Next Best Action in Pharma

Séverine Huille

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Séverine Huille

Next Best Action is a customer-focused strategy. In short, it considers the different actions that could be taken and then decides which is the best one to implement. Next Best Action can be applied in any industry, but it has become an essential paradigm, especially in the pharma world of digital transformation. 

Indeed, with the pandemic of COVID-19, pharmaceutical and life science companies have been forced to radically rethink their customer engagement models and strategies. With in-person meetings no longer available, how could they ensure that they were providing the most relevant scientific information to their target audience?

The answer was an accelerated digitization of the relationship between pharma companies and healthcare professionals (HCPs). Remote, co-browsing calls, e-mails, and interactions on other digital channels (e.g. web portals conveying scientific information) replaced in-person conversations. 

The post-covid period, however, has not seen a return to pre-pandemic ‘normality’, but a continuation of the ‘dual track’ of communication. HCPs are reached through both digital and physical channels, in a blended manner.

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Two direct consequences of the digitization of the pharma world are now to be highlighted:

1. The risk of an excessive overload of communication to the detriment of HCPs, who continuously receive from sales reps emails, calls, and invitations to in-person meetings. Marketing’s challenge is then to find the most relevant journey for each HCP, with a coherent succession of interaction proposals. For example, if a healthcare professional meets an ISF to discuss a drug in his specialty, he will not then need an invitation for another meeting. Instead, he might receive a follow-up email.

2. The autonomy of healthcare professionals who, thanks to digital channels, can find the information they are interested in themselves. Marketing’s challenge here is to understand what information is available to doctors, and what is their level of knowledge of each of them. For example, if an oncologist reads an article about a product he is particularly interested in, instead of sending him a newsletter with a recap of that article, you could contact him with a personalized email or with a proposal for a visit to learn more about the topic he has read about.

The NBA strategy becomes indispensable because it allows us to respond to these challenges, putting the needs of increasingly informed and exposed HCPs at the center.

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