Medical affairs teams are increasingly using customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to manage how they engage with key opinion leaders (KOLs). These tools can help medical affairs teams sort through different opinion leaders and find experts with whom they can connect.
There are multiple CRM options on the market, and the best ones will have been designed with MA teams in mind. As you look for a tool to manage your KOL outreach, make sure you prioritize these valuable features.
Medical affairs teams are constantly looking to connect with new influencers and key leaders. As your network grows, it may be hard to identify who each KOL is, your relationships with them and your previous discussions. This is where an effective CRM system or platform comes in.
A CRM system or platform allows you to log your communications so you can see how frequently you engage with key opinion leaders. You can also add notes to cover what you discussed so you can keep the conversation going the next time you reach out.
This system is particularly useful as you engage with a range of KOLs, from seasoned leaders to new researchers in your field.
“On your KOL list, the less influential KOLs are what we call ‘rising stars,’” writes the team at MSL Consultant. “A big mistake many pharmaceutical companies make is to ignore their rising stars and only try and engage them once they move up the influential ranks.”
Instead, they recommend highlighting potential stars and engaging with them every few months. This relationship building can benefit your team as their career experience grows.
Filtering the rising stars from seasoned professionals can help you create targeted campaigns for both parties so your newer key opinion leaders aren’t ignored.
The best way to engage with key opinion leaders and receive positive responses to your efforts is to be prepared. MA teams that understand who they are talking to can build stronger rapport and foster better relationships.
“Research the Key Opinion Leader’s interests, recent publications, and have a great understanding of his or her involvement with the company, especially if you are meeting with this HCP for the first time,” writes medical science liaison Monica Saleh. “Taking an interest in the Key Opinion Leader’s professional life will not only help you build a rapport, but it can also guide a more targeted discussion.”
A quality CRM system can help you filter through interests and add information on the profiles of different KOLs you need to engage with. For example, you can generate a list of key opinion leaders based on their publication history or their educational background. This drives a better response than reaching out to your whole KOL list about a specific topic.
A CRM system or platform can help you identify who to reach out to, and it can also guide your engagement strategy. Engaging key opinion leaders isn’t enough. Your medical affairs team needs to have clear goals for these relationships. Why are you calling a specific doctor or healthcare professional? How do you want to work with them?
“The more clearly you’re able to define what you need from specific [external experts] – whether that is attending Advisory Board meetings, facilitating one-on-one consultations, engaging in research collaborations, analyzing data or spearheading educational activities – the more effectively engaged and involved the EEs will be,” writes the team at CMK Select.
A medical affairs-focused KOL system can provide real-time strategy evaluation to measure the impact of your potential outreach plan.
Software should never operate in a vacuum. Companies today look for systems that connect with other business applications and tools. Your CRM platform is no different. Make sure your tools are able to connect with other apps within your organization. These include apps from the same software provider along with your own internal systems.
A lack of integration can leave your team frustrated by creating extra steps to synchronize information. It can also create information silos that prevent teams from collaborating effectively. Avoid limiting your productivity by looking for comprehensive systems.
Test drive multiple CRM solutions to understand how different systems can help you engage with key opinion leaders. Look for a platform that specifically assists medical affairs teams. These tools will have specific filters and data points that you can use in your engagement plan.
At Anju Software, we have developed TA Scan CRM, which offers tailored KOL management. It has all of these mentioned features and more to help you identify key opinion leaders and form an effective strategy so that you can meaningfully engage with them.