The primary purpose of Medical Science Liaison is to establish and maintain peer-peer relationships with leading physicians, referred to as Key Opinion Leaders KOL's, at major academic institutions and clinics.
We have highlighted 5 quick tips for MSL's to aid them through the process when engaging with KOL's.
Define the engagement role
When engaging with KOLs, make sure that the objectives of the meetings are clearly defined whether they are field visits or medical education programs. A strategic engagement approach is vital through-out the product life cycle as the drug can be adapted to the needs of the KOLs if changes are needed. The KOLs involved can be engaged differently in order to meet their demands. KOL profiling is a useful method in building the KOL engagement strategy. Prioritizing KOLs will clarify which of them can have a significant impact on the success of the change that MSLs are driving on the market.
Have an individual KOL engagement plan
A KOL engagement plan is vital in the success of a product in a pharma/ bio-tech company as it describes how the company should deal with KOLs and provides a clear plan that both KOLs and employees can count on. When drawing up an engagement plan, pharma and bio-tech companies need to consider the needs and goals of the KOLs involved and how the MSLs maintain that relationship with them. By researching your competitors on how they handle engaging with KOLs and the number of interactions they have, you can produce the ideal engagement plan.
Come to ask for consultation, not for engagement
MSLs shouldn’t be scared to ask for advice when engaging with KOLs. This gives the MSLs a deeper understanding of the KOL's goals. Key opinion leaders will then be more likely to open up about what they need. Clear and deep discussions between company and non-company experts can significantly advance the development of product strategy and medical content - and earn the trust of your advisors. Asking strategic questions leads to a better understanding of medical practices and habits. Questions will eventually improve patient access to new therapies. Asking questions bridges the industry with the medical community and helps to gain mutually valuable insights.
Gain Trust from the KOL
As MSLs are educated in the medicine, KOLs are willing to give more of their time to talk to the MSL as they find them more knowledgeable in specific diseases and more resourceful compared the traditional sales rep. This advantage gives MSLs the insights into the customer’s needs as the KOLs are willing to reveal more information. By demonstrating a customer-oriented approach MSLs will gain more trust. MSLs have to strive for a deep understanding of their customer and their needs. Once this trust is gained from the KOL regular contact is a must throughout the product life cycle as market access will be easier to achieve. Staying in contact with KOLs, MSLs can gain the insight of future problems or upcoming expectations.
Ask for Feedback:
By welcoming any suggestions the KOL might have, it can potentially improve your organisation’s services and improve engagement with the KOL. Negative feedback can bring more insight as to why KOLS won’t collaborate with your organization on your product. Gathering information on the customer’s opinions will increase the value and relevancy of recommendation that can reshape concepts, services and messages. When receiving negative feedback, ask leading statement to solve the problem.