Although MSLs are known as high valuable assets, they cannot excel without the right tools
MSL tasks - Key Expert tool

The Key Expert Tool, specialized software for MSL’s to build and maintain KOL relationships

In pharmacy, food production and biotechnology Medical Science Liaisons, a.k.a. MSLs, play an important role. Their job is to establish and maintain relationships with leading researchers and clinicians, referred to as key opinion leaders (KOLs).

These KOLs help to ensure that products are used correctly, the KOLs serve as an important ambassador of products and provide your company with important information. Relationships with KOLs are critical for the long-term success and the continuous innovation of products. Actively engaging KOLs leads to a competitive advantage. Therefore, it is key to equip MSLs with the right software tools to maximize liaisons success.

Previews of the
Key Expert Tool

Key Expert Tool - Key Opinion Leader Mapping
Key Expert Tool - Dasboarding for MSLs
Key Expert Tool - MSL plans
Key Expert Tool - MSL tasks planning

Goals of MSLs – The key to long term success

The goal of a Medical Science Liaisons (MSL) is not solely to establish and maintain relationships with key figures in their field, referred to as KOLs, but to actively engage them in the product life cycle. In addition, smart MSLs are also constantly on the lookout for “Rising stars". The young professionals that have the potential to become a KOL in the nearby future.

To meet their goals, MSLs perform a wide variety of tasks, like:

  • Identification of KOLs and Rising stars;
  • Mapping of KOLs and Rising stars;
  • Acquire insights from KOLs
  • Stimulate active engagement of KOLs;
  • Cooperate with the commercial team to perform various tasks like:
    • Market analyses;
    • Opportunity assessments;
    • And more..
  • Cooperate with the R&D and clinical department for:
    • Clinical Trail Optimization;
    • Find scientific proof of product excellence.
MSL tasks and KOL mapping

The role of MSL requires strong analytical skills, a commercial mindset, the ability to interpretate and value market specific innovations & scientific literature, and excellent stakeholder management capabilities.

Although MSLs are known as high valuable assets, they cannot excel without the right tools. Good software is essential to bring out the best in them! Key Expert Tooling enables MSLs to map KOLs, document stakeholder communications, drive KOL engagement and analyze (market) research data.

How Key Expert Tool helps to reach those goals

Identification of Key Opinion Leaders using modern analytical tooling

The process of finding the right Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) is fuzzy. Every MSL, and even every organization, has its own methods for identifying and mapping KOLs. There are some common methods for identification, like:

  1. Going through lists of published (academic) articles and their authors
  2. Google the people who contributed to medical or governmental guidelines
  3. Brows through websites of conferences for a list of keynotes speakers
  4. Or notate every quoted person in field-related news and blog articles

And there are many more methods for KOL identification. Some methods are tailored to specific KOL or market characteristics. For example: while searching for KOLs in a predetermined geographical area, the method for KOL identification probably incorporates location-based data.

“Work smarter… not harder”
— Allen F. Morgenstern
Make use of web crawlers

Almost all these KOL identification methods are based on desk research. And In most cases this desk research is performed manually, what makes it a time-consuming and therefore expensive MSL task.

Luckily, this can be automated by utilizing modern analytical tooling. Let crawlers do the hard work! Set it up once and let the bots generate lists of quoted persons in sites and articles of your choosing. Or Let the bots crawl through a list of conference websites to build a list of keynotes speakers in your field.

Embrace new targeting methods

Another very promising method for KOL identification is making use of LinkedIn via InMail. LinkedIn is a professional network platform with tons of interesting profiles and an unprecedented wealth of data. Via the LinkedIn Sales Navigator or LinkedIn’s campaign manager, it is possible to target your KOLs very specifically and send them (personalized) messages. Since, LinkedIn works outside of your company software, it is essential to use a Key Expert Tool that can connect with external data sources like the LinkedIn API.

Real-time insights in planned tasks and task completions

Most organizations within the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology or related industries have multiple teams of MSLs and various departments that all work together to form and exploit strong liaisons with KOLs. This complexity in stakeholder management in between departments as well as the enormous versatility in tasks requires good project management and task planning tooling.

As an MSL or manager, you want to have real-time insights in tasks planning and completion. Not in a secondary software program. No! In the Key Expert Tool itself. Simply add tasks to yourself, colleagues and other departments or receive notifications when a crawl-job is completed. Everything in one place. Your work is challenging enough without all the planning proceedings.

Why using Low code instead of Excel

Its clear that you need a Key Expert Tool to bring out the best of your MSLs and KOL-relations. However, this can also be done with Excel workbooks, right? Sure, you can also send KOL connection invitations via a carrier pigeon, but that does not make it the right choice.

There are multiple software platforms or tools that can be used as a Key Expert Tool. Excel, an extension in your Salesforce CRM, a plugin for your ERP platform or standardized Key Expert Tool software. Unfortunately, all of them have their disadvantages.

From Excel to organizational hell

Excel is easy to create and can be customized by a MSL but will ultimately become very complex. With hidden fields and endless formulas. And then we did not even mention Excel’s biggest disadvantage. The lack of a single source of truth. All information fragmented over multiple versions of a single Excel workbook. A real nightmare for your organization!

The standard problem of standardized software

Alright, plan B. Not Excel. How about using standardized software? Do not get me wrong, some standardized software packages are great. Software packages like Exact, Salesforce and SAP are used by millions of users. This is also their biggest disadvantage. They are built to suit everyone, also your competitors. It is not tailored to the way of working of your organization. And for a Key Expert Tool that is a big problem. This kind of KEE software will standardize instead of facilitating your way of working. Making your smart, creative and highly valuable MSLs nothing more than a slave of the system.

Shape your own way of working!

Fortunately, there is a solution. Low code! With low code your MSLs get the tools to create their own Key Expert Tooling tailored to your company’s way of working. If you are not familiar with low code, I would encourage you to get in contact with our specialist Bob. He can tell you everything about low code and how it can help your organization. Bob can be reached via mail, at, and by telephone (06-184 886 98), or send him a WhatsApp message.

Or, download our free whitepaper: "The business that outgrew Excel"

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Bob vdP
Bob van der Panne
Commercieel Manager
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