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  • Writer's pictureKarsten Schmidt

How to increase adoption of Closed Loop Marketing materials particularly when face-to-face contacts

Usage of digital materials in the interaction with healthcare professionals (HCPs) is becoming increasingly important. This is the case for face-to-face customer engagements and even more so nowadays in remote interactions as personal meetings with HCPs have come to a grinding stop due to COVID-19. Yet Life Sciences companies struggle with the adoption of digital materials amongst their field forces. Therefore, I have asked Maurice van Leeuwen, as an expert in this field for an interview. Maurice is CEO of Shaman BV and has been focusing during the last six years on developing digital content for Life Sciences and other industries.

Karsten: Digital materials for customer engagements become increasingly important. Why are Life Sciences companies struggling with driving the adoption for the use of digital content?

Maurice: Detail Aids are created by marketing but used by sales. Low adoption is mainly caused by a misalignment between these two functions. Let me explain what I mean by that: marketers often have a strategic, analytical view and are driven by their brand messages. Salespeople in contrast, are usually more pragmatic and relation-based; they start with the customer in mind. I see many marketers creating a brand oriented, one-size-fits-all Detail Aid, which is not very usable in real-life sales meetings. As a result, sales reps underutilize the Detail Aid, and in turn the marketers decide to spend less time and budget on future Detail Aids. It’s a downward spiral effect.

Karsten: So how can we then improve the alignment between marketing and sales to produce more meaningful digital assets for better customer engagements?

Maurice: By implementing a Closed Loop Marketing framework. Design a continuous process around the Detail Aid, an agile cycle of creation/approval, deployment, analytics/learning and improvement. That means you need to adopt a different mindset towards Detail Aid development; more agile, more frequent, and more data driven. This relies on cooperation between marketing and sales and involvement of all stakeholders throughout the cycle. It requires an open mind, accepting the fact that you are continuously generating and testing hypotheses. Adapting this approach opens a lot of new possibilities to search for those interventions that ultimately deliver the highest impact and return.

It’s a misconception to think that Closed Loop Marketing is about data alone. Yes, data is an important piece of the puzzle, as is the technology to collect and share detailed analytics to understand what is happening in the field. But it is much more. It is really a mindset, a development process that will guide your teams to optimizing your call results continuously.

Illustration of Closed Loop Marketing process

Karsten: This sounds great but often Life Sciences companies have very time-consuming approval processes which work against this idea of higher agility. How do you see this aspect? Maurice: That’s a fair point, Medical Legal and Regulatory (MLR) reviews can reduce the speed of the process. But it is absolutely no reason to not have an agile and learning process. MLR does not obstruct the general concept of creating, testing, learning and improving. MLR can also be involved to rethink their process to review and approve. Now I see new Detail Aids with a few small changes that need to be reviewed again completely. Is that necessary? Can claims that have been approved not be treated more modularly? Auto Links Claiming for example which is used by the CRM platform Veeva is a concept that works exactly like that. These processes can improve approval times significantly. Karsten: Why does it require a different type of mindset when companies really want to adapt Closed Loop Marketing? Maurice: I assume it is related to the notion that we all behave based on the roles and responsibilities we get. Marketing, medical and sales work together, but all from their own defined roles and domains. To make the Closed Loop Marketing process work, they should have a shared, clear goal, so they will work more closely together to achieve it. At the end, everyone is part of the same team. Karsten: What is the importance of technologies to accelerate digital content production? Maurice: If the minds in the organisation are ready for Closed Loop Marketing, you need the right technology to support this process. You need real-time statistics - easily shareable, you need qualitative data, you need faster training/education and you need to accelerate content production. Today, in most CLM/CRM platforms, creating html from approved content is a bottleneck as it takes weeks or even months. It’s one of the reasons why Detail Aids are not often updated or improved. We have developed technology at Shaman that simplifies the process of Closed Loop Marketing, for example to quickly produce CLMs, and enhance the abilities of data collection and sharing. Karsten: From your experiences what benefits can companies reap when they really close the loop between Marketing and Sales in their customer engagements? Maurice: Marketing performance is all about execution. If marketers can learn and adapt content more quickly, salespeople will have more positive experiences and that will drive adoption. Let me give you a specific example of learning and adjusting: When a client introduced a new brand the marketing team did extensive research and discovered that the high price point of the medicine was not an issue for prescribers. They decided to mention price information only at the end of the detail aid. Three weeks after introduction, our heatmap statistics showed however that most meetings got stuck on the pricing page. Strange right? After reaching out to the field team, the brand team learned that when pricing was not mentioned clearly and immediately, healthcare professionals felt uncomfortable. The marketing team immediately made some changes in content and its sequence and republished an updated version. Only a few weeks later, the heatmap showed that meetings didn’t get stuck on this issue anymore. Karsten: As mentioned earlier many Life Sciences companies are looking into remote engagements with healthcare professionals as a new channel especially in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us a bit more about the dynamics for remote versus face-to-face customer engagements? Maurice: Most people who have experienced online meetings will recognize that an online meeting has a different dynamic from a face-to-face meeting. It’s more formal and more to the point. From our analytics we also know that remote meetings usually have a duration 2-3x higher than face-to-face meetings, with a larger number of slides discussed. It means that sales representatives need to prepare in advance. They need to structure the topics they want to discuss, have a clear opening and closing. They need to summarize and increase their probing skills. Also, marketers should review if the sales team has enough content available. We developed a whitepaper with 26 tips for people that like to learn more which you can download here. Karsten: Thanks a lot, Maurice for sharing your perspective with us on this very interesting topic. In summary, we may say that faster, more meaningful digital content creation which closes the marketing loop between the company and the healthcare professionals can only happen if the marketing, sales and medical department work much closer together taking advantage of technology which can ease the collaboration. If you have further questions on this topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or


Xeleratio Consulting Ltd.

We help Life Sciences executives improve sales performance with innovative best-in-class Business Excellence tools and methodologies . Expertise in Business Excellence has been gained with over 12 years of working in different global and regional roles in the Life Sciences industry.


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