Faced with economic hard times, many pharmaceutical companies are downsizing their field forces that market certain products in an effort to save money.
IntelleRep, a startup company that moved into 103 College Road East earlier this year, is offering a service to those companies that focuses on helping them to market products while saving money at the same time.
“We have developed a platform that helps companies take a brand that might be in either a growth or a tenured state, for example, and allow them to still keep that product in the forefront of customers’ minds,” says Keith Shapiro, CEO and president of IntelleRep.
“Our goal is to be an integrated service for the pharma and healthcare industries to assist them in marketing and in delivering their marketing message,” says Shapiro.
According to Shapiro, IntelleRep’s proprietary platform includes using telemarketing to deliver its clients’ messages to customers by utilizing a “succinct dialogue with key influencers and key prescribers in their customer’s office.”
For example, a pharmaceutical company has “brand x” that still needs to be marketed or has longevity, but it is not cost effective to send reps into the field to sell it, Shapiro says. “We take the role and responsibilities that those reps would perform and bring them inside of an office building. We send out the same exact messages but do it in a more cost-effective manner.”
Another example of where IntelleRep can help is when a company has a drug that is about to launch or is awaiting approval from the FDA. IntelleRep’s clients can use the service during a product’s ramp up phase, or to quickly build a customer base. “We use a strategic deployment of the client’s marketing message to build a level of awareness of their product in a short period of time,” says Shapiro.
“IntelleRep identified the opportunity to fill a void in the pharmaceutical and health care industries, using innovative, proprietary, and virtual technology to help clients reach their customers,” states the company’s website. “IntelleRep is dedicated to providing cutting edge proprietary voice, video, and data communication solutions.”
The company’s services also include the use of video streaming technology to allow healthcare providers to interact with their reps, and an automated system that validates every customer interaction. It determines that a sales call took place, provides data, and helps customers prove the return on their investment, says Shapiro.
IntelleRep is also a “viable resource,” Shapiro says, for patient assistance and to conduct patient surveys. “We are able to field those calls, gather information and data, and provide it back to the client in a succinct and targeted way. Then we can create targeted messages based on feedback from customers and patients.”
The fundamental idea for IntelleRep was Shapiro’s and was in the works for more than two years before the company officially opened in February.
“We wanted to make sure that when we launched, we did it right,” he says. “We wanted the company to be more than than just a technology platform that we bring to clientele. We wanted to make sure it was built on the premise that it be an employee-centric organization. We want to provide employees the best environment possible so they grow and achieve and reach a high level of success.”
A Long Island native, Shapiro says his parents were small business owners involved in the auto repair industry. “I watched them build their businesses based on the simple foundation of doing it right and working hard. I learned that nothing in this world comes easy, and we all have our ups and downs, but you can get through them by continuing to work hard. Watching the resilience that my family had gave me the same kind of work ethic.”
Shapiro graduated with a BS in biological sciences from Long Island University and went to work at Reliant Pharmaceutical in Liberty Corner from 2003 to 2005 as a pharmaceutical sales rep-trainer.
From 2005 to 2008 he bounced around the country working for ISTA Pharmaceutical as a territory manager-district trainer in Florida, a district sales manager in Saint Louis, and then went back to Florida to work as manager of strategic accounts. After ISTA, Shapiro worked at AstraZenica as manager of training and development from 2009 to 2011.
Shapiro, who now lives in Toms River, says that when he was starting IntelleRep, he decided the northeast was a good location. “Having come out of the pharma corridor, I wanted to bring it back up here because this is where industry lives and breathes.”
Shapiro says that IntelleRep was “fundamentally my idea,” and then he reached out to the network of colleagues and coworkers he had built across the country in his years working in the industry to help build the company. “I wanted to draw together the best of the best to bring it to fruition.”
When it came to pinpointing a location, Shapiro chose the Princeton area because of its proximity to pharma and biotech companies. “It’s in the middle of it all. It’s a hop, skip, and a jump to Philadelphia, and a hop, skip and two jumps to New York City. It’s also convenient to the biotech companies in north Jersey.”
The area’s huge pool of talent was also a major plus. “Princeton is known for great, great people, and those are the types of employees we want to look for.”
The next step was finding the appropriate office space. For that he reached out to Bill Barish, founder and president of Commercial Property Network. “Bill was able to provide us with a level of insight that’s second to none,” Shapiro says. “He knew what we were looking for.”
That turned out to be 8,000 square feet at 103 College Road East, where IntelleRep signed a five-year lease. He adds that the company has room for growth there, too. “We easily have the potential to jump to 16,000 square feet in a moment’s notice.”
Having settled into its home, IntelleRep is currently hiring its first handful of employees. It is also in contractual discussions with three major companies to sign on as their first clients.
Shapiro says there are companies out there that provide similar services, but he believes none of his competitors provide the same level of service and expertise as IntelleRep.
“Any company can pop up a computer and a telephone and make calls to doctors, but to my knowledge there’s nobody out there that uses the kind of platform that we do,” Shapiro says. “We’re not just simply making calls. We’re a company that’s rooted in pharma and healthcare and that’s where we can provide the highest level of value to those clients.”
IntelleRep, 103 College Road East, Third Floor, Princeton 08540; 800-516-7152; fax, 609-228-5317. Keith A. Shapiro, CEO. www.intellerep.com.