Digital transformation is occurring at a rapid pace in life science companies, including in the sales and marketing space. Internal and external sources of data are being collected in the cloud, and this information is being leveraged by sales and marketing groups to improve speed, efficiency, and effectiveness in reaching customers, including both healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients. Life science companies are looking for expertise and advice on strategy for sales and marketing commercial organizations and processes to take full advantage of advanced technology and business practices. A number of consulting and service provider firms have developed expertise in optimizing life science commercial organizations, and several of these vendors also offer implementation, process development, and outsourcing services to ensure continuity of strategy and implementation. The desire to automate and optimize recurring commercial sales activities, consolidate disparate data sources, and optimize omni-channel sales and marketing operations is fueling continued and increasing investment in life science sales and marketing strategic consulting services.
Since 2020, the life science industry and the vendors that serve it have had to accelerate the pace of digital transformation to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated changes in work. Healthcare providers have moved even faster toward digital channels to receive critical information on diseases and therapies to address the need for physical distancing and limits on personal calls by field sales professionals. Patients have increasingly engaged in telehealth visits, and many life science company employees have had to adopt to a work-from-home scenario. The life science industry has responded quickly to these new modes of work while accelerating efforts to develop therapies and vaccines in record time.
The vendors selected to participate in this study have demonstrated successful consulting practices to assist with solutions, which can be implemented and maintained by skilled workers virtually anywhere in the world, augmented by technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and mobile devices.
To help life science companies evaluate the vendors in this space, in this IDC MarketScape, we evaluate the capabilities of several prominent providers of strategic consulting services in life science sales and marketing, including those that transform sales and marketing operating models through technology, workforce transformation, digital channels, and new operating models. When evaluating these vendors, the key criteria companies should consider (all of which are discussed in this study) include:
Strategic consulting in life science sales and marketing allows companies to leverage industry knowledge of best practices to apply to internal commercial operations. Vendors that can provide strategic counsel on the adoption of innovative business models, digital innovation, and resiliency while driving cost savings and increased agility are in demand. Reevaluation and redesign of management and IT processes, particularly repetitive processes that are not considered core to the mission of delivering value to patients and other stakeholders, makes sense for life science companies with limited IT and development capabilities. These limited internal resources can be deployed strategically to areas requiring scientific or commercial innovation, which may add more value. Vendors with combined IT and life science expertise have developed business models that can reduce costs for pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device manufacturers by optimizing these processes and infrastructure while delivering superior service compared with internal models.
Life science companies are increasingly looking for vendors that can combine deep industry expertise with global delivery capabilities. Successful vendors in this space must demonstrate:
This section briefly explains IDC’s key observations resulting in a vendor’s position in this IDC MarketScape. While every vendor is evaluated against each of the criteria outlined in the Appendix, the description here provides a summary of each vendor’s strengths and challenges.
ZS is positioned in the Leaders category in the 2023 IDC MarketScape for worldwide life science sales and marketing strategic consulting services after a careful evaluation of ZS’ offerings and capabilities in this important field.
ZS was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Evanston, Illinois. ZS has served the life science industry from its inception, and IDC estimates that approximately 95% of ZS’ revenue is derived from the life science industry, with over 90% coming from the commercial space. ZS has extensive experience in the life science industry, particularly in pharmaceutical and medical technology sales and marketing.
Within strategic consulting, ZS covers a wide range of technology processes within life science sales and marketing, including business development and licensing, data strategy and management, intelligent automation, architecture and IT strategy, innovation strategy, channel programs design and strategy mix, revenue management, risk and compliance, transformation project management, customer experience design and evaluation, market access, pricing and contracting, disease area strategy, medical affairs strategy, planning and analytics, sales force automation, CRM strategy, AI- and ML-driven analytics tools strategy, incentive and compensation management, elearning/training strategy, customer-centric marketing, key opinion leader management, physician targeting, and new product launch strategy.
ZS has integrated its strategic consulting services into ZAIDYN, which was launched in 2021. ZAIDYN by ZS empowers life science companies of all sizes to scale and transform customer engagement, field performance, analytics, and clinical capabilities. Its open architecture integrates with existing IT frameworks so companies can connect insights, workflows, and teams across the organization while delivering teams relevant, role-based insights and recommendations.
The platform includes ZAIDYN Field Performance (formerly JAVELIN), which houses products to build, deploy, and motivate field teams; ZAIDYNData & Analytics (formerly REVO) offering integrated analytics; and ZAIDYNCustomer Engagement (formerly VERSO), which uses AI and machine learning to bring to life personalized, omni-channel customer experiences, global insights, and intelligent workflows.
ZS offers end-to-end digital transformation consulting solutions by designing and implementing digital strategy, operations, and technology for commercial and R&D functions in the life science industry. The company brings together data, advanced analytics/AI, digital platforms, innovative digital solutions, technology road map design, and large-scale change management to deliver this experience. Further:
ZS has leveraged its capabilities in AI and advanced analytics to generate a strong track record in helping life science companies design and implement novel solutions and applications including field force planning and design, omni-channel optimization, marketing technology integration, content personalization, and generation of insights and recommendations for commercial teams. These capabilities have been leveraged into successful strategic consulting projects for life science companies.
ZS’ concentration in life sciences enables companies to develop high-impact digital innovations and drive internal change for business impact. ZS retains a large, experienced, and skilled workforce for all aspects of life science sales and marketing and has cultivated a strategic partnership ecosystem with key digital platform providers.
IDC frequently has unique visibility into vendor selection processes within life science companies through clients and contacts in the industry. For a vendor to be considered for inclusion in this study, the vendor’s strategic consulting services must have been significantly evaluated for purchase within recent contracts with which IDC is familiar. Further research and due diligence were then conducted to narrow the list of vendors to only those that fulfilled the following qualifying criteria:
Based on these criteria, the following 12 companies were selected for participation in this IDC MarketScape vendor assessment:
For the purposes of this analysis, IDC divided potential key measures for success into two primary categories: capabilities and strategies.
Positioning on the y-axis reflects the vendor’s current capabilities and menu of services and how well aligned the vendor is to customer needs. The capabilities category focuses on the capabilities of the company and product today, here and now. Under this category, IDC analysts will look at how well a vendor is building/delivering capabilities that enable it to execute its chosen strategy in the market.
Positioning on the x-axis, or strategies axis, indicates how well the vendor’s future strategy aligns with what customers will require in three to five years. The strategies category focuses on high-level decisions and underlying assumptions about offerings, customer segments, and business and go-to-market plans for the next three to five years.
The size of the individual vendor markers in the IDC MarketScape represents the market share of each individual vendor within the specific market segment being assessed.
IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants, and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys, and the input of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information, and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behavior, and capability.
For the purposes of this study, strategic consulting in life science sales and marketing includes, but is not limited to: