Mastering Biopharma CRM Selection: Your Essential Guide to Making Informed Choices

Mastering Biopharma CRM Selection: Your Essential Guide to Making Informed Choices

Unlock the full potential of your Biopharma CRM with this definitive guide, focusing on pivotal topics, essential questions for vendors, and the unique approaches implemented by Gridlex. Specifically crafted for Biopharma professionals, this guide delivers practical scenarios and insights, acting as a dependable resource as you navigate through CRM choices for your organization.

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Cover The Basics of a Core CRM First

At the heart of every successful business operation is a CRM system that captures, manages, and harnesses vital data, allowing organizations to understand and serve their customers better. While enhanced features and specialized modules make a CRM stand out, it's the core functionalities that form the backbone of any efficient CRM system. Before we go into the detailed criteria for choosing a CRM for Biopharma, let's make sure the basics of a core CRM are covered.


Importance of Core CRM Features


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?


Extensibility and Adaptability of the Underlying Data Model in CRM

Navigating the biopharma realm invariably involves tackling unique, company-specific requirements that are often not addressed by standard and industry-specific modules in CRM platforms. Here are some representative challenges:



After CRM deployment, a myriad of such requirements will surface across departments like marketing, sales, legal, and compliance, typically eliciting one of the few standard responses from vendors: a flat denial due to incapability or an affirmation accompanied by hefty customization and financial outlays.


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Gridlex has a concept of “Models” to adeptly navigate numerous use cases, establishing sophisticated relations and workflows to address niche requirements. Envision a data model as an advanced spreadsheet where if a Biopharma company wishes to track a marketing campaign, it might create a “Marketing Campaign” model. Columns denote aspects like campaign name, target audience, and budget, while rows house detailed information for each campaign. In Gridlex, these spreadsheets/database tables are referred to as Models, columns as fields, and rows as records.


Model 1: Marketing Campaign Model

Campaign ID  

Campaign Name   

Campaign Channel  



Drug A- Introduce




Drug B- Reinforce




Model 2: Contracts Model

Contract ID  

Contract Name

Contract End Date 


Contract Type


GPO- Volume Rebate

Oct 15 2026


Market Share


Cancer Group

Sep 1 2025




Model 3: Symposiums Model

Symposium ID

Symposium Name


Symposium Date  


Innovative Oncology Developments

New York

Oct 15 2023


Benefits for the Elderly


July  2022


Gridlex empowers the creation and tracking of unlimited models, managing underlying record data, and interlinking it with another Model (e.g., linking Contract 66 in the Contract Model to Smith Cardiology or linking Marketing Campaign 22 to the Symposium Model).


The prowess of extensible data modeling minimizes the need for custom code development, reduces bugs in deployment, and enhances the speed of execution via straightforward configuration adjustments. A majority of CRMs lack this potent data modeling capability. Even those that possess it often reserve it for their priciest editions (exceeding $300/User as of Oct 2023) and necessitate considerable consulting expenditures for implementation. This inflates costs, amplifies risk, and curtails velocity.


Easy & Fast User Experience With Lists, Views, Sorting, & Filtering

For sales reps, swift navigation through CRM data is paramount. Dealing with various entities like organizations, contacts, and opportunities requires a system that offers both simplicity and power. Unfortunately, many CRMs fail to match the intuitive ease of a spreadsheet, leading users to extract data, causing potential data integrity issues. 


Importance of Effective Data Management Capabilities


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?


Permissioning: The Heart of a Robust CRM System

Effective permissioning is vital to any stellar CRM system, ensuring that specific information is accessible only to authorized personnel. This is notably crucial for Biopharma organizations, which predominantly operate with two distinct teams: the Commercial sales teams and the Medical Sales Liaisons (MSL) teams. The common approach of deploying separate CRMs for each - known as Commercial CRM and MSL CRM - is a practice adopted by many platforms due to their lack of a robust permissioning system. However, this approach invites several drawbacks, including:



Utilizing a CRM system that encapsulates all organizational CRM activities within a single platform, supported by a solid permissioning system, proves superior in terms of cost, risk, and velocity.


