How people on the marketing side can assist in the success of sales
Founder, Cbm Group
Our panel of experts:
U.S. Country Manager Isdin
Chief Commercialization Officer & Vp Worldwide Sales Trice Medical
Global Director of Marketing, Endoscopy Boston Scientific
Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales OraSure Technologies
In Healthcare Sales & Marketing, we often look at the prism of these two disciplines to determine how they can better coordinate, collaborate, strategize and execute. Marketing needs to know more about sales. Sales needs to know more about marketing. And both groups need to know more about customers and the everchanging landscape.
Recently we held a panel to examine how sales and marketing could better understand and work with each other. In this issue’s exercise, we look more closely at the responsibilities and actions marketing can take in bolstering the role and success of sales.
What can marketing professionals do to really move the needle and be a true business partner? What contributions and actions create an environment of mutual respect? How can marketing communicate the research, rigor and reasons behind how decisions are made, so sales professionals can maximize the strategies, tools, programs and tactics that are created to ensure their success?
Today HS&M talks to four leaders who have seen the territory from both sides, and offers here their insights and best practices on optimizing the collaboration between sales and marketing.
When did you first notice a marketing team’s effort making a real difference in the success of your team? How did it happen? What were the results?
MARK FOSTER: At Smith & Nephew we had a marketing team that did a nice job with analytics and identifying opportunities. Our product manager went above the call of duty to do analytics to push to the field to identify opportunities in their territory. As you know, sales reps gravitate towards easier products to sell, the low-hanging fruit. Through analytics, the marketing team identified our actual territory gaps. They really handed to each sales rep on a platter a place to go, and they followed it up with talk tracks, brochures, what to say. Doing the work from both a targeting perspective and arming them with tools of what to say when they got there.
RYAN HARTMAN: Prior to the launch of SpyGlassTM DS System, a single-use, single operator digital cholangioscope, we transitioned to an evidence-based, value-based economic marketing model. In the past we would launch innovative products that we would put into the marketplace, see how things went, and then support it with value propositions, sales collateral and clinicals after launch. With this launch we were able to hit the mark right away, at the time of launch, meeting sales force expectations in providing evidence-based pricing, value propositions, collateral and value briefs. There was a laundry list of things we provided to sales to substantiate the economics of our product. This was one of the most recognizably successful launches we have had.
TONY ZEZZO: A recent example focused on our HIV point of care test. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) communicated guidelines to use the most sensitive test available. To be able to communicate this information and position our product effectively in alignment with these guidelines, we had to translate technical information into messaging that our field force could easily communicate, and that a customer could understand. The marketing team effectively did this. And in this instance it helped us protect our customer base and in some cases gain new clients.
What do you feel are the most important activities a marketing team should focus on to help drive sales?
ROB D’URSO: In my opinion, marketing’s role is to define what success looks like, determine how it will be measured, develop the road map, and provide tools and direction for sales to achieve it. In this light, the most important activities a marketing team can do:
- Early on, develop a full understanding of a market to ensure that forecasts, expectations and positions are aligned
- Work closely with sales and training to develop a launch plan or annual plan that is created to speak to sales organizations and are not designed as a marketing project
- Listen, learn and develop tactical tools that the sales team request to achieve the above
RYAN HARTMAN: I would say the #1 activity is simply connecting and collaborating with the sales leadership team. Regular, constant communication and alignment precedes everything. Without alignment, marketing materials will not get used, will not resonate. It’s not a good use of marketing’s time to focus on program and activities without sales buy-in. Key alignment with sales leadership is the most important piece.
MARK FOSTER: If you are in a marketing role, it is critically important to solicit people from the sales organization to be included in the development of the tool— both as advocates and to help you hit the mark on the piece because they are closest to the customer. And this will help with adoption in the field, too, because your advocates can say “this was developed with marketing” and they will help you launch it. This avoids the “us vs. them” mentality. The perfect tool, if not rolled out in a collaborative way, won’t be adopted.
