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Life Sciences CRM Landscape Overview for 2024 and Beyond

Pharmaceutical CRM – Current State

COVID-19 changed our lives in unimaginable ways. Pharmaceutical CRM practices and methods were no exception. For years leading up to 2020 there was already an evolving trend of declining in-person interactions primarily driven by a higher demand on the HCP’s time and reducing salesforce sizes/budgets as an increasing number of drugs started meeting their LOE (loss of exclusivity) datelines. This paved the way for a greater interest and investment in inside sales teams and virtual meeting solutions. COVID-19 accelerated that trend with more emphasis on digital/omnichannel engagement options and mobile field intelligence solutions. Furthermore, over the last year the release of Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT 4 and advancement in generative AI solutions has provided a renewed buzz in the industry to focus on sales enablement solutions that leverage the power of AI. All the major players in the Life Sciences CRM software space have AI infused features already available and/or featured in their product roadmaps. This could be alerts generated from diagnostic or Rx data, suggestions to improve reach, or next best actions – in real time delivered to their mobile devices. A good example of this shift is Aktana’s acquisition of in late 2023 to bolster their field intelligence solutions with’s conversational AI technology.

Vault CRM

The big news in recent times in the LS CRM platform space was obviously the announcement that market leader Veeva Systems was ending its long term platform partnership with – the platform its CRM suite was originally built on in the mid 2000s. Vault CRM is already familiar to many of their Commercial Cloud customers who use Vault for managing their promotional or Medical digital content. More on this later. Interestingly, Veeva has enabled Microsoft’s Outlook and Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office) to be seamlessly integrated with Veeva CRM. 

Veeva says the end users will experience minimum change from a front-end perspective and will continue to have all existing functionality in Vault CRM. They will be retaining the data model as well. For customers who are using Vault for content the big advantage will be the seamless migration of existing content to Vault CRM. Veeva is also emphasizing that the move to Vault CRM will open the door for more innovative solutions without current platform limitations.

Vault CRM comes with Service Center capabilities at no extra cost. This aligns with the industry shift towards hybrid and remote engagement models as opposed to in person interactions with HCPs. Another offering is Vault CRM Bot – a separately licensed product integrated with Vault CRM – expected to be launched in 2025 to help sales and medical teams be more productive. One use case is about combining customer centric CRM activity data with Veeva Link and Veeva Compass data to provide field users with deeper insights into their key customers. Like ChatGPT the CRM Bot is expected to have conversational and generative AI capabilities that would provide reps with answers to their questions to improve their effectiveness with day-to-day tasks.

Competitive landscape

While Veeva CRM is thought to have around 80% of the global market share, the rest of the market is quite fragmented currently. Some industry experts however think this might change over the next few years with the entry of Salesforce and their Life Sciences Cloud Customer Engagement Platform – expected to be generally available in 2025. In a major recent announcement that is likely to reshape the competitive landscape, IQVIA and Salesforce announced an expanded partnership that would accelerate the development of the SFDC LS Cloud product.

IQVIA has been a major player in the LS CRM landscape with their Orchestrated Customer Experience (OCE) product reportedly with around 400 customers in 130 countries. OCE+ released in 2018 integrated AI and ML capabilities to help field teams and marketers take the Next Best Action. IQVIA also ticks the box on Customer Engagement Solutions to cater to the needs of the hybrid and remote workforce. Traditionally IQVIA’s strength has been their presence in the syndicated pharma data space. This includes their OneKey customer (HCP, HCO), Specialty Pharmacy, Patient, Rx and Claims data. This as well as their previous mergers and acquisitions gives them a large customer base in Europe. An interesting recent development is that with the expansion of Veeva’s Compass data service (anonymized patient data, predictive prescriber and national-markets data) Veeva is looking to eliminate the need for third party agreements with IQVIA for these services.

