Live from eyeforpharma Philadelphia 2019— a look at "Field Force Effectiveness in a “Many-to-Many” World".  

As recently as a decade ago, pharma designed its field forces around a single, templated approach: stacks and stacks of reps. We may have suspected that this was too much, but we were also finding great success with this standard.

Why was the HCP Influence Model so successful? Quite simply, the pathway wasn’t always as complicated as it is today. There were fewer stakeholders involved throughout, and the overall journey was much more straightforward.

But, an important tension began to emerge: the world was evolving at an increasingly accelerated pace, and we just weren’t able to keep up. Fast forward to today, and we’re staring directly in the face of a trust gap between pharma and many of its various customers.

There are four actions we can take now:

  1. Think far more micro. We must move away from this single, templated approach and toward one that embraces multiple models. This means, to a degree, being more comprehensive. For example, we tend to think about and document the patient journey in great detail, but it’s also critical to consider all of the places where that varies based on context… and then wrap the appropriate layers of support around those moments.
  2. Explore links between medical organizations and commercial teams. To the consumer, these are all one organization – all one interaction point. We must explore more powerful ways for these groups to work together. For instance, sharing legal information in a more seamless (yet still compliant) fashion, in breakthrough ways that still honor the privacy guardrails in place.
  3. Cultivate – rather than searching for – the right talent. Today, the question to ask is not, “where will we find these people?” Rather, it’s “how will we create these people?” One example of this in action is in the field of data science, where companies can’t hire talent fast enough. So instead, they are building internal programs that create data scientists. How will we invest in and grow talent from within? 
  4. Address tension points in the model. The ways in which we go to market are fundamentally opposed to the idea of patient centricity, and at the heart of this is the franchise model. How can we restructure to broaden individuals’ focus beyond a single franchise?


If our mindset continues to be centered on selling pills and injections as opposed to being a proponent of health and wellness, we will not change.

For more on the future of field force, check out our new report.

About the Author:

Carolyn Stephenson is SVP, Director of Insights at Syneos Health.