Clarkston’s life sciences experts attended the 2023 Veeva Commercial Summit earlier this month. The two-day event brought together professionals in commercial ops, marketing, commercial IT, and medical ops, among other key leaders in the industry, to discuss key themes and emerging trends and learn about the new capabilities on Veeva’s Commercial Suite Roadmap. In this piece, Anna Ivashko breaks down her top takeaways from the 2023 Veeva Commercial Summit.
Key Takeaways from the 2023 Veeva Commercial Summit
1. Modular Content: Getting To An Attractive Content Future Starts With Cleaning The Sink
Modular content was definitely the name of the game in the Veeva PromoMats discussions – but has it “arrived”? Organizations are investing in laying foundations that will enable a modular content, focusing on claims harvesting and building claims repositories that will enable automated claims, language detection, and auto-tagging down the road. While the modular content concept seems to be the word of the future, it requires a significant foundation through claims and digital asset management hygiene. Erica Taylor, the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Genentech, phrased it best, saying “We’re in the ‘cleaning the sink’ portion of the journey…not glamorous, but laying the foundation for what’s to come.”
Modular content still isn’t automated, and the assembly is very manual. It works best today for email and detailing but has opportunities beyond just that. It’s critical for organizations to evaluate the scenarios where modular content will be most beneficial (e.g. pieces that require multiple permutations to support a personalized experience) versus creating standard assets in a modular way just to do it (e.g core vis aides for product launch). However, modular won’t be everyone’s everything; taking an all-modular approach threatens to bloat the volume of content making it through your approval processes.
It will be critical to prepare for a modular type of material review. Key considerations here remain around how modular content will be adopted in the MLR process. That is to say, will Regulatory be comfortable approving something before it is in final flat form?
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): The Road to 2030 is Transition (from Salesforce to Vault)
The CRM roadmap keynote was full of clients looking to hear more details about the previously announced Salesforce to Vault transition. During the talk, Veeva shared a single roadmap of functionality enhancements that will become available in both platforms from now through 2030, ranging from calendaring integrations with Outlook and Teams to the long-awaited non-blocking sync capabilities that will allow field teams into the system during updates. Veeva Align was also lauded as the key foundation for a seamless transition from Salesforce to Vault.
We continue to hear mixed reviews on this topic. Some folks in the industry are apprehensive about the impact of the transition on their CRM custom fields, while others are looking forward to the chance to remove previous customization hurdles in the Salesforce platform.
3. AI: CRM Bot Makes An Appearance
In the midst of ChatGPT and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) boom, Veeva unveiled CRM Bot AI – an integrated chatbot on its CRM roadmap. While many find the concept of a CRM Bot AI interesting as a precursor to some of the natural applications to Marketing Material Review (e.g., pre-QA content checks, etc.), skepticism around the nature and role of AI in pharma certainly still exists. Time will tell as Veeva enrolls its clients into its Innovation Hub to design Bot AI for the future.
4. Change Management: Is Everyone Along For The Ride?
Underscoring the whole summit, change management came up again and again as instrumental to business adoption. There were discussions around Veeva PromoMats owners tackling content adoption and taking their approvers along for the journey in the evolution of MLR review, as well as Veeva CRM owners looking out on a platform transition and evaluating whether they look to be early adopters or laggards to the scene.
Veeva has come a long way since its “autonomy over alignment” ethos to make the modules speak with one another (e.g., the upcoming MedComms / PromoMats connector just one example). It’s time for the various business units – like marketing, field, and medical – to speak to one another and find cross-functional approaches to create a unified HCP experience, regardless of the channel of interaction.
Looking Toward the Future: Impact Not Volume
As I think back to the key takeaways and themes from the 2023 Veeva Commercial Summit, industry leaders need to be thinking about impact, not volume.
There’s still a long road ahead for “digitally supercharging the field force.” In fact, Veeva revealed that 80% of the content on the Veeva platform isn’t being used by the field force. However, marketing should focus on how to deploy materials in the appropriate channel rather than focusing on creating more content. For organizations, this means shifting their sights from “having digital content” as a metric to watch, to ensuring their content is effective regardless of channel. Rather than thinking, “Can the channel perform?”, organizations will start to ask themselves, “Can the content perform?” This will reduce the volume of content and result in fewer pieces with more impact for both the sales teams and ultimately the physicians.
In order to make this shift, organizations themselves need to be transforming. For instance, as the marketing organization transforms to blur the lines between digital and marketing, upskilling and team cross-pollination will become a focus of the future as will building skills in analytics to bring that impact to the forefront.
To chat more about the 2023 Veeva Commercial Summit or some of the emerging trends in the life sciences sales and marketing space, reach out to our Veeva Commercial and Veeva PromoMats consultants today, or learn more about our Veeva commercial and Veeva PromoMats consulting services today.