Building the Field Force of the Future

Author: By Dion Warren, Head, US Oncology Business Unit | Published: Nov 17 2021

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn on November 16, 2021

Today’s oncology field force in the pharmaceutical industry—the people  responsible for connecting patient care teams with therapeutic innovations—looks much different than it has in recent years. As our world has changed and technology advanced, the expectations of those they interact with, whether they are cancer specialists, hospitals or payers, have also evolved.

At Takeda Oncology, our field teams are working diligently to provide personalized experiences that bridge the digital and physical worlds. Success requires a considerate approach to enhancing our human touch with technology, with the aim of building a field force capable of delivering seamless experiences across both worlds. That really has been the key factor in our success to date: embracing the broad range of technologies now available to us to optimize our ability to bring transformative therapies to patients in need.

Below are some of the top considerations we have taken into account when building our field force of the future:

Unite behind one omnichannel strategy

The customers we serve are constantly consuming—or bombarded with—information across channels, devices and physical environments. We need to be thoughtful about where and when we engage, so that we’re adding value instead of noise. Taking an omnichannel approach allows us to build a clear understanding of key external relationships, patient needs, and how our solutions can improve their outcomes.

Enhance your ability to adapt to regional challenges and opportunities

One size does not fit all. While a national strategy is important, success is dependent upon a team’s ability to infuse local-level expertise into their approach and respond to local market challenges and opportunities in real-time. Field team members with local expertise are essential to integrate this level of information and address these broader key stakeholders and decision makers, to ensure that our medicines reach patients. 

Take advantage of data and technology without losing your human touch

Technology has always played a critical role at Takeda Oncology. However, it’s not about using technology for technology’s sake—it’s about leveraging its power to optimize our ability to innovate and better meet customer and patient needs. And, importantly, we are not replacing people with technology, but rather empowering our people to deliver novel treatments for patients in a more efficient and effective way. While data analytics plays a huge role in informing the decisions that our field representatives make, ultimately, we need to empower them to act as they see fit based on their local knowledge, therapeutic area expertise, relationships, and, of course, human instincts.

I am proud of how Takeda’s U.S. Oncology Business Unit is using technology to propel our field colleagues to success as part of our organization’s overall digital transformation strategy. We are creating smart digital experiences in which our stakeholders can easily “pull” the information they want and can use. And this all starts with leveraging data to ensure that we really know our customers—their likes, dislikes, preferences and needs—so that we can proverbially “add the right ingredients” at the right time to make our interactions as relevant and meaningful as possible.

This is paving the way for our organization to explore the full potential of artificial intelligence, tying functions and stakeholders together, and using real world data and insights to help guide the best course of action to pursue with health care professionals. I look forward to continuing to invest in and experiment with technologies that empower our oncology field teams and optimize our ability to deliver life-transforming treatments to patients.