Online communications is a growing part of every sales organization. Pharma has been slow to adapt to this trend. Among the many reasons for this, is the “perception” of the value of the traditional face to face interaction. While this interaction should always remain at the core of the business-customer relationship, failing to expand your interactions into the digital space will see you fall even further behind.
What many organizations fail to understand is that digital does not replace face to face. Many of the conversations I have around this topic are met with hesitation and opposition. This is understandable given the ongoing contraction of sales forces and the growing influence of AI in our lives: the robots are coming!! People are afraid for their jobs. What senior leaders need to understand, and communicate to their people, is that online communications is only one part of the customer interaction. The online interaction should augment and compliment the face to face interaction that defines the customer relationship. There are many ways to do this. Ad boards, webinars and customer portals are just a few examples of where digital interactions can be integrated into the brand plan. However, without guidance and direction from senior leadership, sales people, marketers and professional education managers will revert to what they know: face to face. The more this continues, the further you are falling behind.