In pharmaceutical sales, the traditional approach for increasing market share has been brute force – more reps, more calls, and more talk time. But now, the sheer number of reps has caused physicians to severely limit access. As a result sales strategies must evolve from quantity to quality through targeted messaging. (Hall, 2004) In December 2006, the marketing VP for Sanofi-Aventis stated: “We are so far behind other industries but the good news is that CRM can change marketing practices.” With the above indications of the importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in mind, I am going to discuss the implementation of a CRM system in a pharmaceutical organisation. Definitions of CRM and CRM systems are wide ranging and vary depending on the situation to which they are being applied. The definition that I feel is appropriate for the purpose of this report is given below: CRM is an information industry term for methodologies, software, and usually internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organised way. It focuses on leveraging and exploiting interactions with the customer to maximise customer satisfaction, ensure return business, and ultimately enhance customer profitability (Choy et al, 2003)
Aside from the academic research detailed in the reference section, I have interviewed a Customer Relationship Manager who was recently responsible for overseeing the implementation of an integrated CRM system to a UK division of Johnson and Johnson and drawn on my own experience at the same company. ?
In IT terms, CRM is an enterprise-wide integration of technologies working together, such as data warehouse, Web site, intranet/extranet, phone support system, accounting, sales, marketing and production. (Stefanou, C. J., Sarmaniotis, C., Stafyla, A., 2003) Most businesses use an Application Service Provider (ASP) to deploy CRM solutions. The ASP hosts and manages a software application and delivers it to the customer over the Internet or over private, leased communication lines. The market leaders for 2007 according to CRM magazine include: Seibel Systems, Salesforce.com, SAS institute, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
According to Bose (2003) CRM technologies can be classified into two types of system 1.
In an IT assisted system the employee becomes the intermediary between the CRM and the customer i.e. the CRM is a tool used to assist the employee. In automated interaction system the customer would interact directly with the system. The type of system required in the pharmaceutical organisation, where sales are driven by company representatives is mainly the IT assisted system. However, there are also opportunities for automated interaction through the web.
A widely accepted classification of the systems connected to CRM is given below: •
Operational CRM systems improve the efficiency of the business process and comprise of solutions for sales automation, marketing automation, and customer interaction management •
Analytical CRM systems manage and evaluate knowledge about customers for a better understanding of each customer’s behaviour. Data warehousing and data mining solutions are typical in this area. •
Collaborative CRM systems manage and synchronise customer interaction points and communication channels.
The pharmaceutical industry would draw mainly on the analytical and collaborative functions above. The main features of CRM systems in the context of the pharmaceutical industry are below: Data Collection: In general, implementation of CRM system is begun with collecting various data related to customers. In the pharmaceutical organisation this would involve the company representative using a computer or a P.D.A for data entry. Data Storage: The data is then used to construct a data warehouse. A data warehouse is a large physical database that holds a vast amount of information from a wide variety of...
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