How are Sales Professionals Using Mobile Devices in Interactions with Clinicians?

For the past three years, we have been tracking the effectiveness of sales professionals using mobile technology as their main means of information delivery to healthcare professionals (HCPs), and in particular to doctors. As previously mentioned, the use of mobile devices has been variable, with many sales professionals using them in the same way they were using paper materials.

We have data to show that where mobile devices are used effectively the doctors rate the sales professionals’ performance higher across multiple key performance indicators (KPIs) than when using paper alone or no materials in support of their key messages. Not only do we see that the mobile device enhances the delivery of information, there is also increasing evidence that using mobile technology increases the likelihood of altering HCP behaviors.

Most of the pharmaceutical companies we have tracked still use a combination of paper and mobile devices. We have seen the best and most efficient use of the mobile device when the sales professional is able to use it to open the call and then navigate to the most appropriate information for that particular HCP. We have data on a number of specialist sales teams indicating that in calls lasting less than five minutes no supporting materials, including mobile devices, were used in any interaction with an HCP.

Another advantage of mobile devices is at closing a call by being able to immediately email any supporting documents directly to the HCP. Our extensive research with HCPs shows they expect that ability when mobile devices are used; and when offered, a very positive impression is made.

Additionally, the opportunity for the HCP to order and sign for samples at the time of the interaction is, in the eyes of the busy HCP, critical. The positive comments we have received from many HCPs on sales professionals’ use of mobile devices are indicative of the acceptance of this technology, enhancement of the experience, and leads to changes in behavior.

When asked specifically how the mobile device would be best used as a means of information delivery, we received the following advice and comments. (2013 Data from over 1500 HCPs representing 15 specialties):

  • The mobile device is best used for short 1 minute presentations, focusing on main points
  • The mobile device should be used to display medical information in a structured format to save time
  • The mobile device is the ideal tool for one-on-one education
  • The mobile device should be used as a visual aid to get a point across or to educate
  • The mobile device should be used to show videos pertinent to a detail, such as mechanism of action of a drug or how to administer a medicine
  • The mobile device should be used to drill down quickly on topics of special interest, such as dosing in renal failure or drug interactions
  • The mobile device should be used for multimedia or interactive presentations

Verbatim Comments

  • “Chance for more information through easier links (as opposed to rummaging through a bag of papers)”
  • “Easier for sales professional to present information, less waste of my time”
  • “It does not leave large volumes of materials behind at our office. Also requires the sales professional to be more to the point with a few slides as opposed to a lengthy paper document.”
  • “Easy to use and navigate the information, easy to sign for samples”
  • “Demonstrations and ease of visualization of material presented”

Unfortunately, there are also negative aspects to the use of mobile devices, from the design of apps to the lack of e-licenses for clinical papers and reprints. Another area where mobile technology seems to fall short is when it comes to reimbursement, patient assistance programs and managed care issues. We will discuss this in more depth in future blogs.

What questions do you have?