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The Right Message for MSL Performance

Over the last year, I have had several leaders tell me their stories of frustration when their teams do not follow the direction that appears to be straightforward and the benefits to them are common sense. Wait until you see the video below that makes the point.

As leaders, it is tempting to simply tell others what to do. We can tell them to do things for compliance reasons, because it is in their best interest, because we made such a big investment in it, or find countless other ways to rationalize with our team. Even when it is in someone’s best interest, there are often competing desires that may stop them from taking the action that is desired.

Take an example of asking an MSL in your company that visits KOLs to use their iPad to enter notes into a system directly after every visit. These notes are in the MSL’s best interest because he or she can organize and remember their visit. It is also in the best interest of the KOL, because like other members of your medical affairs organization visit with them there is coordination and visibility to what has been talked about. It is in the best interest of the company because they can leverage the information to improve the customer experience or even the product that you offer. It is certainly in the best interest of the person or team that implemented the system to demonstrate usage and ROI. Then why is this simple task often hard to achieve consistently? It would be like telling people that it is healthier to walk up the stairs than to take the escalator (more on this coming in the video below).

While the change agents in the video used an element of fun to change behaviors, there can be other motivations. Often change leaders or those implementing new things for MSL teams focus their message toward “it is healthier to walk up the stairs.” When implementing a CRM we will often hear leaders say things like:

• “We will have a system of record in case we lose the MSL.”
• “Finally, MSL and Sales can appear coordinated to the HCP.”
• “The home office and field medical teams will be able to collaborate on planning.”

However, we must also need to ensure that the shorter-term behavior motivators are also addressed. We need to lead off with messages like:

• “MSLs can record interactions in half the time.”
• “The home office can report on insights instantly.”
• “The system is so intuitive.”

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