Boehringer Ingelheim Reorganizes Marketing Processes with SAP

Feature Article | December 9, 2008 by Anke Lenz, director of consulting, Processed and Consumer Goods Industries, maihiro GmbH

Boehringer Ingelheim: Headquater in Ingelheim, Germany (Photo: Boehringer Ingelheim)

A Boehringer Ingelheim sales representative wants to inform the team at a train station pharmacy about a sales promotion for Antistax®, a food supplement produced by the company to help maintain healthy leg vein circulation. The pharmaceutical company’s consumer healthcare products division intends to launch a marketing campaign for the pharmacy-only medicine in the next quarter that will continue for several months.

It does not take long for the sales representative to reach a deal with the pharmacists: The pharmacy will place the medicine in a prominent position behind the cash register over the coming summer months, while a product stand and additional display materials in the shop’s window will help draw attention to the sales promotion. In return, the pharmacists will receive extended payment terms and the loan of a measuring device to test the condition and health of customers’ legs. Since the pharmacy was already planning to offer free vein screening for its customers at the end of the month, the strategy is set to significantly benefit both parties.

A year earlier, the sales representative would have organized his marketing activities and visits to pharmacies almost entirely at his discretion. He would have worked alone to classify customers and assess their potential. Previously, he and his approximately 60 colleagues were only informed about upcoming marketing activities during sales conferences.

Today, however, the sales representative plans his activities together with the company’s marketing department, supported by an industry-specific solution with special campaign and event management functions. All the customer data is prepared in the centralized solution for the SAP CRM application and the SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (SAP NetWeaver BI) component to give the sales team timely information about campaigns and a structured analysis of their success.

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s top 20 largest pharmaceutical companies. It employs 39,800 people in 135 associated companies worldwide. The family-owned company, which was founded in 1885, focuses on researching, developing, producing and selling new compounds for both human and veterinary medicine. In 2007, it generated total revenues of €10.95 billion. The firm invests almost one-fifth of its revenues in the research and development of new medicines.

Pressure in consumer healthcare sales

Healthcare reforms and a downward pressure on prices as a result of generic drug manufacturers leave companies like Boehringer Ingelheim under enormous pressure to reduce costs.

“We wanted to give everyone in consumer healthcare marketing and sales an end-to-end software solution to make it very simple for them to process orders, plan and implement campaigns, and get results quickly, so that these results could then be integrated in new activities,” explains Frank Geßner, director of Customer Value Management (CVM) and CRM project manager at Boehringer Ingelheim.

In 2004, Boehringer Ingelheim consequently implemented SAP CRM version 4.0. The new CRM solution connected the external sales force, areas of the internal sales organization, and the customer service center to the existing SAP ERP solution. The goal was to standardize all customer data in one system to eliminate inconsistencies and duplications.

Plan thoroughly, use results

After the first stage of the CRM implementation had been successfully completed with support from SAP Consulting, Boehringer Ingelheim wanted to use a standardized campaign and event management system to improve communication between the marketing department, office-based personnel, and external sales representatives.

The new solution provides decision-making support to sales management, marketing, and sales representatives to increase sales. One of the objectives of the system was to use standardized data and comprehensive analysis to determine which wholesalers or pharmacies were targeted by campaigns currently underway. For the first time, sales representatives could get detailed information about which pharmacies in their territories were suitable targets for the Antistax® promotion.

Preconfigured processes

Over-the-counter (OTC)
In the pharmaceuticals industry, this term refers to products that can be sold directly to consumers without a prescription.

Boehringer Ingelheim chose to work with consulting firm and SAP partner maihiro. The consultancy offers industry-specific best practices for CRM implementations in the pharmaceuticals sector. Its preconfigured consulting package “CRM-to-Go for the Pharmaceutical Industry” contains templates with industry-specific processes and default settings that guarantee a quick project completion time.

In the blueprint phase, maihiro’s preconfigured marketing and campaign management processes – based on SAP CRM and SAP NetWeaver BI – were adapted to meet the requirements of the over-the-counter (OTC) business for pharmacy-only products. These processes were then implemented in the software and just six months later, the solutions enhanced by maihro’s CRM-to-Go package went live.

Boehringer Ingelheim groups pharmacies together according to sales, potential, and segments. To classify the pharmacies in this way, the company uses both its own sales data from SAP CRM and market data from external service providers, such as information about a pharmacy’s location and its sales figures. “With about 21,500 pharmacies and wholesalers in Germany, we have to segment them according to sales, revenue, and potential to manage our campaigns effectively,” says Geßner.

All activities at a glance

To measure a campaign’s success, all internal and external customer data is consolidated and compared in the central SAP NetWeaver BI business intelligence solution. The 150 members of the sales team now have access to a graphical and easy to use SAP CRM user interface that offers a standardized view of all the campaigns and events. The days of sending Microsoft Excel and Word documents back and forth to prepare for a marketing campaign are definitively over.

Employees enter campaigns, activities, promotions, events, information about where they will be held, and additional data about trade shows or flight departure times, for example, in the marketing and event calendar. Furthermore, an entry can be linked to a campaign as soon as it is made in the system. Analysis and reporting functions enable Boehringer Ingelheim to track the success of the go-to-market of a new drug, for example. “The quality of our customer overview has improved significantly,” says Geßner.

The new marketing, event, and campaign management system has fulfilled project managers’ and users’ expectations, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Three months after the go-live, 90 percent of Boehringer Ingelheim employees are very satisfied with the integrated system enhanced by means of the CRM-To-Go package for the pharmaceuticals industry.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn Boehringer Ingelheim is planning additional projects. “We are in a process of continuous improvement,” says Geßner. “We are currently analyzing and assessing the potential of additional customer-specific cockpit functions.”

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