RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - September 02, 2015) - Medical science liaisons (MSLs) maintain anywhere from 20 to 100 relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs). In addition, MSLs perform an average 16 activities in support of investigational products and 18 activities in support of marketed products. However, pharmaceutical intelligence provider Cutting Edge Information reports that, despite these heavy workloads, MSL teams struggle to prove their value to executives outside the medical affairs function.

According to Cutting Edge Information's report "Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons: Refining Global MSL Strategy with Compelling KPIs," MSL teams increasingly rely on quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) to demonstrate team value to upper management. In fact, a comparison of data collected in 2012 and 2014 shows that the number of KPIs that surveyed MSL teams track has increased by 61% in the EU and 100% in the US. These data indicate that surveyed teams are yielding to upper management's pressure to quantify MSL value.

While surveyed teams vary in the types of KPIs they track, four metrics stand out as critical to proving MSL value:

  • Number of existing KOL relationships
  • Number of interactions with KOLs
  • Number of new KOL relationships
  • Number of scientific speeches delivered by MSLs

"Together, these KPIs emphasize the core aspect of MSL activities, which is communicating scientific research to key opinion leaders," said Natalie DeMasi, senior research analyst at Cutting Edge Information.

Some MSL managers do not set written expectations for what target KPIs their MSLs should reach, but most recognize what a productive MSL should achieve in a month. MSLs on surveyed teams seek to maintain an average of 22.8 KOL relationships with about 19.4 interactions a month -- meaning they interact with each KOL about once every month or so.

The report, available at, features benchmarks and best practices for MSL executives to define key performance indicators, compare team resources across regions and therapeutic areas, and provide competitive compensation for liaisons at varying experience levels. The report will allow MSL team executives to:

  • Track quantitative, KOL-driven metrics to assess MSL value.
  • Implement processes for cross-team communication among MSL groups to share best practices and overcome challenges.
  • Compensate MSLs based on experience level and indication complexity.
  • Track MSL activities to enhance companywide visibility.
  • Expand existing MSL responsibilities to support cross-functional objectives.

For more information on Cutting Edge Information's report offerings, please visit

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Contact Information:

Rachel Shockley