Your sales team works hard to identify your ideal pharma prospects, but even the best trained and well-connected reps are going to miss a lot. That means missed opportunities and revenue. Pharma companies are not particularly transparent regarding who is leading and participating in drug programs, so matching your technology to emerging programs often requires manual, lengthy research. 

While your team is probably acting on inbound leads, prospecting research and networking are critical ways your sales team finds potential customers. Arming your inside and/or field sales reps with the right tech stack can make them more productive and successful. And successful reps are happy reps. And happy reps are…well, you get the idea. 

Here we’ll review the pros and cons of standard available search tools and explore newer technologies that can help your sales team pinpoint your ideal customers with improved speed and accuracy. 

Standard Prospecting Search Tools

1. Everyone’s using LinkedIn.

And because its users update it, it’s often the best way to find prospects based on basic search parameters, like company and job function. Unfortunately, some people seem to have abandoned their profiles or include just their first or last initials to maintain anonymity. Still, it’s a great start if you know your ideal customer profile. And since the launch of LinkedIn Sales Navigator in 2014, it has gone from a nice-to-have to “table stakes at most B2B organizations,” according to Forrester. Still, we see organizations where team members are missing this from their tech stack or, worse yet, paying for it out of their own pocket. That bursts our bubble (and probably your reps’ as well).

2. Ya gotta Google it.

Do you want your sales teams relying on Google for leads? Well, do you? Let’s assume no because that’s just a haystack looking for a needle. But it sure can help sometimes. Ineffective as a tool to track user/company activity, it can still help us find small details that are sometimes missing in our tech, like the last name you couldn’t find on LinkedIn or a critical article. Using it to fill in the blanks on these rare occasions can make you feel like a stealth ninja.

3. Cross the road to get to a cross-industry contact database.

These have the people with their companies and job titles, like LinkedIn, and supply email addresses and phone numbers. Just search the web for “B2B database”, and you’ll find a myriad to choose from. Most of these databases offer verified emails or predictive emails when confirmation isn’t possible. It’s no wonder these are super popular. But you do need to know exactly who you’re looking for, or you’ll still be missing your critical prospects.

4. Check out ClinicalTrials.gov.

Trying to match your technology or scientific offering to existing drug trials is tricky. CT.gov is one of the most commonly used tools to find relevant drug programs and associated contacts. But if your team isn’t using it for this purpose, they may actually be ahead of the game. While it is the source of truth for most clinical trials, it’s clunky if you want to use it to find prospects since you have to research each trial independently, copy everything into a spreadsheet, and then maintain and refresh that on your own. As a prospecting tool, it’s time-consuming, and you’ll never get the contact details. It’s a source with important information, but easy? Yeah, not so much.

5. The almighty press release.

Whenever pharma companies have something significant and material to say, they say it with a press release. Press releases can provide some terrific timing signals for pharma accounts—new hires, new programs or partnerships, funding, and other news can be excellent indicators of when to reach out. So, how does your team stay on top of press releases? Google alerts by keyword? Websites like FiercePharma or PharmaTimes, or individual company websites are a great source of information. But not great for prospecting and finding emerging programs because they require constant vigilance. If you think your team has FOMO now, just have them try to grow their lead gen by reading all the press releases in all of the places. Oof.

6. Go to the conference without going to the conference.

Conferences are the most accessible they’ve been since the pandemic began, but most reps still don’t have access to conferences to source prospects. But, they can get a glimpse of hot industry news and the people associated with it through conference abstracts. These can be an excellent source of late-breaking information since companies often wait for specific conferences to share recent findings. Unfortunately, only a small subset of these abstracts are freely available, and there’s no way to search them for relevant terms effectively. Going to the conference, reading all the abstracts, and attending all the talks can take less time than your sales team would spend researching all of it. And that’s saying something!


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Industry-specific Prospecting Tech Solutions

Here’s where things start to get easier for your team. In recent years, purpose-built, industry-specific solutions have come along that enable sales teams to find pharma prospects matched with insights. These solutions help make scattered, disorganized information more ordered and available. 

1. Get out of press release hell with life science news aggregators.

These SaaS products are just what they sound like. They consolidate life science and pharma-specific press releases while offering various keyword search and filtering options to help you reduce your effort. Not only can you track relevant press releases all in one place, but you can also usually save and organize them. This helps you keep on top of many of the critical moves pharma is making and find some of the key people involved with those moves. More often than not, though, people identified in press releases are spokespersons and not necessarily the program leaders or buyers for your products. So these aggregators are best used to uncover timing signals, but not usually the people associated with them.

2. Gain visibility into drug pipelines and clinical trials with curated databases.

Built primarily for scientists and R&D leaders, drug program/clinical databases can provide a great deal of information about clinical trials and drug programs. These databases surface similar info to CT.gov, but with enhanced search and a more usable structure. Most are curated, therefore suffer from lag in the data, so the timeliness and range of information are usually limited. Contact information is incomplete, so you’ll need several other tech solutions to fill in the gaps about the sponsors and drug program contacts.

3. The pièce de résistance: fully-integrated industry-specific lead generation.

The newest on the scene is AI, like Amplion, which brings the best of these databases and solutions (plus a lot more) together for companies seeking pharma prospects. This solution creates a fully-integrated set of company insights and surfaces the leads associated with the programs you care about. And it’s not just the breadth of data that makes the difference, but the precise filtering criteria available. You can choose company details, timing signals like financing, partnerships and funding details, any scientific or technical aspects. You can also select drug program parameters, including stage, disease state, sample type, test methods, biomarker, and drug type. Because all of these factors lead to real, relevant people and their contact information, it creates a consolidated source of truth that enables your sales team to amplify their effort.

We said it before, and it bears repeating: pharma prospecting is not easy and your sales team has a crazy amount of work to do to find the right leads. But by equipping them with the best tech, you empower them to streamline and improve the way they identify new prospects while eliminating some of their most profound pain points and supporting their success. It requires effort to vet the right solutions, but the payoff we see with teams that have gone through the exercise is exponential growth. A sales team empowered with the right solutions for success is a happy team, and a happy team is…well, you get the idea. 


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