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How a global pharma company sucessfully communicated the launch of a new medicine trough strategic salesforce allocation

min. read
Business question

Situation summary and business challenge

Our client recently launched a new drug on the market.

The main question was: "How can we use our salesforce most effectively to grow market share for a new drug as quickly as possible?"

Our proposed solution

To enable our client to give their sales team clear instructions in terms of which doctors would be most likely to prescribe the drug and for what reasons. In this way, the sales reps know exactly which doctors to talk to and which messages to use to convince them.

Project phase 1 was all about classifying/segmenting doctors based on their attitude towards/need for these products, as well as their (future) prescribing behaviour. For this, we worked together closely with a research agency specialised in the pharmaceutical sector. We also developed a doctor segmentation model (using latent class and cluster ensemble methods).

In phase 2, a link was established between the segments and our client’s database of GPs. This allowed the client to enhance their database with this segment information. Through a small research project (conducted by an MR agency) a selection of GPs (part of their database) were asked a number of ‘golden’ questions. The answers enabled us to allocate a small fraction of the doctors in their database to the right segment. As we knew to which segment these doctors belonged, we were able to look at the other database information (number/type of patients, past and current prescribing behaviour, etc.) to establish a link between the database variables and the segment allocation.

Results and benefits to our client

The creation of four doctor segments, two of which became our client’s primary targets because of their interest in the new product and high patient load. This resulted in optimised resourcing, as doctors who were classified as very hard to convince would not need to be approached. Furthermore, a tailored sales pitch would lead to better conversion rates for those doctors with potential interest. Aside from the prescribing behaviour, the segments also differed in their attitude towards the disease and towards patients. This insight helped our client tailor their communication (i.e. what messages to use) toward doctors.

This sales rep programme has been validated on a small scale, followed by a roll-out in five European countries.

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