Medical Affairs managers need to assess each medical science liaison to gauge performance. Most pharmaceutical organizations are already doing this, but these internal assessments have potential pitfalls. Although each MA team has its own standards for measuring perceived successful of their MSLs, most MA managers are still using the same objective measures they used under the old pharmaceutical sales paradigm. Today, it’s not enough just to count the number of visits like they used to count detail calls. The quality of the visit matters more than the quantity. An MSL who makes four calls a year without providing any value to the KOL may be seen as an annoyance; an MSL who meets the KOLs needs becomes a partner of choice.
It’s important to get an understanding of how each MSL within an organization performs relative to others on the team. It’s also important to assess whether MSLs have the attributes necessary to carry the organization’s message and whether MA teams are reading the therapeutic landscape effectively and bringing back strategic insights to support strategic decision making. However, it is equally important to understand that all these internal assessments only provide a glimpse into the big picture of MA effectiveness.
Another consideration is length of visit. Imagine two MSLs from competing companies calling on a thought leader. One stays two minutes, and the thought leader says, “That’s about a minute too long.” The other stays 45 minutes, and the thought leader says it’s not enough time. The second interaction had great value. To develop valid objective metrics, it’s necessary to understand what KOLs want and need from your MSLs. That’s a topic for another post. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more, click here or call Gary Kaplan at 610-324-2798.