Implementation challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry

1st March 2021

In our experience, implementing a comprehensive CRM is pretty advantageous for most industries. It can cut costs, improve processes and workflow all using the power of technology. But that doesn’t mean that implementation doesn’t come without its various challenges; they just change depending on your position. 

Pharmaceutical companies must gain the trust and confidence of healthcare professionals and companies that are dispensing their products. The way these companies use their CRM differs from a lot of industries because their relationships are based more on a trusting partnership than a typical business to consumer. 

Here, we’ll examine the particular hurdles faced by those working in the pharmaceutical industry. In this industry, end to end communication is particularly critical. 

High costs

One of the most common resistances to any major infrastructure change is cost. Implementing a CRM is no different. It’s a large upheaval and is often a high financial and emotional cost. Businesses often want to be assured that they will see the return on the investment.

Inevitably, when you put a system like a CRM in place, you’ll need to factor in your ongoing additional costs as your business grows. More sales will eventually need more reps. More reps means more licenses. You get the picture.

You’ll also need to factor in what customisations and integrations you need for your system. Rarely in technology does one size fit all.

For the more long-established pharmaceutical company, this shouldn’t be anything they can’t handle.

Establishing what metrics to use

Thorough analytics are one of the most enticing features of a CRM for many businesses. Pharmaceutical is no different. However, deciding what metrics are appropriate can be challenging.

To help you decide what metrics will be useful for you to report on, go back to your KPIs. Can they be translated into hard data? And is that data realistic?

To begin with, focus instead on more obvious pieces of data. For example, how are healthcare professionals engaging? You can take website analytics to build a picture of what’s working and what’s not. Once you’ve established your goals for your analytics, you can bring real value to the pharmaceutical vending process.

Integrating old with the new

As you can imagine, well-established companies come with history. One of the biggest challenges is integrating old data from legacy systems into the new pharmaceutical CRM. This can lead to data losses and difficulties synchronising the old with the new. 

You may need to factor in data migration when you implement your new system. Providers such as ixRM can handle this data migration as part of their standard process. Doing this can save you valuable time and money in the future. If migration is done successfully, you could save effort in IT infrastructure failures, data breaches and other disasters.

Employee adoption

Last but by no means least, training employees to use the new system is a regular road block for many businesses. For many pharmaceutical companies, the purpose of implementing a CRM in the first place is to improve the efficiency of their field sales people. If everyone has a central platform to log their interactions with, it makes things easier for everyone. Therefore, it’s key that every member of the team is on board and confident using the new CRM. 

If you’re a global company, you’ll need to consider training in different languages and styles (which all becomes part of the implementation budget). But when a system requires accuracy and consistency, this should be a priority within the implementation strategy. You need to always be three steps ahead; anticipating what difficulties your team may face as they get to grips with the new system.

Just as you would if you were planning to restructure your business model or you were rebranding, don’t implement your CRM without a thorough strategy in place. Think about your timescales, costs (both short term and long term), any training programmes that need putting in place. If you’ve done this, you’ll naturally see where the pain points may arise both technologically and for your team. 

If it’s time to make the change, ixRM is here to help. Experienced in Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation across a number of industries, we’d be proud to be part of your digital transformation. 

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