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Creating a Strategic KOL Management System


KOL or Key Opinion Leader is considered one of the important avenues for building awareness in medical and scientific communities. This presentation explains how Pharmaceutical companies can create and maintain KOL management system effectively. Download the full report at: – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Creating a Strategic KOL Management System

Creating and Maintaining a Strategic KOL
Management and Engagement System
Best Practices, LLC Strategic Benchmarking
Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Research Overview
  • Participating Companies
  • Key Findings Insights
  • Universe of Learning Key Demographics of
    Participating Companies 6
  • Structuring Strategic Thought Leader Management
    and Engagement .9
  • Administering Strategic Thought Leader Management
    and Engagement15
  • Coordinating and Communicating Strategic Thought
    Leader Management and Engagement
  • Aligning Software Tools to Support Strategic
    Thought Leader Management and Engagement
  • Identifying and Engaging Thought
  • Measuring Strategic Thought Leader Management and
    Engagement Success..42
  • Staffing Strategic Thought Leader Management and
  • Looking Forward Success Factors for Strategic TL
    Management Engagement..51
  • About Best Practices, LLC

Business Issue Objectives
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are recognized as one
of the most effective avenues for building
awareness in medical and scientific communities.
As biopharma organizations reconsider their
strategic approach to TL engagement, they are
seeking an evidence-based understanding of
current and evolving approaches to creating and
maintaining an integrated, strategically-focused
TL management system.
Research Objectives
Field Survey External Interviews
  • Identify the most common and favored
    organizational structure for strategic TL
    management and engagement
  • Understand the current state of TL management
    practices in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Determine how TL management practices are
  • Identify innovative practices that are driving TL
    management success at other organizations

Expert Sources
34 TL management leaders from 29 biopharma and
device organizations participated in the field
survey, and we interviewed 4 for in-depth
Harvesting Insights Analysis
  • Formulate a Strategic Approach for
  • Improving the Value and Effectiveness of KOL
    Management System and
  • Ensuring Alignment with the Organizations
    Evolving Strategy and Structure

29 Life Science Organizations Participated in
Thirty-four TL management leaders from 29
biopharma and device organizations participated
in the external field survey, and we interviewed
4 participants for in-depth insights
Benchmark Class
Key Findings Study Snapshot of Peers Strategic
KOL Management
  • Many observations have been harvested from the
    study. These are some of the key benchmarks to

Most respondents believe a decentralized TL
management structure is not optimal, though
almost 40 percent use a decentralized system now.
Most view a hybrid or centralized structure (48
and 38 percent, respectively) as optimal for
modern Thought Leader engagement. Many
companies (38) seek to use a strong core team to
lead KOL management companywide. This can be hard
as companies employ cross-functional oversight
groups with leadership from business units,
medical affairs, marketing and others. In fact,
28 said that their companies have no formal KOL
management process in place. Eighty percent of
companies said Medical Affairs oversees TL
engagement and strategy, but their structures do
not support this. Only 31 percent say that
Medical Affairs handles the administration of
such programs. This represents a potential gap or
hole where priorities can become misaligned.
Strategic TL Management Structure
Most Effective Way to Coordinate TL Activities
Medical Affairs Guides TL Engagement/Strategy
5 Copyright Best Practices?, LLC
No One Structure Seen as Best for KOL Management
No single structure for strategic KOL management
is embraced by the 33 life sciences organizations
that participated in this study, although for
current structure the largest percentage - 39 -
utilize a decentralized structure. It is
noteworthy that while decentralized is used by
many organizations, it was only favored by 3
when asked what they felt was the optimal
structural approach for this activity. Almost
half 48 - said a hybrid approach was optimal
for strategic KOL management.
Q3. How is your strategic KOL management and
engagement system structured? Q4. In your
experience, what is the optimal organizational
structure for strategic KOL management and
Current Optimal Strategic KOL Management
Engagement System Structure
I've done it both ways. Ive worked in companies
where they had everything broken down by business
units and then I've worked at companies that
said, Oh no, business units may become too
siloed, so let's bring it all together. -
Senior Director
of Responses
Other Optimal I have not found any system ideal
in trying to handle management of internal team
with external KOLs Marketing Sales Optimal
structure often depends on the business needs and
the size and fragmentation of the businesses.
Communication Key to Coordinating KOL Management
Communication was a theme in other approaches
cited by participants for coordinating KOL
management across functions.
Q13. In your experience, what is the most
effective way to coordinate strategic KOL
management and engagement activities across
different functions and/or groups?
Coordination of Strategic KOL Management and
Engagement Activities continued
Communicate effectively between all stakeholders
Organize leverage field feedback
Conduct regular meetings
  • Define the roles of each functions and joint
  • Having a defined process and transparency across
    all functions and groups to increase efficiency
    and decrease redundancies
  • Expert database with strategic planning tool and
    CRM database for info sharing on activities
  • Via regular quantitative and qualitative feedback
    (CRM tool, OL surveys)
  • Regular, collaborative meetings between KOL
    strategic leadership personnel and relationship
  • Flexibility/ Course correction based on both
    micro and macro trends Discuss/revise plan based
    on KOL maps, scorecards (ROI/ strategy), what is
    working/not working, current and future product
    mix, megatrends affecting healthcare, competitive
    inroads, etc.

