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Industry Adopting KOL Feedback Surveys as a Primary Means of Measuring MSL Performance

Recent research reveals that thought leader feedback surveys have become a standard means of measuring Medical Affairs and measuring MSL performance, a trend that has experienced tremendous growth in just a few years. Research shows that overall, 58% of companies use KOL feedback surveys. Top 50 companies employ these surveys 78% of the time, according to survey data, and 56% of Top 20 companies now use them.

The reasons for implementing the surveys and their uses vary. For one company, the survey is primarily a tool to see how its MSLs stack up against other companies’ MSLs. All of the companies interviewed use some type of survey or are close to implementing one. Companies have realized KOL surveys’ potential for improving MSLs’ effectiveness. Distributing surveys with a range of set answers allows KOLs to assess MSLs accurately and provide individual feedback, in a way that easily translates into metrics, and most importantly, quantitative data. MSL directors can use the survey results to make an organized and easily understood presentation for upper management and include specific comments by KOLs that encapsulate an MSL team’s performance. Directors can also keep and use comments directed at individual MSLs as teaching and development tools, or to commend and explain bonuses or raises. In short, the survey is a great tool for proving value and highlighting the MSL team’s specific skills and accomplishments.

The KOL surveys are free from compliance issues because the company controls the questions asked and the data is for internal use only. Moreover, because of MSL teams’ concentration on the scientific side of the business and providing a resource to KOLs in this vein, the surveys can assess MSL performance, which indirectly affects the commercial side, but does not directly impact it. Finally, these surveys are beneficial beyond proving to be a very useful metric for MSLs, directors and upper management. KOL surveys also, in turn, further establish the relationship with the KOL who believes his or her concerns and needs are being heard by MSLs and internal stakeholders, alike.

Elio Evangelista
Senior Director, Commercialization
919-433-0214


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