markets much, in the same way, choosing one platform globally would.  

This is especially relevant today; while the numbers of sales reps in mature markets is steadily shrinking, in emerging markets, the numbers have remained steady mainly because of the existing business models and the significantly lower cost of labor.  

On the other hand, because of the restricted access to HCPs due to Covid-19, the need for better, non-face-to-face customer engagement is suddenly a top priority. As such sales reps in emerging markets and elsewhere do not need a Ferrari to get the job done today. They need their organization to provide them with a smart customer engagement platform that is robust, agile, and constantly being innovated in a nimble way based on their market reality while benefiting from a proven foundation that guarantees scalability, quality, and compliance. 

Hence a ‘two tier’ platform approach makes perfect sense for companies with a truly global footprint; one for mature markets and another one for emerging markets with the flexibility to strategically swap small mature markets for large emerging markets. Relating to the Ferrari give-aways; we will see “a mixed device strategy” emerge which includes considerations for the prevalence of certain devices and operating systems within Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets such as Android versus iOS usage, mobile versus laptops usage as well as employer-provided or “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) considerations. As such, it’s important to adopt a customer engagement platform that is device agnostic. After all, iPads might not have the global market share a few years from now, and therefore choosing a platform that is already built to function well on all devices and OS types is the future-proof choice for your Tier 1 markets. 

Another ‘’tier’’ may be needed in China. It is a very different market requiring a different approach. It is very difficult for a sales rep to use an iPad and email in China. Reps are not appreciated by the gatekeepers and patients in hospitals. On top of that, none of the key stakeholders like HCPs are known for reading their emails. In a country where everything in life is done on smartphones, using an iPad in a hospital would identify a rep instantly. So, guess what, iPads are not really used. Instead, they use smartphones and WeChat to track down their customers. In any case, running CRM or Customer engagement solutions in China is complicated. As the turnover of employees is typically in the range of 20-30%, a company with 10,000 reps needs to recruit, onboard and train 2,000 to 3,000 new reps every year. These reps go around from one company to another, and the work is similar. Picking the CRM solution that most other companies use in China, saves a huge amount of training and gets new hires onboarded much faster. So it is not always about the best CRM, but sometimes about the rest… 

Healthcare Professionals Engagement Infographic: An insightful infographic presenting statistics on healthcare professionals' engagement preferences, reflecting the shift towards digital interaction and virtual engagement.

That said, just sticking with the software you know/have and deploying it globally does not make sense for truly global companies. Go look for a challenger for the incumbents! 

By: Edwin Erckens 

Edwin has created his opinions based on 10 years of past experience in pharma and consumer healthcare in P&G, Teva, and Sanofi, in local, regional, and global commercial IT/digital roles and chose Omnipresence by Exeevo for use in multiple markets during his time at Sanofi.