Ad Boards Scientific Presentations Most Valued
KOL Activities
A wide range of KOL activities are valued by
organizations since these respected scientists,
clinicians and faculty members provide invaluable
insights and credibility. Advisory boards and
scientific presentations were seen as the most
valuable by participants.
Q22. Which KOL activities below are most valued
by your company? (Check all that apply.)
67 Investigator-initiated research (i.e. IITs,
IST, etc.)
87 Supporting Advisory Boards
77 Delivering scientific presentations
57 Educating KOLs other healthcare
Most Valued KOL Activities
73 KOL relationship management
50 Identifying training speakers
43 Recruit-ment for medical pubs
50 Coordinating company-sponsored research/
47CME activities
43 CI gathering from TLs
33 - Attending medical conferences 27 - HEOR
presentations/research involving TLs 17 -
Managed Care activities involving TLs
of Responses
Many Have Trouble Evaluating KOL Management System
Like KOL management itself, there doesnt seem to
be one accepted approach for assessing an
organizations strategic KOL management system.
While many claim no formal system is in place, a
quarter of participants said they rely on KOL
feedback for their evaluations.
Q25. Describe how strategic KOL management and
engagement success is assessed or evaluated
within your company.
Evaluating Success of Strategic KOL Management
and Engagement
Extremely variable. No consistent process that I
am aware of. Each team does it individually.
Sales modification of physician behavior
affecting sales or patient safety // By tests
and surveys // Cross functional team meeting
based on inputs from colleagues
Assessed by evaluating strategic utilization on a
monthly basis
Market share or clinical trial results
Dedicated FTEs // Monthly report in spreadsheet
// Project deliverables // Publications,
presentations and IIS plus more
difficult-to-measure relationship and advice
Not evaluated // Not typically assessed within
the company. But, during the engagement
activities, if the project was not performed to
satisfactory level, we will just not engage the
KOL again.
of Comments
Strategic KOL Management Requires Multiple
Players, Layers
Executive interviews surfaced several recurring
themes around whats needed for an effective KOL
management system software or internal platform
that shows interactions a coordinator or primary
point of contact for medical and commercial and a
cross-functional team in each TA or BU that
tracks, aggregates and then shares KOL
interaction information with senior leadership.
System/ Platform
Medical should not be creating the commercial
strategy, and the commercial should not be
influencing medical strategy. Once you get to the
very senior management level of the company,
we're talking Senior VP level, then everyone
needs to be in congruence that Yes, we should go
forward based on what we're hearing from the
medical and our commercial colleagues. - Sr.
Director 2, Medical Affairs
  • Gathers Information from Coordinator,
    platform/system and across Functions
  • Aggregates Information to Show Status of Current
    and Future Projects
  • Shares Overview of Medical and Commercial Status
    on Current and Future Projects with Senior

Cross-Functional Strategic Group(in each TA/BU
and includes Coordinator)
  • Identifies/Segments KOLs
  • Shows Interactions (who, when) for Medical
  • Includes Notes Visible only to Medical or
  • Separate Medical Commercial Person for each
  • Coordinates KOL Interactions for Functions that
    dont have Regular KOL Contact
  • Oversees and Guides Use of System/Platform

Coordinator/ Primary Contact Point
About Best Practices, LLC
Best Practices, LLC is a research and consulting
firm that conducts work based on the simple yet
profound principle that organizations can chart a
course to superior economic performance by
studying the best business practices, operating
tactics, and winning strategies of world-class
Best Practices, LLC 6350 Quadrangle Drive, Suite
200 Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Download Full Report
Also read Optimizing Key Opinion Leader
Relationships - Best Practices in KOL Management