November 7, 2022

3 HCP hurdles and how marketing can overcome them


Lauren Maggio

Manager, Life Science Partnerships

Marketing has always played an important role in driving HCP awareness, which was a critical foundation that the sales team would then grow into 1:1 relationships. However, as the relationship between life sciences companies and HCPs change, marketing teams have an even bigger role to play.

Here are 3 major HCP hurdles faced by life sciences companies - and tips for how marketing teams can help overcome them.

HCPs are less inclined to meet with sales reps in person

To state the obvious, COVID changed a lot of things about the way the world operates. One of the many ways this affected the life sciences industry was in the relationship between sales reps and HCPs. During the pandemic, while social distancing was a must for public safety reasons, reps no longer had the ability to meet in person with HCPs. Consider these facts:

  • Before COVID-19, 64% of meetings with pharma sales reps were held in person. During the pandemic, this shifted to 65% of meetings held virtually, consistent across therapeutic areas. (Accenture)
  • 87% of HCPs want either all virtual or a mix of virtual and in-person meetings with pharma sales reps even after the pandemic ends. (McKinsey)

This trend away from in-person sales rep meetings isn’t likely to fade. So how can marketing help? By making sure that HCPs have a way to engage 1:1 with a brand even if they’re not meeting their sales rep in person. And if you provide this ability on your brand site, you know that you’re grabbing HCPs at the right time - when they’re specifically looking for information about your product. So whether you interact with HCPs via a live 1:1 interaction or an automated web chat, it’s a good idea to give HCPs easily accessible pathways to build that personalized relationship - even in the absence of a sales rep visit.

HCPs have too little time

HCPs have an enormous amount on their plate, from patient care to paperwork, and their attention is difficult to get and to maintain. That’s why it becomes critical to make sure that you make it as easy as possible for HCPs to find the information they need. If you leave an HCP to navigate your brand site via search and navigation menus on their own, you’ve likely already lost them.

To reach overburdened HCPs, you have to achieve content relevance. (Learn more about the importance of content relevance.) According to The World of DTC Marketing

62% of HCPs said that the most significant area where pharma representatives can add value is by understanding the needs of HCPs and sharing only relevant content with them to make the interactions more insightful. The one-size-fits-all approach will no longer work, and pharma companies will have to invest in greater personalization at scale and build better content development and operations capabilities.

One way marketing can help with this is by delivering a way to engage 1:1 with your HCPs, so you can address their questions individually in a way that guarantees relevance and increases your likelihood of delivering a positive HCP experience. In other words: Don’t make an HCP work to find what they’re looking for on your site. When they show up there, ask them what they want - and then show them where it is. 

Life sciences doesn’t always know what HCPs want

The life sciences industry is working hard to understand and meet HCP needs, but is not always hitting the mark. Both Accenture and Fierce Pharma have reported negative HCP sentiments around life sciences marketing:

  • 65% of HCPs feel at least one pharma company has spammed them with digital content. (Accenture)
  • Nearly 50 percent of HCPs have indicated dissatisfaction with the current state of pharma marketing. (Fierce Pharma)

If you can achieve content relevance, you can address this problem. But what if you’re not exactly sure what content is relevant in the first place? Here’s another area where marketing can help. By implementing ways to offer HCPs 1:1 personalized engagements, you’re able to learn exactly what HCPs want - from the HCPs themselves. This key insight into what HCPs are looking for (and how they want to engage with it) can help you build out a content and messaging strategy that builds credibility with this key audience.

Bottom line

HCPs have a lot on their plates, and adding research around a pharmaceutical, medical device, or digital therapeutic often has to take a back seat to other more pressing matters. By giving HCPs options that allow for 1:1 personalized engagements without a sales rep meeting, and by making sure you’re getting them the right content at the right time, you can educate HCPs without overwhelming them. 

Want to learn more about how to give HCPs what they want? Reach out.