How do pharma sales reps engage in a Covid-19 world?

Updated: May 19

By Philip Poulidis, co-founder of

May 5, 2020

Life sciences companies are being thrust into a new phase of digital engagement - whether they like it or not. The norms are being challenged: with social distancing restrictions, work-from-home (WFH) mandates, not to mention the significant disruption to how physicians manage their existing and potentially new patients.

FirstWorld Pharma recently polled 1062 physicians across the US, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK, and found that "fifty-three (53) percent of respondents said they will make it a low priority to engage with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry – using other means of communication in the absence of face-to-face meetings – during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Clearly, the new reality of pandemic and social distancing has rapidly undermined traditional sales methods. E-mails and calls are stopgap measures, but not solutions. The post-pandemic landscape is also uncertain. No-one can yet say if and when things will truly return to the old normal.

In fact, face-to-face sales were already a difficult prospect, with the accessibility of healthcare providers (HCPs) in decline for many years. As traditional methods come up short, brands have an opportunity to pivot their strategies and adopt more effective digital methods.

ODAIA’s Maptual platform is one such method, a digital tool that makes next best action recommendations, identifies HCP receptiveness and targets effective omni-channel actions in order to achieve desired objectives.

We achieve this by leveraging the data that life sciences companies already have, spread across multiple systems, in order to automatically generate actionable customer journey intelligence on every single HCP touchpoint. Using machine learning techniques, Maptual examines actual customer journeys and generates a visualisation based on a segmented set of representative personas.

Crucially, Maptual works alongside existing methods and data. On the one hand, it digests data from customer touchpoints that already exist, whether they be emails, marketing campaigns, calls, texts or even face-to-face meetings. On the other, it is designed to slot into existing workflows and provide next-best-action suggestions directly into the tools the sales and marketing teams already use. The goal here is to have a tool that empowers sales and marketing professionals to make efficient use of their resources based on actual existing data and behavioral analytics of the HCPs.

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