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The Customer Engagement Challenge

Access continues to be an issue for field facing teams, even with the shift to digital customer engagements. Most HCPs have gotten used to digital engagements and have no desire to go back to prior sales models. Despite this, field teams are hoping in person will become the primary way of engagement again.

Pharmaceutical companies have an opportunity to embrace the accelerated changes this past year has brought to build a strategic engagement model that is entirely new and works better for everybody.


Pharma as a whole seems to recognize that change is “needed”; that the old, tactical sales models simply don’t translate in today’s complex environment. However, many pharma organizations struggle to get off the drawing board and identify the operational levers that lead to lasting commercial impact. Time is not on pharma’s side…. Between decreased access and reduced sales forces, increasing pressure on cost, rising demand for transparency and the complexities of healthcare systems, pharma account teams AND the organizations that surround them, need to embrace commercial transformation activity as the new norm on a daily basis.


So why the hesitation? Why so many fits and starts in the attempts to evolve? Well, Clarity has given this topic much consideration and it seems to come down to 3 compelling factors:

  1. The business case for change is not firmly established or understood. (Account managers simply don’t see any reason to change what they’re doing).
  2. A well-conceived plan for long-term capability development does not exist. (Short-term, training events in isolation).
  3. There are no mechanisms for implementing transformation initiatives early and often. (Waiting too long after product launch).


Just as it is with customer engagement projects in general, you can’t tackle everything at once. So this blog will focus on the change factor for now. In a McKinsey article entitled: “The Irrational Side of Change Management”, a survey of 3,200 executives worldwide, revealed that only one in three transformation projects succeeded. The authors outline four basic conditions that need to be present for employees to change their behavior. They are:

  1. A compelling story – Employees must see the point of change and agree with it
  2. Role modelling – Employees must see those senior to them and those around them behaving in a new way
  3. Reinforcing mechanisms – Systems, processes, and incentives must be in line with the new behavior
  4. Capability building – Employees must have the skills required to make the desired change

The absence of any ONE of these is enough to derail the best of intentions but it’s establishing the case for change that should always come first; and not just from line managers and directors. Everyone, including the CEO, should be able to quickly and clearly articulate why and how the organization is changing to adapt to new customer environments and more demanding stakeholders.

Everything flows from there. We’re not saying it’s easy or it can be done overnight. (It is not and it can’t). But with the right insights, planning and the ability to tell a compelling change story backed by facts, the organizations can learn from the past and put in place the operational frameworks, best practices and tools needed to make the commercial transformation effort succeed.

– Change Management: Case for Change Decks, Account-type Roadmaps (examples for IDN’s and Payers), Account-type Overview Videos

– Benchmarking & Assessment: Skill & Competency Matrices, Assessments, Account Manager Interviews

– Training, Education & Coaching: 4 ZonesTM Training, Deep Dive Healthcare Landscape Education & Live Account Strategic Coaching


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