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How biotech & pharma can gain a value-based competitive edge

The biotech and pharma sector finds itself heading towards profound changes, a great deal of which are led by evolving patient needs. Patients are seeking to be treated more as partners when it comes to decisions about their healthcare. Meanwhile, companies have to deal with a shuffling roster of market forces that are continually closing in and squeezing revenue. And the professionals making it happen—the doctors, nurses, researchers, etc—have to navigate it all while meeting targets and maximising value to patients.

Though it may seem an insurmountable collection of forces, it’s a siren call for organisations to do what they’ve so far lagged behind on: digitisation. Many of these issues can be addressed with an intuitive, purpose-built CRM, and it’s what pharmaceutical and biotech companies need to start looking into if they’re going to fare well as industry changes gather momentum.

Regulatory Challenges

While biotech and pharmaceutical companies are generally quick to innovate, regulation is often slow to keep up. That means for many biotech and pharma companies, the vast resources poured into research and development don’t provide returns as quickly or as robustly as they ought to.

But the issue doesn’t merely boil down to waiting for regulation to provide allowances for the use of new technologies. It also encompasses innovating while creating maximum room for new technologies to stay within present regulatory confines.


The biotech landscape in the UK comprises mostly of small and medium enterprises. That makes the industry at large ripe for entry and disruption by new players, which is what has been happening over the last several years. Moreover, with the rise in off-patent medications and an increasingly globalised marketplace, price-based competition will only suffocate margins further.

As a result, companies need to find new ways to retain customers and, if possible, they need to do so based on providing value and a customer experience that exceeds what competitors are able to offer.

In parallel, governments have proven ready to support alternative means to meet demand. Changing trade agreements and initiatives like UK’s Bioeconomy Strategy to 2030, open the doors to new entrants in the local markets.

To overcome the multidimensional competition they face, biotech and pharmaceutical companies require systems that offer a value-based competitive edge, with customer satisfaction likely to prove to be the more defining actor as competition stiffens.

Increased Customer Involvement

Patients are becoming increasingly interested in playing bigger roles in their healthcare. They want more information, and they want it personalised to them.

This is an industry-wide trend, with the NHS also showing heavy interest in not just delivering personalised information to patients—but going a step further to embed it in research and development of personalised medicines.

Knowing that the technology is there to meet this demand, and to help lead them to better outcomes based on their unique profiles, patients are quickly coming to expect it as part of their treatment.

How a CRM platform like Salesforce Health Cloud can help respond to the changes

What’s clear is that the biotech and pharmaceutical needs to offer an approach that puts the patient front and centre. Doing so improves retention, and offers significant process streamlining opportunities that—taken advantage of—can clog revenue leakage points. In more detail:

  • Boosting Patient Centricity

With a CRM, patient data becomes centralised in a single, unified view. That’s taking into account conversations, devices, and full medical history.
The easy access to patient information makes it far easier for healthcare professionals to put patients at the centre of their practice, and to draw keen insights that can point to areas that need improvement.

For example, that may be seeking out points in the patient journey that are suffering from a lack of personalised engagement. With such an approach, it becomes possible to offer solutions that are personalised to individual patients, something they’ve been increasingly demanding.

This makes for various opportunities to deliver tangible and customised value to each patient. And that’s effective for getting an edge over the competition, especially if they’re offering solutions with less customisation.

  • Account Planning

In biotech and pharmaceutical companies, sales professionals conduct many short meetings. And, for each, they need to have recent information that reflects industry landscape changes.

That’s complex information, too. Often it needs to be coherent and organised enough to allow for deciphering the various relationships between doctors, hospitals and payers.

With a CRM, sales professionals can easily retrieve this information instantly, allowing them to conduct their calls based on data and points that are effective and impactful.

  • Mobility

Physician demands and cost containment measures across the industry have cut down the time healthcare professionals can spend with patients. Salesforce implementation can make up for this by creating a mobile-first approach that makes it more feasible to provide quality customer care and experiences while on the go.

Some applications that can be used for this include using rich media presentations—built from patient data—to make consultation time more informative and helpful. Another application that widens the data pool for later reference and insight is call and visit recording.

Also, healthcare professionals can use the CRM for next step automation, ensuring that their processes for meeting with and helping patients require less needless manual input, availing time to offer value the customer can appreciate.

Final thoughts

The biotech and pharmaceutical industry can adapt to the changes and challenges it faces if companies take a warmer stance towards digitisation. With a CRM platform like Salesforce, healthcare professionals can offer patients greater value and potentially better outcomes, while also helping to keep revenue constraints at bay.


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