A significant proportion of the clients we work with know that KOLs well. They also recognise that this in itself is the problem!
When you have been in a therapy area for a while and have done your KOL identification and KOL mapping previously, you may get used to working with the same people over and over again.
It’s after all easy (and very natural) to keep working with the same KOLs and using the same small group of people that you know well for all your activities and initiatives.
But the issue with this is that you don’t always see the changes happening just outside your field of vision — the myopia of over-confidence and over-familiarity creeps in.
It’s therefore important to occasionally perform an objective ‘sense check’ and validate your current KOL list.
Such a validation could take many different approaches e.g. asking your country teams to review to revisit their KOL recommendations, getting fresh input from your medical colleagues on new people they have come across, and/or conducting a systematic and analytical KOL validation exercise with an external agency.
KOL validation is different from a KOL identification or KOL mapping exercise. In essence, you are starting with a list in which you a good degree of confidence already, and so the validation should focus on answering three simple questions: who should stay, who should go, and who new should be added to your KOL repertoire? All backed up with solid evidence directly from the field.
Finally, it’s important to note that conducting such a validation works best when you can apply multiple methodologies in order to view the existing KOL list from many different lenses, each offering a different viewpoint into the KOL, their influence, their connections, etc. In that way you get a true, objective, analytical picture of the KOLs in the context of the wider KOL Landscape.