How to pick a CRM for Biopharma & Medical Device Companies - A Checklist


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The launch of a potential drug, therapy or device into the market is an exciting time. However, to get the launch exactly right, one has to make sure that the nuts & bolts of technology, operations, and data are perfectly aligned to effectively scale your organization without hitting bottlenecks. A CRM is often the centerpiece of a commercial launch operation since it is the primary interface for the sales representatives who will be representing your product.

Any traditional CRM would have standard features like the ability to manage contacts, organizations, schedule tasks, track opportunities, and other features. However, in addition to these features, CRMs for biopharma and medical device organizations require other capabilities, and an effective operating model to be successful.

Dexur offers a suite of applications focused on biopharma, medical devices, and life sciences companies. Dexur’s CRM solution is developed in-house and integrates with 15+ other apps in our ecosystem to help you scale effectively. Dexur’s App Suite is used by innovative companies such as Altathera, Clearflow, and Heron Therapeutics.

Choosing the right CRM for your biopharma or medical device company is a critical decision with many nuances. Here is a checklist of items that need to be covered while making the choice. Please email dexur@dexur.com to know more about how to pick the right solution.

CRM Evaluation Checklist for Biopharma and Medical Device Companies

  1. What are the customization, implementation, maintenance costs over and above the core software licensing?

  2. Why is this important?

    No two biopharma or medical device companies are the same. Each organization is different in how products are brought to the market with respect to the geographical footprint, channel and selling strategy. For example, the approach taken for a hospital-based product will be completely different from that of a specialty pharma drug, which further differs from what's suitable for a broad-based cardiology product or a surgical focused medical device. The relevant data and information fields to be captured, as well as the resulting workflow will be completely different in each case. These customizations involve significant upfront and maintenance costs that need to be evaluated from a total cost of ownership perspective. Often these non-software licensing costs account for more than 70% of the total cost of running and maintaining a full CRM solution.

    How Dexur does it?

    Unlike other CRM software vendors, Dexur provides its own implementation services which are bundled into the total cost of ownership. One of our key operating principles is customer success and our team intensely focuses on making your organization profitable. This makes it a cost-effective one-stop solution for biopharma & medical device companies.

  3. How are frequent changes, customization and upgrades handled?

  4. Why is this important?

    Every organization makes changes to its CRM platform the very next day after it is “launched”. The change could be as small as changing a field name to a completely new workflow (e.g. a Rep might call on an organization with a specific KOL which could trigger a chain of events). In these cases, how are you managing the vendor relationship? Will this be considered a new change order? Will the vendor nickel-and-dime you with micro change order costs or set an hourly rate? Will these corrosive costs be conducive to the growth of the organization in a dynamic environment?

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s operating model is a fixed fee bundled payment which includes the cost of the software. We expect frequent change and welcome it, without charging extra for even substantial change- ask any of our customers and see if they have gotten a change order. We work as a true partner and an extended team member to help drive change and adapt to new situations.

  5. Will the CRM come with preloaded data on Physicians and Key Decision Makers?

  6. Why is this important?

    A CRM without key contact information essentially means your reps have to do the work in getting all of that information themselves.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s CRM provides preloaded contacts, such as Physicians, and organization hierarchies to help in faster set up of the database.

  7. Will Sales Data be integrated into the CRM?

  8. Why is this important?

    Sales data is the life blood of a representative to benchmark how a territory is doing and make necessary improvements. Most sales reporting data is external to the CRM and users have to spend an inordinate amount of time correlating all the various data points.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s CRM seamlessly integrates and streamlines sales reporting from different channels to give a comprehensive as well as a microscopic view of your sales performance. The platform provides key insights on market trends and fluctuations at the national and territory levels through easy to read natural language generated (NLG) reports, graphical representations and charts, which can guide sales and marketing teams in accurately assessing the performance and coming up with effective strategies.

  9. Does the CRM have a firewalled but integrated Medical Science Liaison (MSL), Clinical Educator & Medical Information Request (MIRF) Management system?

  10. Why is this important?

    In biopharma companies, Medical Science Liaisons (MSL) play an important role in educating physicians and organizations about a product. The medical device world also has clinical educators who perform similar tasks in education. These groups are often interacting with the same customer groups but have different purposes and should be firewalled from a regulatory perspective. However, the database of contacts and organizations should be similar to avoid duplication of costs. Additionally, there are key processes like MIRF requests that cross over between a sales rep and an MSL. Medical Information Request Forms are an important channel of communication between HCPs and biopharma companies concerning inquiries about the drug’s action, clinical data, or the occurrence of adverse patient experiences associated with the drug’s use. Ensuring appropriate and timely responses based on the nature of the requests is crucial to building loyalty and customer satisfaction.

    How Dexur Does It?

    Dexur provides an integrated system but firewalls the MSL, Clinical Educators and MIRF processes based on the user role and group. This enables the system to be used in two completely different scenarios which helps manage costs and make changes faster. Dexur’s MIRF management application captures the precise fields that are necessary for effective management and also relies on the same system to communicate back.

  11. Does the CRM have integrated Incentive Compensation reporting functionality?

  12. Why is this important?

    Incentive compensation systems allow companies to assess the performance of their sales reps and promote an environment that encourages better performance in a compliant manner. This can be a cumbersome process for companies as they have to review individual performances based on a number of metrics in the context of the concerned territories.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur allows the seamless integration of data from multiple channels including sales reporting and activity tracker, to create an efficient system for the calculation and management of incentive compensation. The flexible framework allows you to devise a compensation system aligned with the organizational policies and values based on a number of measurable and customizable performance metrics including conversion rates, target achievement, activity logs, training course completion and compliance.

