In a recent Pharmagin blog post, we talked about the technical challenges that agencies will face if they chose to build or maintain their own in-house technology to manage client speaker programs, rather than letting tech experts handle it. But it’s important to also ask – is your speaker management compliant? Beyond the potential technical hurdles, you should also consider the business risks associated with that technology. If it’s not fully comprehensive and capable, a program management platform could negatively impact the agency’s client relationships and revenues. Here are a few of the key speaker-related questions you should be asking yourself about your technology:
How do you know if a speaker is trained for the topic that he is to speak on?
When an initial program request comes in from a sales rep in the field, one of the first things you’ll need to do is identify an appropriate speaker. But does your system allow the rep to directly filter speakers according to the relevant specialty or qualification? Or do you have to check this as a separate task, then go back to the rep if their suggested speaker is not eligible? Having this capability up front avoids unnecessary back and forth, and makes the rep’s life easier.
Do you know if a speaker’s contract is still active for the program date that was requested?
Does your system offer a comprehensive and transparent view of each speaker’s contract status, so that speakers will only be offered who are still actually ‘in contract’ for the relevant product at the proposed program date? Do you know this as sales is requesting the program, or do you have to go back and check afterwards? What happens if you subsequently discover that a speaker is not eligible? Again, a system that doesn’t automatically address this issue up front is just generating unnecessary rework for your team.
How do you confirm the selected speaker has not exceeded his honoraria cap?
Honaria tracking is a critical issue for modern speaker program campaigns, central to compliance with The Sunshine Act and other legislation. So it’s crucial that your program management system tracks your direct program spending and all transfers of value. When a new program is requested, does your system automatically indicate whether the proposed speaker has available honoraria cap for the relevant time period? Does it allow you to filter speakers so that only those with available cap can be selected in the first place? Or do you have to go and check this against a separate honoraria sheet, after the program is requested? If you only discover that a requested speaker has exceeded their honoraria cap after the program is requested and scheduled, then multiple rounds of back and forth will likely be required to sort it out.
What happens if the above issues are discovered after the program is approved by management?
As a program request and setup goes through the steps described above, there will also most likely be several steps of internal approval before it is finalized. It’s bad enough if the Planner and Rep have to go back and forth sorting out challenges related to speaker availability, contracting, qualifications and honoraria. It’s even worse if a regional manager has approved the new program setup before the potential issues above are flagged. If your system isn’t set up to automatically identify all the possible issues and address them up front, it’s possible that your speaker will already have made travel arrangements and significant expenses have been incurred. So changes ‘after the fact’ can be costly and embarrassing.
In general, ask yourself how often do the above exceptions occur? And, if they do, how much effort on your part does it require to manage them? Each of these scenarios outlines functionality that is available in the latest program management systems. If your system doesn’t offer these capabilities, it is adding unnecessary time, cost and disruption into your processes. If you’d like to hear more about what the Pharmagin system can do, contact us for a no-obligation demo now.
And don’t forget to check out our recent article starting a new series on Pharmagin Data Insights – Meeting Attendance.