The partnership with IQVIA will enable Salesforce to leverage existing OCE functionality to be incorporated into their LS Cloud platform under a licensing agreement. That OCE is built on the Salesforce platform will make this process relatively straight forward accelerating the time to market for the LS Cloud offering. IQVIA will continue to market OCE through 2029 while working with Salesforce to jointly develop and market the LS Cloud platform. This strategic partnership ultimately is expected to facilitate a full transition from OCE to the LS Cloud platform over the next 4-5 years.

There are several other players with their own areas of strengths. Exeevo is one such product which is built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM with native integration with all Microsoft products like Teams. Exeevo’s solutions cover core CRM, Marketing Automation, Content Management, Event Management and Customer Insights. For an LS organization that is looking for new CRM solution and is invested in the Microsoft stack seeking an alternative to Veeva or SFDC options, it would make sense to consider Exeevo whilst analyzing the other platform options.

Zaidyn by ZS Associates, is another new entrant in the Customer Engagement platform space. ZS is a major stakeholder in Life Sciences data services better known for their Commercial Excellence consulting services with an established global client base.  It remains to be seen what the extent of this solution’s CRM capabilities are.

There are multiple other CRM products in the US market with generally lower total cost of ownership but also come with limited range of features and lower overall market share – which might work perfectly fine for some customers’ needs. For example, Synergistix’ CATS platform has been in Life Sciences CRM for more than 25 years andoffers customer engagement, sampling and data analytics solutions to its customers. CloseUp on the other hand is a new entrant in the US market with a focus around Rx and Sales data sets as well as Commercial technology solutions and despite being a new entrant into the US market, has been a leading player in X-US CRM for many years.  TikaMobile is another relatively newer entrant into the market, offering a suite of CRM platforms built for the Life Sciences but whose strength leans more toward reporting than traditional CRM features.

Migration to Vault CRM and Key Considerations

What do we know so far

Veeva announced their first Vault CRM early adopter customer (oncology biotech) went live in Q4 2023 with General Availability of the product in April 2024 and thereafter Vault CRM will be the go-forward product for new customers. The current Veeva CRM solution built on the Salesforce platform has entered stability mode to minimize change and provide a smooth migration path to Vault CRM for existing Veeva CRM customers. During stability mode, Veeva CRM releases will include fixes for significant defects, compliance, platform compatibility, and security updates. Veeva CRM will be supported until September 2030. Veeva has stated that the licensing cost will remain the same but with more value adds like Service Center potentially reducing the total cost of ownership.

With all these recent developments in the Life Sciences CRM landscape, deeper wedges are being driven into the interoperability of these technologies.  Veeva’s Commercial Cloud will virtually encapsulate every aspect of the Life Science’s commercial technology needs, leading some customers down a path of using Veeva technologies across the board.  Similarly, with SFDC’s forthcoming CRM for Life Sciences, their suite of technology offerings will offer a close second in terms of providing customers a broad spectrum of easily integrated solutions.  Due to ongoing litigation, the use of IQVIA data assets within Veeva’s master data management platform (Veeva Network) present some restrictions in terms of Life Sciences organizations freedom to use their choice of data within the Veeva ecosystem.  Alternatively, customers may be pressed now more than ever before to contemplate their path forward not only regarding CRM, but with respect to the full suite of satellite technologies surrounding their CRM.

What options do existing customers have?

  • Migration from Veeva CRM to Vault CRM 
  • Reimagine their future solution technology suite
    • Consider SFDC’s suite of Commercial Solutions.
    • Consider a technology suite that integrates best-of-breed solutions.

Migration from Veeva CRM to Vault CRM: 

  • Timeline: Veeva CRM to Vault CRM migrations start in early 2025
  • What can I do to prepare for the migration? Develop a Commercial technology assessment and roadmap.  Because it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it is important for customers to understand where they stand currently and what is required to get to the target state.  Depending on the complexity of their commercial ecosystem, the simplest migrations could be completed in a few weeks while more complex ones could take several months. Most standard Veeva components will migrate automatically, but several others  are expected to require a dedicated migration effort including rebuilding custom components, Salesforce reports/dashboards and multiple data integrations.