The MSL Technology Survey (2020)

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Publication Date:
April 2020
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With physical distancing currently the norm, MSLs must radically change their working practice to effectively engage with KOLs

Face-to-face meetings are the preferred choice of MSLs when sharing key scientific information and getting feedback from KOLs. But during the Covid-19 pandemic that is not an option – new thinking is therefore needed. Even prior to the virus, many MSLs were envisaging a time when technology would provide most of the tools for identifying, communicating, maintaining and developing their KOL relationships.

This survey, conducted as the Covid-19 virus was starting to spread, explores the trends and practice of MSL/KOL engagement. That world, for the time being at least, must immediately change but is this an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of new working practice and employment of advanced digital tools? To explore the pre-Covid-19 MSL technology landscape and how MSLs see it developing we surveyed US and Western European (WE) MSL professionals and published their valuable insights in The MSL Technology Survey (2020).

MSL professionals tackle key questions:

  • Email? SMS? Online video? Live chat? Which communication technologies are finding favour with MSLs?
  • How much time do MSLs commit to identifying Digital Opinion Leaders and by how much is this area likely to grow in importance?
  • To what degree is technology enabling MSLs to tailor scientific information for KOLs, how does this differ in the US and EU and what lessons can be learnt?
  • How might KOL influence mapping systems and social media change MSL working practices?
  • What role does technology play in gathering and recording insights and feedback from KOLs?
  • With conferences and exhibitions cancelled or moving to virtual platforms, what are the other opportunities for MSLs to profile and engage with KOLs?
  • What percentage of MSLs expect to expand their use of virtual advisory boards over the next 5 years?

MSL professionals tackle key questions:

This survey report draws on the responses from MSLs in leading companies such as


About the Survey

  • Field dates: 19 February – 2 March 2020
  • Interview methodology: Data collected via a 15-minute internet-based questionnaire
  • Screening criteria: Respondents were screened to ensure that they were MSLs or MSL managers employed in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Sample distribution: A total of 96 MSLs or MSL managers (48 US-based; 48 Western Europe-based)

Why choose ChartViews?

FirstView's highly-valuable ChartViews survey reports unlock critical peer insights and:

  • Provide a unique perspective on key operational issues of importance to pharma
  • Are based on quantitative primary research to reflect the widest range of views
  • Reflect only the opinions of screened respondents who are qualified to speak to the survey subject