The increasing workload of healthcare professionals (HCPs) limits the amount of time they can dedicate to sales representatives. This means that sales representatives need to be more focused and add more value when meeting with HCPs. The use of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated insights and predictive analytics can enable sales representatives to interpret large quantities of ever-changing data more efficiently, and thus do their job in a more targeted and efficient way while simultaneously improving customer engagement.

During March–June 2023, GlobalData surveyed 426 physicians from in the eight major pharmaceutical markets (8MM) (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, and China). In this survey, physicians were asked whether they would be comfortable with sales representatives using AI to personalise messaging to help them target HCPs more effectively. Across all geographies, only a small fraction of physicians indicated they would be uncomfortable with sales representatives using AI to personalise their messaging (Figure 1, above).

Physicians who had previous experience with using AI in their practices were more open to sales representatives using AI to personalise messaging compared to physicians who had never used AI before (Figure 2, below). With AI becoming more common in clinical practice, the acceptance of AI should continue to grow.

An AI-driven approach can revolutionise the way pharma sales representatives work. For example, companies such as ODAIA are already attempting to tap into this space. Its AI-powered pharma sales and marketing platform, Maptual, is designed to use data analytics, process mining, and machine learning to analyse customer information and provide real-time, personalized insights in order to boost successful pharma sales.

Leveraging AI tools in sales processes could help pharma companies to boost sales and increase market share. Using AI in sales activities, such as improving physician segmentation and personalising engagements, could also help physicians save their own time; if an HCP is interested in a particular product, AI could help sales representatives perform searches for materials during a sales meeting and provide information that the physician is specifically interested in.

Now, when everyone is seeking increased efficiency and time optimization, AI can lend assistance. Technology cannot be a replacement for human interaction, but if used correctly, it can transform and enhance the way physicians and sales teams interact. With the sales landscape becoming more technology-driven, over time, pharma companies will be able to create more efficient interactions that can benefit both sides: HCPs and sales representatives.

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