Pharma’s data challenges: what we learned from our new survey

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The influx of data in the pharmaceutical industry presents numerous challenges to emerging companies, according to Beghou Consulting’s 2019 Emerging Pharma Pulse Report. We asked over 100 pharmaceutical companies—two-thirds of which had annual sales of under $250 million—about their commercial challenges and goals. I’m excited to share our findings with you.

Data informs all aspects of the pharmaceutical commercial process, and it plays a pivotal role in driving sales. Yet, we found that companies face many obstacles when it comes to data analytics and management. Without a proper data analytics strategy, emerging pharmaceutical companies can struggle with inaccurate forecasts, poor targeting and unmotivating incentive compensation plans, all of which can hamper sales. Here are some of our key findings:

• Too many pharmaceutical companies underuse advanced analytics.
The number of companies that use advanced analytics only “somewhat” or “to a limited extent” to generate commercial insights surprised us. The use of advanced analytics can help pharmaceutical companies more effectively analyze large amounts of data and improve the quality of their insights.

• Companies are concerned about data management.
As commercial operations teams deal with an increasingly large intake of data, it is vital that they organize and manage it in a way that allows for efficient analysis. However, many companies list organizing and storing data as one of their greatest commercial challenges. And while new technology can help companies better sift through this data, many emerging companies consider data organization a primary hindrance to using business intelligence tools.

• Data analytics deficiencies have significant impacts on the sales force.
These data analytics and management challenges are causing a snowball effect. This is because many emerging pharmaceutical companies especially underutilize advanced analytics when it comes to two central components of the commercial process: incentive compensation and territory alignment. Lack of a data-backed commercial strategy in these areas can lead to disparate payouts, uneven workloads, and ultimately unsatisfied and unmotivated sales reps. This explains why a meaningful number of companies suffer from high annual sales force turnover.

Our Emerging Pharma Pulse Report reveals an industry struggling to get the most out of its data. As they seek to uncover new insights and improve commercial performance, companies should ramp up their data analytics expertise and deploy advanced technology to optimize their efforts.

For more statistics, takeaways and analysis, click here to download the 2019 Emerging Pharma Pulse Report and infographic.

Authors

Beth Beghou

Beth Beghou is the founder and managing director of Beghou Consulting. She is based in the firm’s Evanston office.