Winning prescribers and driving awareness amongst patients is a focus of most pharma marketers.  But identifying, recruiting, utilizing, and nurturing Key Opinion Leaders should also be a core component of the marketing strategy.


Key Opinion Leaders have tremendous influence over their peers, and their resulting prescribing behavior.  It's imperative that marketing organizations follow a series of best practices when engaging with potential, and existing, KOLs.


Below are 7 best practices to build into your KOL communications strategy


  1. Capture what matters.  Pharma companies tend to select key opinion leaders based on high prescribing habits.  Measuring and tracking decile conversion and prescriptions is good, but because physicians look to true thought leaders you also want to identify true influencers.  Capture academic standing and clinical trial information against contact records through the use of forms.
  2. Segment before you recruit. Based on the data captured above, look at your database and segment recruitment communications. Consider the size of your company, therapy, and adoption of the drug.  Also segment the audience of your KOL.  Identify their physician network, their influencers, and where they go for information. 17-slide-engagement.jpg
  3. Score recruitment behavior.  Just like you can score lead behavior, you can also score KOL recruitment behavior. Understand which potential KOLs are most engaged, and gain insight into what recruitment content is most effective. Focus your efforts on those candidates who are most engaged with your company.
  4. Be easy to work with.  KOLs need a fast and easy way to contribute content. Look at tools like content marketing systems that allow pharma companies to identify content needs and assign content topics based on the need.  These tools also allow the KOL to easily submit content for review and streamline the review and approval process while honoring compliance procedures.
  5. Use 'em so you don't lose 'em.  The bulk of your content marketing should center on KOL generated content.  Leverage them in you written content, CME courses and through speaking engagements.  Record their CME courses and speaking engagements and then utilize segments of the recordings as 2-3 minutes snippets on your website, YouTube channel, physician portal, and in eDetailing follow-up campaigns.
  6. Be transparent.  As a result of the large number of potential KOLs within a life sciences network, different departments within an organization may unknowingly approach the same physician. Sales and marketing teams, clinical research and contract research organizations, and medical education and clinical affairs groups have contact with KOLs on a regular basis but generally lack a reliable way of tracking these KOL relationships. Manage not only KOL data across the organization, but also develop and communicate universal profiles based on the KOLs Digital Body Language.
  7. Automate your communications.  Marketing automation is not for marketing alone.  Leverage process automation, rules based workflow, and a contact's Digital Body Language to deliver the right communications, to the right KOL, at the right time. Understand what motivates the KOL and how that KOL defines quality engagement.  Nurture your relationships and don?t communicate only when you need something.  As stated in an article by PharmaExec, often KOLs value access to Medical Sciences Liaisons.  Work to facilitate that relationship.


What tactics do you use when engaging with KOLs?