Pharma companies know that CRM can allow them to increase value across their diverse customer base. But too often, CRM initiatives don’t actually have this effect. Companies need to increase the use of strategic decision frameworks and evaluation mechanisms, if they are to mitigate the inherent risk and develop sound CRM implementation strategies.
New Datamonitor research finds that 44% of pharma industry CRM projects miss their objectives.
Datamonitor’s new report CRM in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Strategies to Increase Customer Value Through Technology reveals that although 82% of pharma companies are planning CRM initiatives, 44% of these projects either miss deadlines or fail completely.
The major problem is organizational resistance. When a company in any industry evaluates CRM implementation, it must take account of the needs and capabilities of a wide spectrum of interest groups, from users in the marketing department to managers and IT technicians.
If achieved accurately, internal auditing can eliminate wasteful allocation of resources during the process and cut implementation costs. It also allows the organization to steer its CRM strategy towards its own needs and away from that of vendors and systems integrators.
If a pharmaceutical company can combine the results of the audit with a clear strategic vision of its objectives, understanding the impact of changing requirements and future technologies, it can build a long-term CRM implementation strategy that evolves with demands and capabilities.
However, this requires a structured approach to CRM evaluation and implementation. At the moment, the industry does not work hard enough at connecting its objectives – improved productivity and customer retention – with the continued focus on operational CRM.
This is why such a high proportion of CRM projects fail to achieve their objectives. As analytical CRM becomes more important, decision makers must consider the benefits of upgrading from an operational CRM solution to an integrated operational/analytic solution.
More than firms in many other sectors, pharmaceutical companies maintain long relationships with the same groups of patients, physicians and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). This makes it vital to have tools that allow maximum value extraction over a customer’s lifetime.
That said, metrics such as customer satisfaction and lifetime value cannot be the only assessment criteria. Developing a CRM strategy without defining or projecting return on investment can lead to companies misjudging goals and timescales – which will inevitably cause misplaced resources and increased cost profiles.