5 min read
Jerome Maisch - Feb 26, 2016

Key success factors for Pharma strategic intelligence - a story of rats

#CompetitiveIntelligence #Pharma

Pharma CI Europe - the conference gathering experts and specialists from the Competitive Intelligence sector dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry, was held in Paris over 18 and 19 Feburary. It was an opportunity for Digimind, who have over 15 years worth of experience in the implimentation of intelligence tools and projects in the pharmaseutical industry, to present their latest insights in: "Key Success Factors for a 360° Competitive Intelligence Process in your Therapeutic Area".

Daniel Spilsbury and Marie Jung, Sales Consultants Digimind

Daniel Spilsbury and Marie Jung, Digimind Sales Consultants explained how to go about achieving a successful pharma intelligence project through examples of monitoring, analysis and deliverables on a number of topics inlcuding clinical trials, innovations, drug safety issues, side effects, product launch campaigns, scientific publications, etc.

A story of rats
They notably refered to a CI project launched some years ago for a big laboratory, Histon-Meckers. A made up company name, but a true project and story. The lessons and things to take away from this story apply to strategic intelligence in all areas, well beyond the pharmaseuctical industry alone.

HistonMeckers” provides specialist equipment for pharma-biotech companies. This includes all equipment for laboratory rats, the boxes, up to the fully equipped research lab.

The problem : the sellers did not have enough potential leads to contact (track prospects).
The first stage of a strategic intelligence project is the targeting phase:
To define the "for what"? (More sales, more profit), and then the "what": the leads.
The Digimind consultants met Tim Botingles, Sales Director, who, at the time, was spending a lot of time and money to get leads files to contact (the activity was outsourced).

We analysed their portfolio with him to see where the best leads were coming from.
What did we learn from their profile? Some common criteria of several important leads. The development of a new drug requires years of development. During the development cycle, in Phase II, pharmaceutical companies conduct tests on laboratory animals
But it begins with the discovery of a molecule and investing a lot of money. Companies that raise funds in this sector are likely to start a new drug development cycle.
And that means they are then future prospective clients for Histon-Meckers.
In other words, companies that collect funds can be considered as Sales Triggers for Histon-Meckers.

The idea then is to primarily target these companies. The result of this key phase is the definition of a CI perimeter, which can be synthesised as follows:

CI Scope
-Key Intelligence Topic: FUND RAISING
-Industry: Pharma-Biotechs
-Sources: all types
-Language: English
-Geographical Coverage: Worldwide

This is only a small part of all the you can potentially do ...

Then, the process continues by selecting the right sources.



Extract of catergorised pharma sources Extract of catergorised pharma sources



You will need to bring together thousands of key web sources around the world in a single database, in your intelligence tool.

With such a database, in just a few clicks, you can choose the language, sector, country, content type of your health sources, pharma, economic, market, regulatory ... and you're done. Not quite.

Because now comes the filtering phase: it is essential to filter the content of your thousands of sources by words and expressions organised by logical operators (OR, NOT, AND, NEAR ...).

The more powerful your filtering capability is, the more likely you are to receive highly relevant content instead of numerous additional and non-relevant information.
The result: you are now able to visualise in a structured format all relevant funding opportunities of your area. Information collected looks like this:


Monitoring exercise of pharma-biotech funds, structured Newsletter Monitoring exercise of pharma-biotech funds, structured Newsletter


Each sales representative received this Newsletter daily without any effort, saving valuable time.

The benefits ? They are simple, but generate a significant ROI:

Stop outsourcing to search for leads.
100% of business time is devoted to sales.
Deployment of Industry Competitive Intelligence and newsletters to all sellers (32 people).
A "must have" tool (according to management).

Follow the money!
This strategic intelligence project was called "Follow the money" because of the type of information collected and the project objective. And also to arouse curiosity ...
The marketing of a CI project is also an essential practice in Competitive Intelligence Management.

What can we learn from this story?

Competitive Intelligence follows a key process. For it to work, imagine the oil production process up to the point where you fill up the tank of your car: you have to choose the right fuel for your vehicle (the "why"), then extract, select, refine and disseminate to the right person via the right distribution network.


The CI process: classic but we must respect all stages The CI process: classic but we must respect all stages


This follows a traditional, but essential process. Despite all this good practice, keep in mind that compliance at each stage of this process guarantees the success as a whole. In other words, good practice rests on the basis of sharing knowledge and information with people who need them. The collection of information must be justified by solid objectives. Without these goals, you can end up dealing with millions of information, both difficult to synthesise and disseminate to the right people.

And even if you have a clearly defined objective, a lack of clear selection in the scope, analysis or even lack of specific targeting can lead the project to fail. CI is an approach to respect step by step.


Written by Jerome Maisch

Marketing Manager @digimindci. Passionate about big data & social marketing. Photography, music and hiking lover