How Does a ‘Detailed Follow Up’ Work?
LDA Research Helps You to Assess the Impact of Product Communications
One aspect of the work we do at LDA Research is to support pharmaceutical companies in bringing new products to market. We may be asked to carry out competitor analysis, or develop research which supports decisions on how the product is positioned in the market. Our qualitative research helps to ensure that messaging is clear and that it addresses the issues that healthcare professionals and their patients are keen to address.
Equally important though, is knowing how existing products are being promoted to healthcare professionals, and the impact a given product is having on the market as a whole. This is revealed through the use of pharma rep assessments, or Detailed Follow Ups (DFUs). They are carried out to provide our pharmaceutical clients with detailed reporting on the level of influence and sales success their marketing strategy is achieving with HCPs.
The Role of the Medical Sales Representatives
The medical sales representative is a lynchpin in the success of a new pharmaceutical product. They are the link between the producers of the product, and the sector consumers. Unlike more traditional salesman, the pharmaceutical rep has an educative and strategic role to play:
- Education. The sales rep keeps physicians, GPS and pharmacists informed as to the latest developments in the pharmaceutical sector. This occurs in one-to-one meetings, or organised group events.
- Connectors. Sales reps connect healthcare professionals with the latest research, drugs and treatment which benefit their patients. Pharma reps will often present at conferences.
- Providers. Of course, the sales rep is also the provider of new pharmaceutical products to major healthcare buyers such as the NHS.
Clear Messaging for Pharma Reps
Pharma reps build up a network of trusted HCP networks over time. The endorsements they are able to give to products has the potential to impact sales within their geographical region. For this reason, it’s hugely important that the positioning of new products, and the research that supports them, is persuasive and readily available to pharma reps.
Detailed Follow Ups are a popular way for pharmaceutical companies to find out how their product is being introduced to healthcare professionals. The key questions to address are:
- How does the product perform against its competitors?
- What impact is the agreed positioning of the product having?
- Are healthcare professionals recognising the full range of benefits the product offers?
How Does a ‘Detailed Follow Up’ Work?
One potential way to do to assess a products impact would be to ask the pharma reps themselves. However, the only clear indication reps have of their success, is through sales.
Alternatively LDA’s market research work would normally approach the buyers of pharmaceutical products, rather than the sellers. This is because we are looking for a nuanced understanding of the impact or a marketing strategy. Any new product takes time to impact the market through sales, so DFUs are looking for HCP impressions and buying signals that register future intent.
DFUs – The Process
LDA Research provides Detailed Follow Ups on a regular basis for our pharmaceutical clients. They take the form of meetings with groups of healthcare professionals or individual discussions via telephone. Our assessments follow up on scheduled promotions of a product. Their function is to discover the impact their promotion has had on medical consumers.
Our high calibre moderators all have long experience in the healthcare sector, either through research or practical experience, and they’re able to engage interviewees in informed discussion. Our questions will test:
- The technical and selling skills of the rep
- The quality of the sustained relationship the rep has with the interviewee
- The materials used by sales reps
- The impact of the messaging
- The sales impact of the rep’s promotion on the interviewee
Questioning will focus on the quality of the pharma rep’s work, but will also assess, indirectly:
- The competitiveness of the brand position
- The credibility of the brand positioning
- The perceived value of the product
Reporting on DFUs
Key to any DFU research is the insight into the interviewee’s intention to prescribe the given medicine. Our questioning is also designed to reveal what the key elements are that are driving that intention.
Our reports provide clients with the detailed information they need to support, revise and strengthen medical marketing to ensure maximum impact for their product.