Use of digital in pharma sales calls – Survey Results

The pharma landscape is changing at a fast pace. Big and small pharmaceutical players are increasingly leveraging the power of digital to engage healthcare professionals. From e-detailing to medical apps, pharma sales professionals are equipped with powerful digital tools to complement traditional sales strategies and deliver personalised messages.

Since its inception in 1992, Combined Media has been at the forefront of digital pharma and healthcare in Ireland, working with pharmaceutical companies to deliver state-of-the-art digital solutions.

We had the privilege to participate as exhibitors at the MRII National Conference 2018 that took place at Killashee Hotel, Naas on April 12. There we took the chance to run a small survey to investigate how sales professionals from different pharma companies at the event currently use digital tools.  Although our pool of entrants was relatively small, nonetheless our findings may shed some light on this key aspect of the Irish pharma marketing landscape.

Key Findings

Almost all sales professionals in our group use some kind of digital tools in their sales calls, with preference given to tablets, e-detailers and emails.

The use of digital tools seems to be well established, with 41% of respondents who said they “always” use them in sales calls.

E-detailers were also considered highly or somewhat engaging for HCPs. However, the highest level of engagement was found with patient adherence tools, with 35% of respondents saying that they use them in their sales calls and 75% saying that they find them highly engaging.

There’s no doubt that the use of digital tools has increased to some extent in our group, and it is primarily used to build awareness.

Finally, from our survey results, medical apps are some of the least used digital tools. However, some sales professionals expressed interest in the use of medical apps in their sales calls, believing that they would improve their sales performance.

What Digital Tools do you Use in your Sales Calls?

Almost all sales reps use some kind of digital tools.

76% of respondents use tablets, followed by 65% who use e-detailers and 53% who use emails.

Medical apps and pdfs are the least used with 30% each.

Do you Use Digital Tools in Your Sales Calls?

47% of our pool of sales reps use digital tools “sometimes”, while 41% uses digital tools always and 12% never.

What do you Think is the Level of HCPs Engagement with the Following Tools?

The highest level of engagement was found with patient adherence tools, with 75% of respondent saying that engagement was high, followed by e-detailers and PDF.

E-mails, Tablets, Videos and Medical apps were generally found “somewhat” engaging.

However, 29% of respondents found engagement with videos was “low”.

Has the Use of Digital Tools Increased in Your Calls Compared to Last Year?

The use of digital tools in sales calls has clearly increased, with 41% of sales reps saying that it has increased “slightly” and 35% saying that it has increased “a lot”.

Is Your Primary Use of Digital to:

In our group, digital is primarily used to “build awareness” (76%), followed by “increase interest” (59%) and “request a sales call” (6%).

Is There any Tools that you Feel Would Improve your Sales Performance? If so, Please Specify.

When asked if there was any digital tool they felt wold have improved their sales performance most answers expressed interest in the use of medical apps.


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