A common problem many of our clients face is coordinating thought leader engagement across the many teams who want to work with them. Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), like influencers in any industry, have extremely limited availability. Often they get invited to multiple events on different continents on the same day by the same company. To ensure the KOLs you engage are partnering with you on high-value activities at the right time rather than low-value activities at the wrong time, global coordination is a must.
Yes, this is a given, which is why Medical Affairs (MA) teams research and identify the top 200 or so Key Opinion Leaders in every therapeutic area relevant to their organization’s medical strategy. These KOLs are typically prioritized globally for partnership, advisory boards, speaker programs, and other opportunities. Anyone who has worked on one of these global teams knows what can happen next.
An associate of ours invited a German KOL to an event in Berlin. She was a global medical director leading this event. It turned out that the organization’s local UK team had already booked the KOL in London on that same day. She felt embarrassed by the oversight and lack of coordination within her organization. Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence.
Looking deeper, we can see what exactly went wrong. Coordinating KOLs is a challenge between home office and field medical teams. It’s also a challenge across the organization to make sure there is a common platform for engaging with global KOLs. This is an additional complication because commercial, marketing, and medical teams are often unclear on who should be responsible for this one platform, this common system, and who should manage it. For example, whose fault was it that our colleague had to learn from the KOL that they were being double-booked? The good news is, global KOL coordination doesn’t have to be a blame game or an overwhelming task. At Acceleration Point, we help clients discover what their process and technology challenges are when it comes to coordinating KOLs. And as legendary inventor, Charles Kettering said, “A problem well-stated is half-solved.” Let’s discuss the common aspects of these challenges and in so doing find their solutions.
Global KOL Management Process Challenges
Planning is about event logistics. Which KOLs should be invited is one small part. Teams rarely have a process in place for specific KOLs. Choosing a collaborative approach with a set-out process allows for better alignment towards key objectives.
In our German KOL example, the process challenges can be managed with proper planning by the marketing team and the medical team together, along with global partners. Schedule a meeting with those four or five people during which they coordinate desired engagements for that KOL over the next year across territories. Be proactive rather than reactive to prevent embarrassment and blame and ensure success.
Global KOL Management Technology Challenges
KOL-specific plans are often locked into a customer relationship management (CRM) software where they are only accessible to the field medical or field commercial teams. Solutions like Veeva are good if everyone is on the same platform. However, leaders in the home office often are not using Veeva. And many times, all countries are not on the same version of Veeva. In these cases, it helps to have a platform dedicated to helping coordinate engagement plans for the top KOLs.
Acceleration Point has created a platform for this specific instance that helps the organization plan for these KOLs when your internal teams are not on the same system. It’s better to have a shared solution to provide transparency and ensure collaboration. When everyone can see the same page, they can be on the same page, so to speak.
If you would like to learn more about global KOL management or Veeva, please contact Acceleration Point today.