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by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 24, 2016


Pharmaceutical customer relationship management (CRM) is a way for the pharmaceutical industry to provide better and more reliable support for its customers and clients. Software can help with that process, as well as help you to face the unique industry-specific challenges of pharmaceutical CRM, such as inventorying your samples, keeping track of new laws and regulations and maintaining positive long term relationships with care providers.

On this page, we’ll provide you with a guide to pharmaceutical CRM software that will help you decide between the various systems out there.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Pharmaceutical CRM Software?
Common Features of CRM Software
Common Features of Pharmaceutical CRM Software
Evaluating Pharmaceutical CRM Software

What Is Pharmaceutical CRM Software?

Pharmaceutical CRM software helps pharmaceutical companies execute sales campaigns, while also adhering to industry compliance requirements. Given the challenge of getting in front of doctors and the intense competition within the pharmaceutical industry, sales reps need to be as efficient and on-target as possible. Pharmaceutical companies are responding by turning to CRM software as a means of gaining sales and marketing efficiency, as well as improving industry compliance to enhance credibility with physicians.

Common Features of CRM Software

Using CRM software, businesses become better at organizing and managing relationships with their customers. The software allows for a consolidation of contact information into one location that multiple users across the company can easily access. Some systems will also help to create specific automated processes and generate reports and analytics that can be used to judge performance and productivity.

CRM software allows businesses to better organize and manage relationships with their customers and clients by consolidating contact information into one location accessible by stakeholders across the company. Some software will allow for certain processes to be automated, and for management to monitor performance and productivity, both across the board and for individual employees.

Although different systems will have different features, most CRM software suites will include the following four core functions:

Contact management. The central purpose of most CRM software is to store customer and client contact information in a searchable database accessible by multiple users across the company. Some systems will also provide access to contracts, sales proposals and other important documents.

Interaction tracking. In addition to just managing your contacts, most CRM programs can track interactions with clients, whether those conversations are on the phone, in person, or via chat, email or other online channels. Some of these interactions need to be logged manually by the sales team member or other employee who was involved in the conversation, but some can be automatically tracked through phone/email integration. Modern CRM systems will increasingly track social media interactions, as well, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

Reporting and analytics. A robust CRM system can create reports and generate analytics based on a specific set of logged-in activities, such as the number of contacts created or the amount of revenue generated. These reports can help you to not only track performance and productivity amongst your sales team, but also predict your next-quarter pipeline, ROI and other important financial figures.

Workflow automation. By combining your calendar with various task lists, alerts and templates, workflow automation helps to standardize business processes. For example, you can create a predetermined sequence of tasks that need to be completed. When one task is marked as completed, the next one in the sequence is automatically assigned. You can also set up your system to create automated reminders for follow-ups and alerts for events that need to be taken care of personally/manually.

Common Features of Pharmaceutical CRM Software

CRM software is designed to manage relationships between sales and marketing professionals and their customers. This is true in pharmaceuticals, too, where the sales people are the reps and the customers are physicians. Look out for these features when considering pharmaceutical CRM software.

Medical representative management Manage medical representative office visits based on factors like route convenience and physician specialty. They can also track visits based on medication, representative and region, leveraging that information to enhance and focus future marketing efforts.
Marketing campaign management Sales reps should be able to execute marketing campaigns both in-office and virtually. With CRM for pharmaceutical sales, the rep can access organized product and physician information to create targeted email messages and effective presentations. The software may also have capabilities for creating segmented calling lists to execute phone campaigns more efficiently.
Sample tracking A more advanced feature, sample tracking helps reps manage their drug sample inventory and track drug prescription preference among physicians.
Regulatory compliance Since failure to comply with industry regulations can cost millions of dollars, pharmaceutical CRM software should have embedded compliance modules that allow organizations to carry out sales, marketing and service activities while remaining within the bounds of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
Mobile device support If you’re making a lot of in-person visits, support for mobile devices will be incredibly valuable to you, but due to the complexity of the pharmaceutical industry, the technology has only recently been developed. Vendors are beginning to release mobile applications with specific tools for drug sales reps, such as digital signature capture, barcode recognition and sample tracking.

Evaluating Pharmaceutical CRM Software

Regulatory compliance support is a must for any pharmaceutical CRM solution, as well as the ability to manage physician contacts and marketing efforts. For an additional level of support, consider adding the sample tracking feature to track your inventory, and if you’re highly mobile then make sure the software connects to your mobile device.

Consider the following questions when evaluating pharmaceutical CRM software:

  • Does the software integrate seamlessly with back-end operations such as accounting, billing and ERP?
  • Does the software have embedded compliance modules to keep your organization in line with industry regulations?
  • Can the software support the scale and size of your organization (i.e. suppliers, representatives, accounts, etc.)?
  • Does your organization require a software solution with mobile capabilities for your reps in the field?
  • Does the vendor offer multiple vertical market CRM solutions, or do they specialize in pharmaceuticals?
  • Who in your company will need to have access to the software?
  • What processes would you like to have automated by a CRM system?
  • What kind of license do you want for your software—perpetual (one upfront fee) or subscription?
  • How do you want your software deployed to you—cloud-based or on-premise?

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