How One Leading Pharmaceutical Company Optimized its Speakers’ Bureau Presentations

Speaker giving a talk on corporate Business Conference. Audience at the conference hall. Business and Entrepreneurship event.

Biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers face an uphill battle when it comes to getting doctors and healthcare professionals to prescribe their new drugs and devices. Many of them use speakers’ bureaus—which can be notoriously difficult to manage effectively—to increase the chances they get desirable results.

Main Points:

  • Managing a Pharma Speakers Bureau is hard work—but it’s even harder when you’re operating in an extremely regulated environment
  • Ensuring consistent and compliant messaging in each presentation requires a modern presentation management solution
  • One leading pharmaceutical company recently partnered with a content agency that was using a new presentation management solution to optimize their speakers’ bureau—and they haven’t looked back since

Pharmaceutical companies operate in an incredibly competitive and regulated environment. Not only is it difficult to get new drugs and medical devices approved in the first place, it can be tricky to convince doctors and physicians to choose to prescribe the new products they develop.

To this end, leading pharmaceutical companies regularly make use of speakers’ bureaus, hiring and training physicians and other healthcare professionals to deliver academic presentations to decision-makers in the medical industry. The hope, here, is that a successful presentation—using slides put together by marketers—will persuade the audience of physicians and doctors to prescribe the associated firm’s products to their patients.

Managing a diverse set of speakers, across multiple brands of drugs, while ensuring regulatory compliance is no easy feat—particularly when regulations can seem ever-changing. There are three competing interests, here, to keep in mind: regulatory, brand and the speakers themselves. It’s difficult to balance them all successfully, even in the most ideal circumstances.

Making matters worse, to increase the effectiveness of their presentations and engage the audience, speakers should have flexibility in choosing their content. That way, they can adjust their presentations to each specific audience—responding to their questions and concerns, thereby increasing the chances their efforts are successful.

Choosing a Presentation Management Solution

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A leading pharmaceutical company needed a strong presentation management solution to optimize its speakers’ bureau presentations.

Like most organizations, the company had been managing multiple PowerPoint presentations for over a hundred users and it was becoming unwieldy.  It was hard, for example, to keep track of which version each speaker was using—something that is absolutely critical in an industry as heavily regulated as the pharmaceutical industry.  And it allowed for zero flexibility on the part of the speaker.  Ensuring regulatory compliance in presentations was as important here as any other point in the company’s workflows.

The company knew that it needed a new approach to presentation management to achieve the results they were hoping for.

As it began its search for a new presentation management solution, the company developed a list of assumptions to consider before making a final decision. They needed a presentation management solution that made it easy to manage several different speakers and several different presentations. Since the bulk of their speakers were medical professionals focused on improving patients’ lives, they weren’t necessarily tech-savvy. The company needed a solution that was easy to use—even for those without the sharpest tech skills.

Next, the company developed a series of objectives they hoped to accomplish by deploying a new presentation management solution. The right platform would:

  • Make it easy for content managers to ensure all speaker presentations were compliant with internal policies and external regulations
  • Provide an easily searchable list of presentations that speakers could choose from depending on their assignment
  • Enable non-tech-savvy presenters to create and customize their presentations without any hassle
  • Allow admins to manage multiple speaker groups while ensuring only authorized speakers could access specific presentations
  • Let the content team push out updates to presentations that would proliferate across the system, ensuring all slides and assets remained up-to-date
  • Produce data and analytics that helped content managers see which presentations were the most popular and effective—and which were barely, if ever, used

After surveying several options, the company hired Symbiotix, a content agency that helps pharmaceutical companies with speakers’ bureau presentations. The agency was using a presentation management solution which met all of the pharmaceutical company’s criteria.

The firm partnered with Symbiotix and hasn’t looked back since.

A Revitalized Speakers’ Bureau

Working with a purpose-built Presentation Management platform, the pharmaceutical company and Symbiotix created and organized a library of presentations for multiple brands across different speaker groups. As a result, the firm could rest comfortably knowing that speakers would be pitching from approved decks—no matter where they happened to be presenting.

The company enjoyed a number of benefits by partnering with Symbiotix for better presentation management:

  • Access management. Content managers were able to organize speakers into distinct groups according to their credentials. For example, doctors who were experts in Brand A would be in one group while doctors who were experts in Brand B would be in another. Other groups included clinical coordinators who were experts in each brand, too. This enabled the company to ensure that only authorized speakers were able to access the content that was relevant to their training.management
  • Consistent messaging. The company’s content team was able to break down each topic into core, module and supplemental slides—all of which had been approved by legal. Depending on where the conversation went, speakers could customize their presentations to reflect the audience’s preferences and interests without having to worry about going off-message. The biopharmaceutical company restricted download permissions to PPSX and PDF formats to ensure compliance and prevent editing.consistent
  • Intuitive presentation creation. Speakers, who might not be the most tech-savvy folks on the planet, can use the Presentation Builder to easily create customized presentations. To do this, they would first choose a core deck and then select specific modules they wanted to add to the presentation. To make their presentations more robust, they could also tack on supplemental slides with another click.

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  • Analytics. Thanks to powerful reporting metrics, admins could easily see all activity across the entire platform. They could tell who used the platform the most, which presentations were downloaded most often, which slides and files were most popular and much more. Armed with this information, the biopharmaceutical company could organize its content repository fully—deleting presentations that were no longer used and ensuring that the most up-to-date and successful presentations were readily available.

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The decision to implement a presentation management platform has proven to be a wise one for the biopharmaceutical firm.

Speakers are thrilled that they’re able to find the presentations they need in one location. The company’s legal team can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that all presentations will be pitched from decks that contained up-to-date, compliant messaging. The content team enjoys how easy it is to push out updated slides and other digital assets across the network.

Thanks to an optimized speakers’ bureau, the pharmaceutical company’s shareholders are happier, too. A more efficient and effective approach to presentations should translate into wider adoption of the drugs and medical devices the firm manufactures—leading to an increased stock price and a healthier bottom line.

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