According to a report by IDC, sixty-eight percent of life science companies are expected to increase overall sales and marketing IT spending.  Additionally, total IT spend in the sales and marketing space is now exceeding $3 billion. And while it’s exciting to see life science companies making an investment in their sales and marketing initiatives, many are not thoroughly qualifying their objectives before making these long-term investments.


Without base-lining current programs and defining future objectives and KPIs, many companies may find they’ve implemented a solution that doesn’t meet their needs and deliver the customer experience they desired.


Below are 32 questions for life science companies to answer as they consider future marketing and sales technology investments.


  1. What is our current focus and effort, as well as desired focus and effort, across clinicians, patients, caregivers, payers, hospitals, pharmacies, and policymakers? 
  2. When targeting clinicians are we focusing on a specialist or the entire care team involved in treatment? 
  3. What programs do we currently execute to educate and influence clinicians about our services and offerings? 
  4. What programs do we currently execute to educate, support, and enable patients in both the pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis stages?  BL_0811_WrBk1-art.jpg
  5. What is the performance of each of our programs across each persona?
  6. Which offers engage each persona, and do these offers vary by need, or are we simply offering coupons across the board?
  7. Have we audited and mapped our content to each persona and journey?
  8. Have we defined our content gaps and developed a plan for further content development?
  9. How do we approach formulary approval and what programs, if any, do we execute to the payer audience?
  10. Do we focus on organic list development, or do we rely entirely on rented lists for HCPs?
  11. How do we build lists organically for patients via inbound marketing efforts (blogs, display ads, portals) or do they rely on referrals from HCPs?
  12. We link to non-branded disease awareness websites.  Have we clearly defined what role these sites play in our communication strategy?
  13. We talk about improving our social media initiatives. Do we want to use social to build disease communities, deliver wellness programs, educate on drug development, increase brand awareness or are the social channels more for sharing corporate information?
  14. What are our “offers” used to drive digital ad conversion in publications and are they targeted for that publication’s audiences?
  15. What are our hit rates?  What web traffic is coming from each channel?  Do we know who are visitors are, how long they stay, where they navigate to, and which pages they bounce from?
  16. Which links and offers are driving the most conversions to each brand?  Are we converting to a brand page or to a corporate page?
  17. Have we defined the journey for each of our audiences?  How does the journey for HCPs, patients, caregivers and payers differ for those brands?
  18. Are we segmenting communications based on data like sales rep, region, CME due date, state licensed, primary specialty, school, advisory board member, disease, medication adherence behavior, patient community, or clinical research participation?
  19. Are we personalizing our communications and targeting offers based on state licensed, sample program, CME due date, primary specialty, advisory board member, disease, medication adherence behavior, patient community, or clinical research participation?
  20. Are we evaluating metrics and reporting around communication performance by region, specialty, sales rep, disease, clinical trial, and medication?
  21. Are we evaluating metrics and reporting for advocate referral opportunity by region, specialty, advisory board participation, and school?
  22. What has been the adoption rate of previous marketing and sales technology?  Why have some systems succeeded, and others failed?
  23. Which marketing technologies and products are we currently using?
  24. What is our main goal in utilizing marketing technologies?
  25. How do our marketing technologies currently work together?
  26. What’s working well?  What would we like to work better?
  27. How is data integrated into our current marketing process?
  28. What is the biggest challenge we are facing with our efforts?
  29. Which initiatives are currently prioritized in our company?
  30. What results do we want to see over the coming 12 months?
  31. Should we consider a digital marketing center of excellence?
  32. How do we define success?  What are those KPIs we want to point to as a marketing organization?  Does our technology allow us to report on those segmented metrics as well as C-Level metrics?


The 32 questions may be very easy for some companies to answer, but difficult for others.  Not all questions may apply to each company, and there are certainly many more considerations for companies as they evaluate resource and budget requirements.


What these questions should do is jog the strategic mind of life science marketers.  Ensure there is a firm understanding of baseline programs and performance, and defined direction for future initiatives and KPIs.


As you consider future marketing and sales investment, what questions would you add to the list?