A key goal of every global pharmaceutical company is to improve healthcare provider (HCP) engagement. Better HCP engagement translates to better product delivery.

One of the keys to driving engagement of this kind is localization. Generalized messaging is weak. The more tailored and specific a message, the stronger it becomes. For pharma companies, this makes market localization critical. However, localization requires more than just translating content into the language of the international audience. It requires communicating via the channels where the end users actually are. If you’re in a country where WhatsApp is popular, it’s a mistake to focus your efforts on email. And of course, enterprises need to stay compliant while they expand across countries and communication channels.

This blog looks at how one of our Fortune 100 pharma customers increased HCP engagement with WhatsApp, all while maintaining the necessary governance.

The Challenge: Enabling WhatsApp

Pharmaceutical companies face significant regulatory requirements when it comes to HCP engagement. Regulations around pharmacovigilance are strict, and companies need to collect accurate records of HCP interactions.

This Fortune 100 pharma giant saw an opportunity for growth in a range of international markets. However, driving this growth required WhatsApp – the most popular communication channel in many of their high-growth markets. Previously, onboarding WhatsApp effectively had been a challenge. Staying compliant meant restricting usage in a way that saw the frequency and quality of sales interactions decline.

Consequently, the company needed a way to unlock WhatsApp for its field force – allowing the company to use the tool in HCP conversations, while maintaining peace of mind. They’d been hunting for a solution since 2019.

The Solution & Success

The first question the company faced was: have their field force use managed devices loaded with WhatsApp Business? Or allow implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and use their personal accounts?

The company chose the former option, as it was more secure and more centralized. The next step was to implement this framework in a way that was frictionless and didn’t detract from their field force’s ability to communicate quickly and easily.

The SafeGuard Cyber platform enabled the company to hit these goals and massively empower HCP engagement – driving market localization while staying secure and compliant. Our solution allowed the field force to send and receive messages, effortlessly share content, and schedule appointments without the risk of violating stringent compliance requirements.

The Results: Unprecedented HCP Engagement Across the Globe

The pharma giant experienced tremendous success with their WhatsApp enablement program. They saw high adoption and usage among both customers and their own sales team, achieving higher reach than traditional sales channels such as phone and email:

  • Customers engage with WhatsApp content at the highest rate compared to other sharing methods
  • Average time to view messages is 15 minutes
  • More than 30% viewed/opened in less than 5 minutes after it’s sent
  • More than 85% of content messages are viewed/opened in the first hour

WhatsApp’s messaging capabilities enabled the sales team to communicate efficiently with one another and with HCPs across the markets they were trying to reach. Achieving efficient customer communication through WhatsApp has become more far-reaching than traditional methods like phone and email, as field representatives can pass messages easily and simultaneously to many people.

Furthermore, the data they collected from WhatsApp is now being used by their threat intelligence team, which provides critical visibility not previously available.

How a Compliance Challenge Helped Security Teams

In what was something of a pleasant surprise, the implementation also added a layer of security to the company’s WhatsApp usage, mitigating the risks of cyberattacks and insider threats.

After enabling WhatsApp for customer engagement, the company’s insider threat team and global information security teams are now feeding communications into their SIEM workflows. By doing so, they have unlocked:

  • The ability to run conversations against insider threat policies for IP, data loss, URLs, etc.
  • Comprehensive coverage for over 50 languages; critical for visibility in overseas markets.
  • Frictionless user experience and integration, making onboarding and management easier.
  • Cross-channel event correlation, helping the team correlate risks in WhatsApp across the entire business communication environment, including Teams, email, etc.

The Impact of Unlocking WhatsApp

Additionally, creating customized chat groups in WhatsApp allowed the organization to facilitate personalized communication between its sales team and HCPs easily to spread relevant updates and regulatory changes quickly. This goes a long way in engendering loyalty among HCPs, leading to improved relationships and greater customer satisfaction.

Combining the security and compliance solution with the benefits of WhatsApp, pharmaceutical organizations can rest assured that their HCP engagement remains compliant with local regulations while also staying secure at all times. As the market localization trend continues to pressure organizations to seek out new channels to engage customers with, making use of the power of WhatsApp is key to achieving desired results.

This case study makes it clear: WhatsApp benefits HCP engagement across organizations. In a time when market localization is pressuring the need for new communication channels, it's refreshing to see enterprises utilize innovations such as WhatsApp safely, with the right security and compliance solutions.

Securing WhatsApp for businesses provides a much-needed outlet for employees to communicate with one another. It demonstrates the need for cross-team collaboration between sales, marketing, compliance, and security – to drive growth while managing new business communications risks.



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