May 07, 2018

Pharma Leaders Share Views, Business Challenges at TGaS Summit

May 7, 2018. E. Norriton, Penn. The TGaS® Advisors 2018 Spring Summit, "Becoming Indispensable Business Partners," brought together 151 pharmaceutical professionals representing 38 companies. The day-long invitation-only event, held May 1 at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal, featured breakout sessions in the firm's client solutions: Executive Commercial Operations, Digital and Multichannel Marketing, Field Operations, Incentive Compensation, Learning & Development, Market Access & Reimbursement, Marketing Operations, Medical/Regulatory/Legal and Pricing & Contract Management.

TGaS also inaugurated the first annual Best of Benchmark, the “BoBs” Awards, for excellence in commercial operations. Nineteen awards were presented at a special banquet on April 30 to 15 clients representing eight biopharma companies and four vendors.  

Keynote speaker Vinh Giang mesmerized the audience with his presentation, “The Psychology of Illusion.” Drawing common threads between the worlds of business and magic, his goal was to move the audience “to take life and career changing action” and “leave them with a feeling of wonder and empowerment.” The child of Vietnamese refugees, Vinh became an entrepreneur early in life, building a global online platform that teaches magic to some 50,000 students worldwide. “Magic is the ability to guide perspective, spotlight influence and challenge belief systems,” he said.   

Breakout session highlights:

Executive Commercial Operations: Attendees discussed their top priorities and organizational challenges. Participants received an advanced view of TGaS’s 15th Annual Current State of Commercial Operations Landscape, providing key industry benchmarks and examples of hot trends in Commercial Operations. The Future Issues in Market Access Landscape was also reviewed; participants generally support Market Access through either Field Operations or Analytics. The session closed with a discussion of Current Issues with Commercial Analytics & Insights and addressed each participant’s questions about “How do others do ‘it’?”

Digital and Multichannel Marketing: Digital Centers of Excellence (DCOE) leaders discussed the most urgent challenges and best practices within their current support models. Discussions evolved into insights regarding reporting structure, brand team interactions and capability comparisons. Relationships with Agencies of Record (AORs) were discussed in detail, including top vendors used, as well as vendor competencies and management. The groups also addressed topics they see as relevant today, such as campaign management, measurement and content creation.

Field Operations: TGaS shared findings from the annual Data Management Landscape focusing on emerging data sources and leverage across organizations. Robert Groebel III, Vice President – Global Medical/KAM Strategy of Veeva Systems, shared how companies leverage new CRM capabilities to enable and enhance sharing of information and customer contact across their organizations. The day concluded with attendees discussing issues they were facing and gaining insight from peers on approaches and solutions to explore.

Incentive Compensation: The Incentive Compensation Excellence (ICE) morning session kicked off with a review of the 2018 Contests and Awards Landscape. Of particular interest: while cash continues to be a popular award for contests and SPIFFs, there appears to be a higher level of satisfaction among both IC leaders and the field with non-cash or experience types of awards (i.e., trips, warehouse dashes, merchandise). The majority of the afternoon session was spent in a group discussion giving IC leaders an open forum to share challenges and best practices related to incentive compensation administration and design.

Learning and Development: The Learning & Development Solution had an engaging and interactive summit where attendees experienced the latest VR and AR (virtual/augmented reality) technology, discussed industry challenges in a peer-to-peer hot topic discussion and learned about new ways to manage the product launch process.

Market Access & Reimbursement: Guest speaker Dr. Maria Lopes, Chief Medical Officer, Magellan Rx Management, presented “A Payer’s Perspective in a Value-driven Marketplace,” providing insight into how payers are transforming their business to a value-based model, the impact it has on their relationship with pharma and how that translates into alternative contracting models. In addition, Dr. Lopes highlighted the financial impact of a 1-Star improvement in a payer’s Medicare rating, which translates to $70 per patient per month.

Marketing Operations: Leaders of Marketing Operations shared their perspectives on how to demonstrate three key leadership priorities: operational efficiency, agility and influencing decision making. The functional breakout also included a deeper dive into Marketing Operations hot topics, including the end-to-end promotional content lifecycle, agency optimization and enhancing speaker programs. Participants left with new ideas, industry benchmark data and best practices.

Medical/Regulatory/Legal: The three major themes in our Medical/Regulatory/Legal (MRL) Spring Summit were: 1) improving operational efficiency, 2) workforce agility/flexibility and 3) building a more robust metrics and analytics capability. Several strategies were discussed on how to manage capacity of resources involved in the MRL review process most effectively. Best practices included accurate forecasting of submissions/materials and optimizing the efficiency of the live MRL team review meetings.

Pricing and Contract Management: Participants held a lively discussion on hot topics, including good faith audits, state transparency laws, formulary verification processes, the current state of contracting system options, alternative resourcing models, systems for membership and pre-deal analysis, as well as other contracting and market access topics.

About TGaS Advisors

TGaS Advisors is the leading benchmarking and advisory services firm for commercial organizations in the life sciences industry. With a roster of top 85, emerging and precommercial life sciences companies, TGaS provides robust comparative intelligence and collaborative network membership services. The team includes more than 50 experienced professionals, most with senior-level experience in the life sciences and related industries.