It is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person engagement much more difficult. As a result, organizations are struggling to maintain relationships with key stakeholders. For pharmaceutical and medical device organizations, medical affairs and sales teams are grounded, making strong targeting and engagement strategies even more imperative in order to gain a competitive advantage.
More importantly, maintaining relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs) is central to a life science organization’s success. In parallel, data capabilities are needed to profile and target the right KOLs who are closely aligned with your organizational goals. Finding ways to bypass physical barriers, like COVID- 19, with remote capabilities that enable valuable engagement will be what makes finding and maintaining the best KOLs to partner with, easy.
Defining a KOL
A KOL is a clinical or scientific thought leader who is typically a physician or healthcare professional who is willing to speak on behalf of a company’s products compared to competitors’ offerings. Additionally, KOLs can also be speakers, government officials, and even philanthropists who can partner and provide industry expertise to your organization. They typically collaborate with MSLs and medical affairs teams at pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
KOLs are helpful in guiding the product through the launch cycle by aiding and reviewing commercial messaging related to the product's benefits and outcomes. Ultimately, a KOL is a key partner for life sciences looking for guidance on how to successfully progress products through the FDA, how to expand reach, and how to drive revenue in the marketplace. Targeting KOLs who will align with a company’s brand initiatives and commercial goals is key for product and overall organizational success.
While MSLs typically engage with KOLs, the role of the MSL is shifting causing a shift in the stakeholders that medical affairs engages with. For instance, new stakeholders might include HTA bodies, regulators, and patient groups. While these relationships are highly important, it is important that medical affairs keep KOLs top of mind during COVID-19. They are the subject matter experts (SMEs) on how certain products and drugs can and should be used if patients have the coronavirus.
Prioritizing KOLs and focusing on messaging is imperative in the face of the pandemic, but it’s important to maintain relationships with other stakeholders to uphold a certain level of trust and mutual respect regardless. Collaborating with and targeting this many stakeholders may get confusing and messy. Therefore, upskilled capabilities are needed for MSLs to manage and organize stakeholder data, segmented for maintaining valuable relationships especially with limited face-to-face communication.
In a recent study by the MSL Society, about 50% of MSLs report that KOL access was reduced by 76% - 99% as a result of COVID-19. In response, MSLs should be capitalizing on digital capabilities to maintain relationships with stakeholders. Shifting to virtual relationships in the face of the pandemic may prove difficult but by creating more valuable and interesting messaging, progress becomes easier. Additionally, sharing valuable insights and clinical assets will make for more meaningful interactions with KOLs.
Using data to better understand what specific KOLs are interested in will make for more informative and collaborative relationships. CRM solutions with KOL profiling capabilities coupled with virtual conferencing capabilities will help boost valuable relationships and your organization’s mission of improving patient outcomes. Keep your data close and your KOLs closer with TikaMobile's solutions.
TikaMSL enables MSLs to profile and target KOLs, capture and log interactions, and track Medical Inquiry Request Forms. The built-in KOL profiling module allows MSLs to identify KOLs, conduct profiling and research, and drive better targeting and prioritization. Full integration with CRM Plus allows for quick look-up of KOL details while conducting research as well as real-time updating of KOL details and easy sharing of information with authorized users within the organization. Integration with TikaConnect promotes virtual engagements with key stakeholders via video conferencing and e-detailing capabilities.
For a strong medical affairs profiling and engagement strategy, contact us for more information or to request a demo to learn more about our industry-tailored solutions.