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The Active Ingredient features expert insights and commentary from leaders of ZS Associates' global pharmaceuticals practice.

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How to Start Optimizing the Customer Experience Using Customer Engagement Journeys

Posted by Pete Mehr on Tue, Jan 03, 2017

In an attempt to optimize the customer experience, many pharmaceutical companies today have developed tactics and content to engage their customers through a variety of channels, like email, telesales, mobile alerts, videos, etc. Typically, these tactics are deployed to market as soon as the medical and legal teams approve them. The objective is to capture the ROI from each tactic as quickly as possible. This approach often leads to tactics being deployed to customers in an uncoordinated fashion, producing a sub-optimal customer experience. 

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Topics: customer experience, ZS Associates, ZS, Pete Mehr, Pharma, CX, customer engagement journeys

What Pharma Needs to Know About Local Healthcare Markets

Posted by Paul Darling on Fri, Dec 16, 2016


The “shop local” movement has been a mainstay in the U.S. healthcare marketplace for ages. Patients travel fewer than 30 miles for the majority of their care, which means that healthcare is consumed in local markets, each with unique characteristics, almost like small provinces. Providers are increasingly acknowledging this trend, as evidenced by the recent M&A activity of provider systems across the country. Given the pace of change, it seems that this topic warrants a closer look.  

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Pharma, healthcare ecosystem, m&a, Paul Darling, pharmaceuticals, local healthcare market, sales territory alignment, LHM

Five Steps for Improving Campaigns With Customer Suggestions

Posted by Pete Mehr on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

Many pharmaceutical companies have started using customer suggestions to help improve the customer experience. Customer suggestion technologies use data science and technology to identify customer insights and generate recommended actions to take with each customer. With customer suggestions, you can proactively diagnose performance issues with your customers and tailor your communication efforts to match customer preferences and increase engagement.

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Topics: customer experience, ZS Associates, ZS, Pete Mehr, customer suggestions

How Oncology Sales Leaders Can Get a Clearer Picture of Rep Performance

Posted by Jeff Traenkner on Mon, Dec 12, 2016


Constructing effective incentive compensation plans can be difficult in any therapeutic area, but oncology presents even more of a challenge given its extremely complicated market, frequent changes, small patient populations, low sales volume and products that are used across multiple indications. These complications make it a struggle to generate a complete picture of sales team performance. As a result, companies must assess the performance of their teams—and incentivize them accordingly—based on partial information. It’s akin to looking through a clouded window.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, oncology, sales comp, IPR, Jeff Traenkner, sales rep performance

What Trump's Win Might Mean for Pharma

Posted by Pratap Khedkar on Tue, Dec 06, 2016

First, let’s acknowledge the obvious: Nobody knows what Trump’s win might mean for the pharma industry—not even Mr. Trump. Most presidential candidates outline detailed policies before an election, but as The Economist wrote in its Schumpeter column, “Mr. Trump arrives with a tatty envelope scrawled with a few jottings on the back.” At the same time, pharma stocks are up 10%, so the market sees this as good news.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Pratap Khedkar, Pharma, Obamacare, Trump, presidency

To Label or Not to Label?

Posted by Sarah Jarvis on Thu, Nov 17, 2016


Sunil John and Jon Gonzales contributed to this post.

To label or not to label? That is the question—or rather, one of the many questions that those invited to the FDA’s much anticipated public forum on off-label communication tried to come to grips with when tackling difficult questions about the topic. 

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Sarah Jarvis, FDA, off label, Sunil John, Jon Gonzales, on label, off-label communication

Five Key Imperatives for Getting Started With Suggestions

Posted by Saby Mitra on Tue, Oct 25, 2016

Digital is the preferred method to engage with the pharmaceutical industry for a vast majority of physicians today. But as physicians interact with company assets across multiple channels, sales organizations need to work smarter than before and sales reps need to coordinate more purposefully with marketing channels. Several companies either are considering or are already experimenting with the concept of “field suggestions,” a data-science-driven capability that links multiple data assets across sales, marketing, market access and other functions to produce deep customer insights and suggested actions for sales reps. Without this capability, these insights would otherwise be extremely difficult to predict, even for some of the best reps in the industry.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Saby Mitra, Pharma, Digital

Three Common Mistakes When Setting Sales Goals

Posted by Tanya Chaturvedi on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

David Keim co-wrote this post with Tanya Chaturvedi.

For many sales reps, goals and quotas are a key component in their compensation plans. According to ZS’s Incentive Practices Research (IPR) study, more than 70% of the survey participants (sales plan administrators at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies) use goals or quotas as a component in their compensation plans.

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Topics: ZS Associates, goal setting, ZS, sales comp, Tanya Chaturvedi, 2016 Pharma Sales Comp Conference, goal-based plans, David Keim

How to Motivate a Multigenerational Sales Force

Posted by ZS on Wed, Oct 05, 2016


What motivates a 52-year-old sales rep might not necessarily be what elicits the best performance from the 29-year-olds in the field, so how can sales compensation plans best incentivize a multigenerational sales force? At ZS’s 2016 Pharma Sales Comp Conference, held in Boston July 20-22, keynote speaker —a researcher and self-proclaimed (and self-aware) millennial at Wayzata, Minn.-based generational consultancy BridgeWorks—discussed the key characteristics of each generation and what sales leaders need to know in order to get the most out of sales reps of all stripes. “When we talk about motivation, it plays so well into the concept of ‘one size does not fit all’ when it comes to incentives and compensation,” Ubl says. “What works for one group is not necessarily going to work for another.”

ZS spoke with Ubl about the intricacies of motivating and managing a multigenerational team.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, sales comp, millennials, 2016 Pharma Sales Comp Conference, hannah ubl, generations, generation X, baby boomers, multigenerational sales force

Embodied Cognition: Beware of Comfy Chairs at Car Dealerships

Posted by Hensley Evans on Wed, Aug 17, 2016

Dan James Shaffer and Seth Goodman co-wrote this post with Hensley Evans.

Imagine that you’re in the market for a new car. After perusing dealerships and comparing several makes and models, you found a perfect match and are ready to negotiate an offer. Sitting across from the salesman in a big, comfy office chair, you finalize the negotiation and smile with delight as he hands you the keys to your shiny new ride. 

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Hensley Evans, Seth Goodman, Cognitive Drivers Impact Series, embodied cognition, Dan James Shaffer

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