What have been the best ways you’ve seen marketing help a sales team stay informed on market trends, competitive info, etc.? What is most effective way for sales and marketing to communicate with one another?
ROB D’URSO: The use of marketing reports from the sales team is a great resource. They allow sales members to communicate realtime information, competitive activities and other information directly to the sales team. The marketing team needs to leverage this data to make changes, and they need to turn the information back around in a user-friendly manner so that other sales members can learn from it.
RYAN HARTMAN: Publishing a bi-weekly newsletter—we call it a “highlight reel.” Marketing prepares the info and the vice president of sales sends it out to the field. Each newsletter contains no more than 4 items, which is the right amount of information to help them stay focused on the highest priority topics. Marketing can’t overload—less is definitely more here. And it narrows the communication down to critical information.
MARK FOSTER: Marketing needs to go into conference sessions and identify market trends, procedural trends, look at the competition, gather info holistically, look at international markets, look at journals, take information, listen to podcasts. The marketing team should serve as the “Cliff Notes” for sales for industry trends and literature. Break it down and keep the field abreast of those trends. Communication has to be consistent. As Ryan suggests, publish a monthly or quarterly newsletter and have everything housed in one warehouse site. Unless it’s urgent, it doesn’t go out.
TONY ZEZZO: Marketing and sales need to collaborate. I’ve seen it take various forms but a very effective method is including the marketing teams when the field teams come together once a quarter for POA (Plan of Action) meetings. In my experience it has been invaluable for marketing to be face-to-face with sales, to establish relationships with the field teams and sales leadership. They need to actively communicate what each is learning, seeing and working on. Marketing also can host update conference calls on a biweekly basis. Also, one of the primary responsibilities of marketing is to generate leads. Soliciting leads from various market segments through email blasts, webinars, and other tactics adds value, and a field organization responds to initiatives that add value to their efforts. It’s the best form of communication.
Can you share an example in your career of a time when you were not meeting a sales forecast and marketing was able to help? What did marketing do and what were the results?
MARK FOSTER: Reallocation of resources—for example medical education. We were behind the number in a franchise and we shifted resources to education, driving more labs, physician training to drive adoption, as opposed to using marketing spend differently as initially allocated. We pushed marketing resources into shorter-term ROI and changed priorities to invest in hands-on training.
ROB D’URSO: Marketing has a tremendous number of tools and levers available to pull when a sales organization is not meeting goals. The most recent example I have seen is a marketing team and sales team working together to enhance a rebate card program to drive additional physician adoption, while managing the net revenue levels.
The teams worked together to understand the key driver of adoption and the impact to net sales. The program grew quickly and was able to be sustained.
TONY ZEZZO: Our marketing organization is tasked with taking a strategy and translating it into executables. However, plans don’t always go as first anticipated. There have been situations when an initiative isn’t working as planned in the field. I look to marketing to solicit feedback on why not, to do their research and understand what needs to change, and then quickly and efficiently make adjustments. Plans constantly change and there is continuous need to monitor and adjust when necessary. When marketing can do this quickly and effectively, you can recover and close the gaps in business plans.
RYAN HARTMAN: We conduct quarterly forecast meetings for sales and marketing leadership to gain alignment. These used to be solely forecast meetings and we would hone in on numbers, but they have turned into more of a collaboration meeting. We agree on numbers, but are now focused on how best to achieve a goal or support certain franchises. It’s a shared responsibility between sales and marketing to identify and address gaps.
Have you ever experienced a situation when sales and marketing efforts were not aligned? How did it impact the business?
RYAN HARTMAN: Poor communication or misalignment between senior sales and marketing can lead to missteps. It’s critical for marketing to gain alignment with sales up front, before you initiate work and execute the plan.