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Gridlex champions an advanced permissioning system through the innovative concept of Units. A Unit is a configuration where permissions are linked to that specific unit. To illustrate, the "Texas Sales Region" could be one unit, while "National MSL" could be another, each boasting entirely different permissioning structures. Permissions within a unit in the Gridlex CRM can be defined at various levels on a CVED (Create, View, Edit, and Delete) basis:


Thanks to these detailed permissions and the capability to create unlimited Units, Gridlex can configure any permutation and combination of permissions, enabling users to harness the same underlying data architecture while securely segmenting teams from restricted zones.


Change with Confidence: The Undeniable Need for a Consistent CRM Deployment Model

CRM administrators often tread a cautious line, weighed down by a mix of trepidation and responsibility, especially when faced with the task of making changes. The absence of a robust change deployment model amplifies this anxiety. Without a systematic approach to implement and test modifications, there's always the looming risk of unintended consequences—data inconsistencies, user access issues, or workflow disruptions. It's akin to navigating a ship through stormy waters without a compass; one wrong turn and the entire system can go awry. Hence, for many administrators, the very act of updating the CRM becomes a nerve-wracking endeavor. 


Here are three typical examples of configuration changes and the risks from things going wrong:



Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Each Gridlex customer is associated with an Enterprise, and each enterprise can host any number of entities within it. For instance, Medico Global may encompass Medico US and Medico Europe. Furthermore, each entity can have a paired Entity wherein the Type is designated as Test. The test and live entity will share all organizations and contacts. However, when an organization is created in Test or an activity transpires in the Test Entity, it will be exclusively associated with the test entity.


This innovative change deployment model distinguishes Gridlex from other CRM vendors. A majority of CRM vendors lack a paired Test/Sandbox deployment model. Those few that do often possess a cumbersome process involving the creation of a Sandbox, accompanied by various versions of the Sandbox, each with different refresh rates and time lags. Moreover, these Sandbox versions are priced variably based on different software plans and editions. Gridlex has innovated around these limitations, offering a simple solution wherein the test entity utilizes the same data as the live entity, but any modifications are solely attributed to the test entity.


Mastering & Syncing CRM Data and the MDM

In Biopharma commercial operations, data never exists in isolation within its originating system; it perpetually flows, syncs, and integrates across a myriad of platforms. A seemingly minor misstep in one system can spiral into significant complications as data traverses from the CRM to Master Data Management (MDM) and, subsequently, to Reporting & Analytics. Let’s delve deeper into how these repercussions are interwoven:



Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Gridlex seamlessly integrates MDM into the CRM platform, where golden record creation, mastering, and soft merges are integral to the process. Moreover, Gridlex adopts a Wikipedia-esque versioning system where all modifications and edits throughout the system are subject to version control. This means that in instances where a record encounters data integrity issues, it can be effortlessly rolled back to a previous, accurate version.


Medical Information Request (MIRF) and Medical Science Liaison (MSL) Collaboration

The exchange of medical information between professionals is critical. Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) bridge this gap, ensuring healthcare professionals and organizations have the latest scientific knowledge. Key to this is the Medical Information Request (MIRF) process – a structured method for healthcare entities to request specific scientific information. A CRM tailored for Biopharma must facilitate and streamline this exchange, ensuring timely, accurate, and compliant communication.


Importance of MIRF and MSL Collaboration


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?


Mastering Integrated Communication: Shared Email Inbox, SMS, and Calling in CRM

With a myriad of tasks to juggle daily, sales reps require an efficient system to manage communications. By integrating channels like shared email inboxes, SMS, and calling directly into the CRM, Biopharma organizations can elevate their communication strategy, ensuring no touchpoint is missed.


Importance of Integrating Communication Channels


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does it?

Advanced Email Marketing Automation: Beyond Basic Approved Email Templates

Given the vast number of contacts and complex communication needs, relying solely on basic message templates is far from optimal. A sophisticated CRM should offer more than manual email sending; it should provide automation, customization, and ensure regulatory compliance in every interaction.


