CDPs vs. CRMs: Understanding the Pharma Marketing Tech Stack
The Pharma industry is in a state of digital change and evolution. Companies that successfully gather, organize, and activate data are finding themselves at a major advantage compared to their less data-driven competitors. This should come as no surprise given the digital trends in the marketplace.
As pharma companies embrace digital transformation and set their sights on a single unified view of the healthcare provider (HCP), having the right business tools to support that journey is imperative. Two that deserve a closer look include the oft-confused customer relationship management platform (CRM) and the customer data platform (CDP). Both record provider profiles and both can be a source of data insight. So, what’s the difference?
CDP vs. CRM in Pharma Marketing: Understanding Functionality
Customer relationship management tools are designed for sales teams. These sales-focused systems manage account-based HCP profile data, like contact details, sampling, and orders. They also record provider-facing, one-on-one interactions, such as detailing notes and event attendance. CRMs are built to serve as record keepers of those touch points between sales and HCPs, aiding in territory management.
Customer data platforms are built for those functions requiring access to multiple sources of HCP or consumer data: from sales, to marketing, to call center support—and everything in between. These business systems can efficiently digest and stitch together data, analytics, and activation tools, while breaking down silos across departments and platforms. This ensures the organization has access to accurate, holistic data.
The CRM organizes and manages provider-based interactions with sales, while CDPs collect and aggregate data based on provider behaviors across all brand channels. The ability of the CDP to analyze data using artificial intelligence and machine learning models to determine the best way to engage with HCPs allows for a more complete view of those providers than a CRM can typically provide.
Understanding CDP vs. CRM Use Cases
CRMs, like VEEVA, allow Pharma reps to share relevant content about products and services. CRMs can support account analysis, territory management, detailing notes, sample management, and all of the particulars around direct rep-to-provider engagement.
However, a typical CRM isn’t well equipped to support the modern HCP experience, which criss-crosses channels like social media, webpages, apps and devices.
CDPs provide a more powerful solution, serving as the hub in the central nervous system of data collection and harmonization. CDPs can help sales, marketing, and customer service meet the provider where they are in their journey with highly relevant content served on channels they prefer, at times that are right for them.
CDPs access and organize all data across first-party, second-party, and-third-party systems, harmonize those insights, and then activate that data across channels in a coordinated, prescriptive way. Not only does this help create a 360-view of the HCP, but also allows for personalization in real time.
CDPs and CRMs Are Not Mutually Exclusive
In the case of these business tools, two is better than one! With a CDP serving as the hub, CDPs and CRMs systems work together to fulfill different business goals, with each enriching the other. The sales team gains a more robust and complete picture of a target provider, while the marketing team can easily use the data from the CRM to surface relevant insights and be more deliberate in how they plan and manage omni-channel customer interactions.
Better Together: CDPs & CRMs in the Pharma Marketing Tech Stack
As expectations around personalization, customer experience, and data privacy evolves, Pharma brands will be required to innovate their business models and their tech stacks to support omnichannel journeys. The CDP is the differentiator when effectively engaging, nurturing, and influencing desired prescribing behaviors.