Build Strong Registers of Pharmaceutical Key Opinion Leaders to Support Critical Activities Companywide
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) provide critical support to life science companies — but KOL relationships also face elevated scrutiny as regulations call for increased transparency around physician payments. This evolving landscape creates new approaches for thought leader management groups as they work to identify, develop and nurture connections with influential medical leaders.
This report examines thought leader management resources and KOL segmentation at the global, US and EU levels. Metrics showcase team structures and staffing, as well as thought leader management database use and expenses.
Benchmark extensive thought leader segmentation data
Compare Tier 1, 2 and 3 thought leader profiles across a wide range of data splits, including five company types and 26 individual therapeutic areas.
Identify and recruit global, national and regional thought leaders
Leverage internal and external expertise to pinpoint up-and-coming thought leaders at all levels of geographic influence. Prepare companywide KOL pools to thrive under the implementation of the Sunshine Act.
Create centralized KOL development teams
Explore other top-performing teams to structure and right-size your thought leader management groups. Empower teams to maintain thought leader relationships and companywide KOL databases.
The following excerpt is a key finding from the full report’s Executive Summary.
Create Effective Centralized KOL Development Teams to Identify, Recruit and Cultivate Relationships with Thought Leaders
Many surveyed companies report that centralized KOL development teams serve as a key part of their overall thought leader management strategies. For most organizations, these centralized KOL management teams do not play a large role in the activities being conducted by KOLs. Rather, they primarily facilitate communication between commercial and medical teams in terms of how KOLs should be and are utilized and what KOL activities are most beneficial to the company. These thought leader management teams also play a role in maintaining the spending caps on individual KOLs.
Alongside their facilitation role, centralized KOL teams generally maintain KOL databases — providing information on thought leaders’ abilities and willingness to work in certain spaces. Among the most effective teams, experience also allows them to provide insights on individual thought leaders — often the kinds of information not be stored within a CRM. For example, one interviewed centralized team VP recalls a time that one of her internal clients felt one particular KOL would be a fit for a potential speaker event. However, the centralized team warned against the choice, recalling that the thought leader had a negative experience with the event’s focal product. This kind of insight is difficult to produce without a centralized team taking full-time responsibility for thought leader management.
Centralized teams also effectively prioritize internal functions’ KOL requests, benefiting the company as a whole. Managing commercial and medical teams’ requests together at one table and determining which activities for individual KOLs provide the greatest companywide benefit by avoiding overusing specific thought leaders. Without this coordination, two sides of the company could be making requests of thought leaders simultaneously, leaving KOLs with a poor view of the overall organization.
Though centralized teams prove effective for many companies, this expansive centralized setup is not appropriate for all organizations. In smaller companies, a large centralized body risks losing the personal touch. In these companies, personal relationships between executives leading thought leader programs, MSLs, their managers and physicians can be leveraged much more effectively. Companies with limited resources — and that do not have thought leaders working for them in all corners of the world — can often manage their thought leader programs quite effectively without centralized management.