  13. Does the CRM application have an ability to enable Bottom-up sales forecasting?

  14. Why is this important?

    Reps know the nuances of a market and a rep driven bottom-up sales forecasting provides a realistic estimate that allows companies to set appropriate sales goals and targets. This forecasting method relies heavily on sales projections and inputs specific to each market segment and territory provided by sales reps. However, capturing such extensive amounts of data accurately and consolidating it into a usable format can be a daunting task that is highly resource and time intensive.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s automated forms and processes enable you to build a robust sales forecasting system which accurately captures large amounts of data and performs analyses with minimal manual intervention. The platform generates data visualizations and key market insights that can help you draw up economically viable business plans that ensure better resilience to market fluctuations and enables efficient resource allocation.

  15. Does the CRM support Advanced Profiling & Survey Forms?

  16. Why is this important?

    Accurate and detailed profiling of physicians and organizations (e.g. Key P&T Members or Formulary dates) is key to the success of marketing and sales operations. The data enables improved customer segmentation and targeting, which helps sales reps to identify targets with greater precision and develop strategies best suited to the characteristics of the segment. Surveys serve as an important research tool used by companies in gathering specific insights about customer behavior, preferences and market trends. These feedbacks allow the companies to adjust their strategies and operations for better customer satisfaction and generate more revenue.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s CRM platform offers advanced profiling capabilities including the easy deployment of customizable digital profiling & survey forms that can be submitted via the CRM. The comprehensive profiles provide key insights into aspects such as prescribing behavior and market potential, that can be leveraged by sales reps to create marketing messages aligned with HCP interest and improve conversion rates.

  17. Does the CRM have advanced marketing automation features such as email sequence automation and Natural Language talking points?

  18. Why is this important?

    CRMs are not only effective activity logging systems but also function as marketing platforms. For example, for a rep to be superhuman, the CRM needs to act as an assistant that can automate key parts of his activities in a compliant fashion. Emails are one of the most effective channels of marketing that allows you to directly reach out to your targets, and build awareness about the product. Personalized and targeted email campaigns with natural language generated text based on advanced customer segmentation have proven to be highly effective in generating new leads and nurturing the relationship to conversion.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s CRM software supported by Natural Language Generation technology, offers advanced email automation capabilities. The platform allows you to create automated email funnels for specific customer segments with minimal manual intervention. By leveraging data on customer behavior including prescribing behavior, preferences and pain points as well as relevant disease burden data, the feature allows you to effectively reach out and follow up with prospects via personalized messages. It further allows you to track and measure the effectiveness of different campaigns with respect to email analytics metrics including open rates and click rates, and provides insights on the level of engagement with respect to each lead.

    See Dexur Case Study on Clearflow, a medical device company, that leveraged Dexur’s personalized account specific data, email marketing and natural language generation (NLG) features.

  19. Does the CRM have integrated Sunshine Act Reporting functionality?

  20. Why is this important?

    The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) requires biopharma and medical device companies that participate in U.S. federal healthcare programs to report annually all financial relationships with physicians and teaching hospitals for various purposes including research, travel, events, gifts and meals. It often becomes challenging to accurately track the multiple channels of expenses corresponding to unique HCPs across different systems, posing the risk of hefty fines brought on by non-compliance.

    How Dexur Does It?

    Dexur provides a user-friendly platform that helps sales teams and representatives to record and track the different kinds of expenses encountered during HCP interactions. The platform further allows you to aggregate expenses corresponding to unique HCPs across various systems and set appropriate limits. Integrated with expense tracking and event management features, it provides a comprehensive view of expenditure corresponding to multiple channels and ensures that the budget allotted is not exceeded.

  21. Is your Training and Compliance integrated into the CRM?

  22. Why is this important?

    In the highly regulated biopharma & medical device industry, adequate training of your field sales force is extremely critical. Apart from satisfying the organization’s operational requirements, the sales reps need to ensure compliance to laws set down by the federal and state governments as well as those of the regulatory bodies including the FDA. Failure to adhere to these requirements, often lead to serious consequences including litigation and hefty fines. In addition to compliance, line reps need to have coaching and learning that is highly personalized to the territory and organizations that they are interacting with on a daily basis.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s life sciences CRM provides a platform for companies to adequately train their sales force in topics including safety, compliance and quality, as well as monitor their activities to reduce non-compliance risks. The integration of features such as sales reporting and activity tracker further allows the assessment of their performance on various metrics, thus enabling the companies to identify weak performance areas and address it through timely training aligned with the specific territory and relevant organizations.

  23. Does the CRM provide Disease Burden data?

  24. Why is this important?

    Government policies and programs aimed at promoting the triple aim of healthcare have put pressure on Healthcare providers to align their practises to achieve better patient health and provide better care at lower costs. IDNs and health systems take into consideration key disease burden metrics including cost of care, length of stay, mortality rates and readmission rates, while making key organizational decisions that affect the hospital performance.

    How Dexur does it?

    Dexur’s CRM leverages its anonymized claims database to analyse and present insights on each of these disease burden metrics concerning your area of therapy at the national, regional and hospital level. This data allows you to identify specific trends in different customer segments and identify key targets and prospects for marketing and sales activities. Additionally, the hospital-specific insights helps account facing teams including MSLs and sales reps to educate HCPs and effectively demonstrate the value proposed by your drug or device in improving patient health and bringing down the overall costs and resource utilization.