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Siebel writes prescription for mobile sales

Its new pharmaceutical application gives companies an early look at some of the analytics features coming in Siebel 7.7.

The pharmaceutical industry will be among the first to get a look at some of the new analytics capabilities coming in Siebel 7.7, the next version of the CRM vendor's flagship software, due out this spring.

On Monday, the San Mateo, Calif., company made available Siebel Pharma Field Analytics. It is the first in what should be a series of mobile sales analytics applications for different verticals, said Jeff Wessinger, product director of Siebel Life Sciences.

The mobile analytics application gives salespeople the ability to analyze customer information -- such as physician prescription trends and information on call effectiveness -- to help improve call planning, reach and frequency. The analysis is done while the salesperson is offline.

"The business model for pharma is different than others," said Wessinger. "It's an indirect sale. Your job is to influence physicians to write a prescription. You don't get that real-time feedback. You rely on third parties to get that for you."

Before the new release, salespeople had access to more limited data in Siebel's sales force automation software, such as transactional information or the number of prescriptions an individual physician wrote in the last month. With Pharma Field Analytics, they are now able to access third-party information, Wessinger said. For example, they can now look at trends, including how many of their physicians switched from one medication to another in the past month.

The new release is a differentiator for Siebel because of its integration with other channels, particularly the Web, said Dale Hagemeyer, research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.

"There are a lot of sales force automation solutions out there," Hagemeyer said. "There aren't many true CRM solutions available to pharmaceutical companies."

An important feature, Hagemeyer said, is the intuitive drag-and-drop report building for mobile sales representatives, which helps to segment physicians and identify the ideal contact method.

The pharmaceutical software is just the first to roll out mobile sales analytics in a vertical-specific offering. The consumer goods industry will get these capabilities later this year, Wessinger said.

The application also provides personalized performance management scorecards and supports business processes for field force management, sales management and sales representative coaching, according to Siebel. Agents in the field can track call activity, samples provided to physicians and promotional effectiveness.

German-based Schwarz Pharma Inc. currently sends analytics reports out to its agents through regional offices and is considering skipping the second phase in its report distribution plan, distributing reports to sales management, in favor of going straight to reps on the road, said CIO Joe Otto. Right now, field reps get their information when they bring their laptops into the office. About a week later, the customer information is loaded into the analytics server, Otto said. Siebel Pharma Field Analytics would allow the company to load the information once onto the server.

"It has to be a good bang for our buck, but [Siebel Pharma] would save us about a week," Otto said. "We buy an ungodly amount of data on doctors and pharmacies. If we were to send that on a 56 KB line, it would take forever. From a sheer effectiveness standpoint it would be a wonderful tool."

Siebel Pharma Field Analytics is being offered as an add-on to the existing pharma application, but it will be bundled with the suite going forward, Wessinger said.


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