MARK FOSTER: [LAUGHS] Yes, I have had several of those examples unfortunately and they range from misalignment of goals where the marketing team is paid on franchise profitability and the sales team is paid on sales dollars. I’ve experienced instances where the marketing team felt they should be entirely downstream, marketing and designing products, but after products were launched, felt no desire to communicate with customers or drive adoption of that product. Fundamentally they thought their job was the R&D role and it wasn’t their responsibility to hit the mark on revenue after launch. Big gaps. Led to lots of misses on product launches, and also didn’t involve enough of field, physicians or voice of customer. Then after launch, you realize they missed the mark by a couple of degrees and it’s too late to get the right product into the pipeline at this point.
What’s the best example you’ve seen of sales and marketing working effectively together to drive business? What made it so effective?
TONY ZEZZO: The best example of working together is when both teams have a complete and common understanding of the market and customer needs. Messaging has been developed with input from sales and has been tested with the customer. When this process is in place you will end up with revenues that meet or exceed expectations.
I’ll share an example. One of my best experiences was when I worked at J&J and we launched the first HCV assay for testing the blood supply . Prior to that, when you donated blood, it couldn’t be directly tested. In the messaging that was developed, there was excellent coordination between sales, marketing and the customer. The product was implemented quickly, customers understood the impact, how to use and optimize it. A high degree of coordination and alignment led to great success.
ROB D’URSO: The best practice I can share is forced communication that is frequent and on-going across the two departments, specifically the product management teams and sales management teams. This allows the frontline teams to talk about issues, challenges and opportunities in order to quickly react. In addition, the two teams can talk through potential issues early on and begin to plan the operational aspects that would be required. Culture is built slowly through trust and on-going communications.
MARK FOSTER: When I was at BSCI (Boston Scientific) in the endoscopy division the alignment was really tight and we had quarterly forecast meetings and never missed a number. In most organizations, numbers are created in advance (sometimes 12-18 months prior), and you don’t have a chance to adjust until the next budget cycle. With this process we had quarterly targets, and sales would present their assumptions on trends, and the marketing team would do the same at franchise level. The president would make a call at these meetings to align everyone on mission and objective. It really worked, especially because it was recent data and recent trends. I really liked that it allowed for great discussion with each other and for marketing not to get too far from what’s happening at field level.
Have you gone from a sales position to an in-house marketing position? If so, what was most surprising about taking on that new role? Did it change your perspective on marketing at all?
ROB D’URSO: Early in my career I went from a rep role into a marketing role. I had such little understanding of what marketing did at that point, everything was new. I’m a marketer at heart and by training at this point.
TONY ZEZZO: I transitioned from a field sales role to a marketing role in my career. Most surprising to me was just how important marketing is to successful sales execution. In a field sales role you don’t necessarily appreciate the impact branding and messaging have on the ultimate purchase. You also might miss the importance of the research that goes into understanding customer needs and developing a successful strategy. There are a lot of moving parts that have to work together for good branding, strategy and execution to come together.
MARK FOSTER: I have seen people on my team go through this. The eye-opening experience is the complexity of the marketing job. As a sales rep you don’t understand why something can’t be done TODAY! You don’t see the full list of priorities. You don’t see the process and regulatory and quality paperwork. What you think as a field rep is that the #1 company priority is “my” customer, but there are competing internal and other priorities as a business. Marketing’s function has to manage many different priorities and make decisions. Sales people don’t initially appreciate the complexity. Marketing also needs to appreciate, communicate and educate without a tone of arrogance. Needs to listen well to field and explain the rationale for decisions.
RYAN HARTMAN: When you are in the field, you are in execution mode and working to satisfy customers. Your experience with a customer is second to none. You know the sales process well. When you are in sales you are focused on ways to install product and support your customers. When you transition in-house to marketing, you see the cross-functional groups that interact with marketing. Portfolio decisions with R&D, working with regulatory, the importance of a strong commercialization strategy, and the range of priorities between teams.
What do you anticipate to be the most important thing sales teams will need from their marketing colleagues in the future?