Importance of Approved Email Marketing Automation


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Interactive Visual Aids (IVAs): The Need for Flexibility and Scalability

Interactive Visual Aids (IVAs) have become an indispensable tool for Biopharma marketing and sales operations. Yet, not all IVAs are created equal. The key lies not just in the content but in the underlying technology that powers these tools.


Importance of Advanced Interactive Visual Aids


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does it?

Manage The Benefits of Sampling while Minimizing Risks

Effective sampling management in the Biopharma sector is more than just product distribution. With strict regulations like the PDMA to consider, the distribution of controlled substances to factor in, limitations on sampling to specific doctors within distinct time frames, and the need for licensing validation, the complexity can be overwhelming. The right CRM needs to accommodate all these aspects seamlessly while providing real-time status and workflows for efficient monitoring and management.


Importance of Sampling Management Capabilities


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does it?

Scale Your Speaker Program & “Lunch and Learn” Events with Confidence

Outreach activities such as Speaker Program Events and "Lunch and Learn" sessions at doctors' offices are critical for educating and updating medical professionals on the latest advancements. Ensuring the accuracy and efficiency of such events is paramount. Here are some important elements of these events:



Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Harnessing the Power of Integrated Reporting, Analytics, and AI in Your CRM

When CRMs intelligently channel vast amounts of data into actionable insights, they empower organizations to drive targeted, strategic actions and stay ahead in the market.


Importance of Integrating Reporting, Analytics, and AI


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Manage Sunshine Act Compliance Reporting In Your CRM

Compliance with the Sunshine Act is a fundamental requirement for Biopharma organizations. The act mandates transparency in documenting any transfer of value (TOV) from pharmaceutical entities to medical practitioners. An adept CRM system becomes the cornerstone in this context, capturing every transaction accurately and ensuring that companies remain on the right side of the legislation.


Importance of Sunshine Act Reporting and Compliance Features




Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does it?

Streamlining Biopharma Operations with Efficient Work Management, Service Operations, and Help Desk Ticketing

As Biopharma commercial operations delve deeper into intricate engagements with healthcare providers, wholesalers, and regulatory bodies, an effective work management and help desk ticketing system becomes indispensable. Here's why:


Importance of Work Management, Service Operations, and Help Desk Ticketing


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Coaching and Performance Reports: Empowering Teams for Optimal Performance

For Biopharma sales reps, real-time coaching from managers based on tangible performance metrics can be the catalyst for success. Integrating coaching within the CRM not only enhances the feedback loop but also solidifies the bond between managers and their teams.


Importance of Integrated Coaching and Performance Reports



Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does It?

Beyond Installation: Commitment to Continuous Support & Adaptability

The landscape of Biopharma is ever-evolving, driven by market demands, research breakthroughs, and emerging technologies. In such an environment, a static CRM system, once set up and left unchanged, fails to serve its purpose effectively. A CRM shouldn't just be a tool but an evolving partner, adapting and refining itself based on your unique, shifting needs.


Importance of Support, Integration, Changes, Configurations, and Improvements


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does it?

Navigating Through the Maze Of Cost Complexity of CRM Solutions

Costs can often be a maze that organizations navigate with caution and apprehension. The financial investment into a CRM platform is bifurcated into several elements, each contributing to the overall expense incurred by the adopting organization. Exploring a CRM that not only offers robust capabilities but does so with a cost structure that is transparent, value-driven, and devoid of hidden charges is paramount for Biopharma organizations who seek operational efficiency without the fiscal perplexity.


Importance of Understanding and Navigating CRM Costs

Scenario: Acme Biopharma Co. made an investment into a CRM platform, enticed by the seemingly low initial licensing fees. However, as they navigated through the implementation and utilization journey, hidden costs emerged. Additional charges for various modules, exorbitant implementation fees, and lofty charges for ongoing support burgeoned their overall expenses, shaking their budgetary foundations.


Key Questions to Ask Vendors


How Gridlex Does it?