Know your customers better and plan your customer interactions around what they are interested in

Know your customers better and plan your customer interactions around what they are interested in

Customer Interactions can be productive when you have sufficient understanding about your customers. In fact, it is true with any interactions in our professional world. If we know who we are talking to and what their interests are, we will have an edge in the conversation where we can give appropriate and thoughtful responses. People interacting with customers have a very critical role in the company as they represent the company to the outer world. In a fiercely competitive world, customers are hounded by sales people trying to get whatever time they can to show how good their product is. Face time with a customer, thus painstakingly acquired, not utilized productively is a big missed opportunity to both the individual and the company. So it’s important to know and understand your customers better and prepare well for the meeting. Almost anyone with customer touch points would readily agree that if there is a single most important factor required for productive meetings, then it is our knowledge and know-how of our customers. 

Despite knowing this very well, most individuals cannot reach the desired levels of customer understanding. And perhaps, for the right reasons. In our crazy schedules of traveling, internal meetings, cancellations & rescheduling, and reporting, what ends up getting the least share of time is the one activity most critical to achieving our goals - preparation. Now let’s add to that the difficulty in quickly finding the relevant information on the internet. It’s not really the availability of information that is a challenge, but its the time required to get to relevant content that is all consuming. Going through hundreds of web pages and ten different websites and correlating all of this information is almost an impossible task.

Especially in critical fields like life-sciences where you are interacting with experts on critical topics, it becomes all the more important to be completely aware of your contact’s professional activity. This information is usually spread across disparate sources across hundreds of different websites on the internet. Healthcare Professionals typically have affiliations with multiple organizations, attend many conferences and are publishing papers with many of their peers. All of them have their own strengths, interests and expertise in certain topics. It is critical that you are closely aware of their interests. Even if you are constrained with time and resources, careful time and efforts should be invested on researching on your customers and competitors. 

Usually, having any automated crawling mechanism makes it easy to stay up-to-date on HCP activities. However, if you do not have access to an automated system, you can do some of the following to understand your customer profile.

  1.  Have a ready list of publication data bases or listings where you can search for your HCP’s scientific literature. Healthcare Professionals usually publish articles in different names. So make sure to search with different combinations of first and last names so that you do not miss on any important articles. Example: John A. Smith, Smith JA. You can look for the MeSH terms (Medical Subject Headings) within the articles to understand the main topics.
  2. Healthcare Professionals collaborate within the community. You can carefully look at the co-authors and find the networks and connections with your customers. This will help you analyze the influence network within your customer group.
  3. Look for the most important society conferences that happened recently. Check for the topics that your HCPs are speaking on. Compare them with the topics that they have earlier spoken on. Usually this represents well on their topic interest.
  4. Understanding industry affiliations is important. You can usually find the industry affiliations or engagement with your competitors by looking at the disclosures at several events.
  5. Looking at clinical trials in your field will help you know the different investigators of the clinical studies. You can also get to know if your HCPs are participating in any clinical study related to your area.