Empowering global and local brand teams with digital resource planning
Daniel Kohlstaedt, managing director and founder of PurpleLeaf Strategy, explores how moving digital resource planning into the cloud can lead to more simplified, streamlined, and optimised brand planning and execution.
Successful brand planning requires, well, planning. Not only do brand teams need to map out the competitive landscape and understand their advantages in the market when developing their strategy, they also need to know where and how to allocate their sales teams. But without the proper pre-work done to plan for their teams’ efforts at both global and local scales – and the right tools for field teams to track their progress as strategies are deployed – global, regional, and local brand teams may be left without the information they need to deliver treatments to the patients who need them.
It’s critical for both global and local brand teams to have a strong and shared understanding of where to allocate time, resources, and personnel when building a brand strategy. Too often, however, teams lack the consistency or visibility needed across geographies to successfully implement global plans at a local level, then share local results with global leadership.
I’ve seen this firsthand during my time working in industry and with industry leaders. Global teams may not have an easy way to gain insight into local affiliates’ plans for the year ahead, which hinders their planning efforts at a global level. How many sales teams does India have at the ready? How many people are on each of the teams in Germany? Is Italy allocating enough sales reps to successfully implement the brand plan? Which healthcare providers (HCPs) are the Irish teams meeting with? Global teams need answers to all of these questions for each country to effectively build out their strategies, and local teams would benefit from a way to easily share these insights with their counterparts.
While it sounds like a lot of work to answer these questions in order to streamline brand planning and resource allocation, technology can help make these processes more efficient, effective, and inclusive of global and local teams.
Common challenges with resource allocation at the global and local levels
During global brand team meetings, groups from around the world present data on how many field reps they’ve allocated, how many HCPs they interact with, and other key results. While these meetings are host to a range of useful data points for global leadership, the way the information is presented can prevent insights generation. Oftentimes, each country showcases data in their own static templates, which can be difficult for global leaders to comprehend. In addition, it’s sometimes impossible to integrate these templates together to visualise the whole market in one dashboard. These challenges can delay progress and create administrative burden for local affiliates, who may have to re-enter data into global’s systems.
After the meeting, the issues with data input and cross-region visualisation continue. Global brand plans are sent off to local teams in slide decks or spreadsheet files, which one country – for the sake of example, let’s say Belgium – may update with their local plans and send back to global. The following week, Germany may wish to make updates as well, but they use the original global file rather than the one with Belgium’s additions. China pulls from Belgium’s file, leaving out Germany’s data. This string of version control confusions – and, potentially, compounding data errors or typos resulting from information entry mistakes – lead to myriad documents with different countries’ plans for resource allocation, with no trail showing who changed what, when.
These challenges may not sound like they have a significant impact on brand planning, but when global doesn’t have a consistent view into local plans, it can result in problems during implementation. For example, some reps may be allocated too much work, while others get too little.
There’s no shortage of data that can inform brand plans, but when it isn’t leveraged or stored effectively, teams can’t use it to its fullest utility.
Technology streamlines and simplifies data entry for brand planning
In the past several years, pharma’s digital transformation has brought the industry new and more efficient ways of doing everything, from drug discovery to meetings with HCPs. Brand planning is no different – we can use cloud-based technology to make the process of resource allocation planning faster, more consistent, more dynamic, and more accessible for brand teams around the world.
To be truly useful, digital systems need to have two things: a way to aggregate data and an easier way of doing things that facilitates change management at the global and local levels. These aims have inspired us at Enavia to build a system that enables brand planning in the cloud, linking teams around the world to enable more effective resource management.
It’s important that brand teams have a way to import data from all of the sources relevant to their decision-making, and that they can visualise it in such a way that the information is useful and actionable. By inputting data into common templates within a technology-powered database, rather than slide decks or spreadsheets, the data can come to life – for example, regions can see dashboards of local resource allocations, with charts and easy-to-read graphs that show which areas could use more sales reps, and where field teams could be redistributed for better outcomes. Managers at the regional, country, and global levels can see all edits and version controls, and set user permissions to ensure the data stays as clean and accurate as possible. By establishing a single source of truth for all resource allocation data, they can also maintain global-to-local consistency in implementation and strategy.
Benefits at the global and local levels facilitate change management
With the right systems in place, brand teams can ensure they’re generating the information they need to make tactical planning and execution a success. But it can be difficult to introduce new processes, especially within large organisations and continent-spanning brand teams. That said, change management is always easier when the new procedures are simpler, faster, and easier to use than the existing systems.
By moving resource allocation planning into the cloud, global teams can introduce more effective workflows that reduce burden on local teams. Rather than trying to review local teams’ brand planning templates, then asking them to repopulate data into new formats – a process that’s tedious and universally unpopular with local leaders – tech-enabled processes allow local teams to input all of the necessary information into the cloud for storage and sharing in just 10 minutes.
This reduces common pain points for local groups, and they can also benefit from the new systems. Dashboards populate automatically with their data, allowing sales directors in, say, France, to easily draw conclusions relevant to their region. At the same time, global leaders can aggregate France’s data with information from the rest of the world in their own view.
While change management can be difficult, the mutual benefit for global and local leadership of using cloud-based systems over static templates are plain to see. Demonstrating these efficiencies across the brand team can help with adoption and encourage behaviour change.
Continue the conversation at Reuters Pharma Europe
By granting global teams access and insight into all countries’ work, and eliminating unnecessary work for local teams, digital systems like Enavia’s can help brand teams optimise the ways they delegate and resource field sales personnel.
At Reuters Pharma USA last month, I had the pleasure of discussing the ways cloud-based brand planning infrastructures can help brand teams simplify their efforts to lead to stronger, more useful brand strategies with pharma leaders from around the world. I look forward to continuing the conversation at Reuters Pharma 2023 in Barcelona from 18th to 20th April; come see us at booth #9 to learn more.
Empowering global and local brand teams with digital resource planning