Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons


The benchmarks in this report will not only enable medical science liaisons (MSLs) and their teams better prove value internally, but also to quickly and easily compare budgets, headcounts and salaries for MSL teams worldwide.

Report Details

Findings show how medical science liaisons establish prioritized activity lists, track key performance metrics and implement cross-team communication to support activities across functions. Input from medical executives outlines how organizations hire MSLs based on a mixture of experience, knowledge, passion and ambition — and how they compensate them based on a range of factors. All findings pivot around the key challenges inherent in building relationships with KOLs and other client stakeholders throughout the medical community.

  • 5 chapters + an Executive Summary
  • 247 pages
  • 500+ metrics
  • 200+ charts and graphics (PowerPoint slides also available)

Data have been split by geography:

  • US
  • European Union
  • Latin America
  • Asia-Pacific

The report also includes data from MSL teams in specific countries:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • China
  • Japan
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Mexico

Data have also been split by company size:

  • Top 10
  • Top 25
  • Top 50
  • Small
  • Device

Lastly, you can read through data organized by therapeutic area:

  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology/Diabetes
  • Hematology
  • Infectious Disease/Virology
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry/Mental Health
  • Respiratory/Pulmonary Diseases

Report highlights include:

  • Benchmarks showing the number of MSL key performance indicators (KPIs) tracked per month.
  • Data measuring the usefulness and prevalence of 11 important KPIs.
  • Metrics showing the number of KOL relationships per MSL — a critical KPI — for 15 therapeutic areas.
  • Benchmarks detailing the length of KOL-MSL interactions via common communication channels (face-to-face, telephone and video chat).
  • Benchmarks, diagrams and case studies examining MSL team structures and reporting relationships.
  • Charts showing prevalence of MSL teams across regions and rankings of factors influencing MSL staffing levels.
  • Metrics showing the number of MSL teams and headcounts for four key regions and six therapeutic areas.
  • Data showing MSL educational/professional qualifications and executives’ strategies for motivating and retaining MSLs.
  • Strategic recommendations on outsourcing MSLs — a growing trend — from pharmaceutical leaders and resourcing experts, including how to avoid common pitfalls.
  • Data showing salary ranges and averages for MSLs across regions and for different levels of experience.
  • Rankings of factors that influence MSL budget levels and pharma leaders’ insights on improving budget approval rates.
  • MSL activity breakdowns into four categories — core, secondary, occasional and rare — for 16 key responsibilities, enabling teams to prioritize workloads.

Top Reasons to Buy This Medical Science Liaisons Report

Learn how top pharma companies demonstrate medical science liaisons’ value: MSL teams still struggle to prove value to upper management. While team leaders may prefer qualitative descriptions of their MSLs’ activities, quantitative metrics are still the focus for many senior-level executives. This report provides key performance indicators that MSL managers use to communicate their teams’ impact.

Right-size your MSL teams and strengthen cross-team communication: Use the benchmarks in this study to improve your MSL team organization and territory sizing models. Our report includes detailed staffing breakdowns for therapeutic areas and countries. By improving structure, companies can also enhance scientific expertise and facilitate cross-team communication. Communication among different medical science liaisons is essential for MSLs to share best practices and overcome challenges.

Guide your MSL hiring and compensation policies to attract and keep the best talent: Companies typically hire medical science liaisons based on a mixture of experience, knowledge and ambition. For many surveyed teams, however, passion for the medical field is the differentiating factor between otherwise equally skilled candidates. To attract top talent, companies need to not only offer challenging positions aligned with MSL experience, but also compensate liaisons accordingly. This study includes best practices for hiring and compensating medical sciene liaisons, including salary benchmarks for liaisons with 0, 2 or 5+ years of industry experience.

You may also be interested in our medical affairs library as well as our individual medical affairs research reports.

Excerpt from Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons

The life of a medical science liaison (MSL) is a busy one filled with meetings,
presentations, congresses, training sessions, and of course, travel. Depending on the region and therapeutic area supported, an MSL must maintain anywhere from 20 up to 100 KOL relationships. They perform an average of 16 activities in support of investigational products and an additional 18 activities in support of marketed products.

Despite their heavy workloads, universally, MSL teams struggle to prove their value to executives outside the medical affairs function. Because many commercial executives think of value in black-and-white terms, the most popular approach is to submit a regular report of trackable metrics. It is not uncommon to see MSL managers tracking 10 or more key performance indicators (KPIs). Since 2012, when Cutting Edge Information last collected benchmarks on MSL management, MSL teams in the US are regularly tracking twice as many KPIs as they had and European teams are tracking 60% more metrics.

Examples of companies that have participated in this study:

Table of Contents

11           Executive Summary

13           MSL Management: Key Recommendations for Success

25           About This Report

28           Emphasize MSL Value with Key Performance Indicators

29           Embrace and Expand Existing MSL Responsibilities to Support Cross-Functional Objectives

31           Track MSL Activities to Enhance Teams’ Company-wide Visibility

67           Establishing Teams and Building Structures for Global MSLs

69           Structure MSL Teams to Enhance Scientific Expertise and Cross-Team Communication

88           Adjust MSL Staffing Levels to Reflect Market and Therapeutic Area Needs

110        Hire MSLs Strategically, Compensate Competitively and Budget Prudently

112        Establish Competitive Hiring Practices that Generate Robust MSL Teams

117        Outsourcing MSLs a Growing Proposition

128        Establish Diversified MSL Training Sessions that Disseminate Up-to-Date Industry Knowledge and Promote Enhanced KOL Interactions

133         Level of MSL Experience Positively Correlates with Salary Expectations

145        Prioritize Among Top MSL Activities to Improve Budget Approval Rates

167        Work Closely with Clinical Development to Expand MSLs’ Pre-Market Role

169        Set Clear Priorities for MSL Teams

174        Focus on Core MSL Activities

189        Take Pride in Secondary MSL Activities

197         Capitalize on Opportunity for Enhanced Visibility with Occasional MSL Activities

205        Deprioritize Rare Pre-Market MSL Activities

208        Support Marketed Products through Core KOL Engagement Activities

212        Navigating Industry Regulations Outlining MSL and Sales Interactions

216        Prioritize MSL Post-Launch Activities

Natalie DeMasi
Research Team Leader
Jason Bandy
Global Key Account Executive