Developing a Single Core Value Proposition (part 1): Efficient Collaboration to Achieve Optimal and Aligned Messaging
By Ebony Samuels, Michael Tang, Richard Macaulay, Krissia Manansala, PAREXEL Access Consulting
In our previous article, we discussed the importance of a single value proposition for a product that maps across all internal Pharma teams, all markets, and all stakeholders. This is critical for every product at launch to ensure strong, consistent value-based communications and therefore optimize market access.
Two key reasons for establishing a single core value proposition are:
To save time and budget by reducing redundancy and inefficiency caused by different product teams duplicating work (sometimes in parallel),
To strengthen communication of product value by working across all relevant teams to establish agreed product value communications, leading to stronger, aligned communication of value (and avoiding a weakened perception of product value when different teams say different or even contradictory statements)
The single core value proposition can be achieved through consideration of three important aspects:
We focus here on the need for efficient internal collaboration as a prerequisite for optimal value communication; the other two topics are covered in separate articles. It is well recognized that organizational excellence is critical to bridge the gap between strategy and results, and that optimal market access cannot be achieved solely by a market access team working alone (https://www.parexel.com/parexel-insights/why-strategy-not-enough-building-bridge-strategy-results-requires-organizational-excellence). Internal collaboration is critical to achieve planned market access strategy.
Step 1: early identification of all internal global stakeholders
It is important to identify all teams working on the product that generate core value story content – and it is best to start this early (during Phase 2). A key benefit of early collaboration derives from the different audiences that each team will be considering when framing the product’s core value proposition, ensuring all angles are considered, and the different skills and knowledge housed in each specialty. By developing an agreed set of key value drivers early (from both the clinical and payer perspectives), all viewpoints will be considered, any differences in requirements can be identified and planned for, and benefits can start to be gained in terms of budget, time, and consistency in messaging.
When preparing for product launch, there are a great deal of global and local teams/roles within the company that need to consider future product value communication – marketing, market access, clinical, medical, health economics and outcomes teams, medical affairs, commercial teams, and the list goes on. Many of these teams will be working on value communication of one form or another, often independently of each other and focusing on slightly different elements. This can lead to problems later down the line (see Case Study).
At a minimum, there needs to be co-accountability across all teams working on the product – to ensure that there is focus on jointly creating a clearly defined and compelling value proposition for the product that overrides any functional boundaries.
A global commercial team was finalizing the value proposition for their new product, and facing the challenge of different internal stakeholders driving towards different objectives: Regulatory wanted to focus on a broader indication in the messaging, Legal wanted to wait for additional evidence for specific messages, etc. The client came to PAREXEL, and we facilitated a two-day workshop to engage all internal stakeholders. The overall aim was to agree alignment on the messaging objectives, content, and future development goals. The outcome was a co-created value proposition and a cross-functional group of individuals resolved to continue the collaboration.
Step 2: design a feasible plan for collaboration
To achieve a single value proposition for the product across both clinical and payer communications, there needs to be consideration of the way in which these teams currently interact and a focus on optimizing collaboration to a level sufficient to achieve this goal. Without this collaboration, misalignment across the clinical and payer value stories can result (see Case Study).
One approach is to identify all relevant teams and nominate a representative from each to take responsibility for coordinating on value communications. This is not always feasible, and is dependent on the current structure of the teams.
An alternative option is to appoint an overall lead or Project Manager, who can ensure all teams are kept informed of ongoing work related to value communication, and ensure all relevant internal stakeholders are involved at appropriate times. PAREXEL have taken this role to support our clients, providing the link between teams to ensure efficient and effective collaboration occurs.
At a minimum, there needs to be commitment to keep all other teams informed of ongoing work relating to value proposition development (perhaps through a regular quarterly meeting) and a central place to share developed materials. This increases visibility of the content already available and allows identification of potentially conflicting approaches.
PAREXEL have worked with a number of clients who have devolved responsibility for development of the scientific platform and the payer value proposition for a product to separate teams/functions. In several situations, we have observed that the resulting value communications from both outputs are misaligned, and misaligned in significant ways – for example, in terms of the patient population described (“post-platinum therapy” vs. “2L metastatic disease”), the focus of the economic impact statements (“minimal budget impact and cost-saving” vs. “cost-effective”), or the comparative language used to describe the clinical data (“benefits over X” vs. “comparable to X”). The two outputs had also frequently used different data and data sources to support disease burden messaging resulting from duplication of effort and resulting in a lack of clarity. All of these misalignments negatively impact the perceived value of a product.
Step 3: plan for appropriate affiliate engagement
A common mistake is to develop a global value proposition and then provide this to local teams for use. While this can seem efficient, it risks (a) a lack of understanding at the local level as to the reasons behind specific data choices and messaging, (b) a lack of buy-in to the core value proposition and a feeling that it is “not relevant” to their specific market (potentially leading to significant modification in an unplanned direction), and (c) a local requirement that is not met through the global value proposition, which can feed into adaptation to the value proposition itself, or form the basis for initial objection handling.
To mitigate these risks, it is recommended to hold an affiliate workshop involving key market access and medical affairs team members prior to key clinical trial data read-out – to brainstorm potential value drivers in key markets, what data the product might need to meet these unmet needs, and local requirements/barriers that may need consideration. While all local needs cannot necessarily be accommodated in the global value proposition, it is important to have visibility of the barriers to access early and to start planning for specific local adaptation at the stakeholder tailoring stage. Equally, it may be necessary to restrict the input from affiliates to the critical markets only – and therefore inclusion of other markets with expected small sales may distract the global value proposition away from the key themes in these markets. The needs of these smaller markets can instead be addressed through guidance on tailoring the core value proposition.
The key aim here is to provide sufficient opportunity for local affiliates to understand the developments, what resources are available, and the thought process behind the planned value proposition. If it is not feasible to involve everyone in a single workshop, there are activities that can achieve the same goal – for example, one-to-one internal affiliate interviews for select key/early launch markets.
Step 4: share all available resources
It is ideal to ensure that all of the work performed to generate the messaging (e.g. stakeholder testing results) and all supporting data (e.g. economic models, clinical data) is housed in a central place that all teams can access.
Version control is essential with a value proposition that is constantly evolving, and a central knowledge sharing site can aid the teams in identifying the latest materials and messaging to use. Tools such as the Core Value Story Resource (see Figure) can optimize knowledge sharing quickly and easily; PAREXEL are experienced in supporting our clients through the development of these tools and other digital solutions for knowledge sharing.
How can all this be achieved given the competing time demands?
This mindset shift may take time to implement, and it may not be possible to achieve the ideal internal collaboration model instantly. Progress takes time and time is not always on our side when it comes to product launch planning. However, investment in change now will deliver long-term benefits for both internal and external stakeholders.
The key is to recognize the barriers to efficient internal collaboration – and the immediate steps that are feasible to take, for example focusing on specific alignment between the access messaging focused at payers and scientific platform communications aimed at physicians:
While this immediate improvement is achieved, longer-term changes can be actioned that require more significant time investment or organizational change.
To discuss how PAREXEL can help you achieve this increased internal collaboration and process optimization (or process generation), please contact Ebony Samuels at ebony.samuels@PAREXEL.com.