MARK FOSTER: I’d say reacting to the customer, listening to the customer. Product innovation is not necessarily about having the faster, quicker way to do it any more with the product. “Value” is really important. Stretch yourself and look at innovation with regard to how you deliver product—shipping, packaging, technique, delivery of content, the holistic customer experience. It’s changed—it’s no longer just about a product and making it better for customers. Now customers are asking for value. Not necessarily cheaper, but another level of value. Broaden the scope in innovation to encompass the whole customer experience.
RYAN HARTMAN: In the future I think marketing will need to arm the sales team with more economic value proof points. Hospitals want better outcomes at a lower cost. They will invest in technologies to deliver that, and marketing needs to be able to prove value so their sales teams can share this information with economically-minded customers.
Today there is a blurring of the responsibilities and roles between sales & marketing—especially in terms of accountability. This has been a successful formula for us. At the end of the day, we have the same end goal. My biggest take-away is that success requires precise alignment between sales and marketing.
ROB D’URSO: As technology continues to enter into the professional market and consumers are becoming more of the decisionmaker (after prescription, pricing, safety, etc.), sales teams will need tools to be integrated so that professional messaging is directly tied to consumer activities and the representative can play a valuecreating role in the chain.
TONY ZEZZO: Marketing needs to provide good executables to the field. Things are always changing.
It’s important for marketing to stay on top of a changing environment, to understand what trends are developing, and to translate that information into tools that will enable a field sales organization to be successful.
Bottom line: sales and marketing teams absolutely need to believe in each other. If you don’t have that, things are much more challenging. When sales knows and trusts the marketing tools and strategies they hit the ground running. Trust and credibility are key.
MARK FOSTER: I’ve found, especially in big organizations, when you can create sales and marketing teams that consist of individuals with expertise from both areas, that truly leads to the best cohesive culture and results for the organization.
MEET OUR MODERATOR
Founder Cbm Group
Collen has 20+ years of experience in business consulting, advertising and communications and senior leadership positions with top global healthcare companies. She has worked with teams around the world to launch more than 30 products to healthcare professionals, patients and consumers in such therapeutic categories as cardiovascular disease, women’s health, molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases, surgical laser systems, custom orthodontics, ophthalmics and minimally invasive surgical systems for osteoporotic spinal indications. Colleen began her career at an ad agency, helping medical device and diagnostic startups develop branding, PR and medical education strategies. She left the agency world and moved into product marketing, market development and commercial leadership roles, successfully building marketing teams within leading healthcare companies such as Guidant, Boston Scientific and Abbott. She recently led the positioning and communications for IMS Health’s $6B IPO email@example.com
CBM GROUP is a unique strategic marketing consulting, communications & talent solution for healthcare companies who need expert marketing personnel. Their community of experts helps clients focus marketing investments on developing compelling, relevant stories and strategies to influence behavior while delivering impactful programs across advertising, marketing, digital, PR and social media to quickly drive growth.
MEET OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS
U.S. Country Manager ISDIN
Rob has led the US operations for ISDIN US since the launch in 2016. Prior to his tenure at ISDIN, Rob served as head of Sales & Marketing at Promius Pharma, Dermatology and held various commercial positions at Ferndale Laboratories. His career includes leadership roles in general management, sales, marketing and corporate firstname.lastname@example.org
ISDIN is a Spanish-based dermatology company that has recently launched commercial operations in the US market. ISDIN was born 40 years ago in Barcelona, from the alliance between a global leader in fragrances and cosmetics and a benchmark pharmaceutical company with renowned medical products. The mission was to create a worldwide reference in skin health, treatment and beauty. Today it is a market leader in the dermo-cosmetics segment in Spain, with operations in Europe, America and Asia.
Chief Commercialization Officer & VP Worldwide Sales Trice Medical
Mark is a veteran commercial leader with over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry. He spent eight years at Boston Scientific in the endoscopy and neurovascular divisions, with several roles of increasing responsibility in sales management, sales operations and training. In his eight years at Smith & Nephew, he held several roles, the last of which was leading the U.S. Sports Medicine division with roughly 600M in revenues. Additional responsibility included being the U.S. Commercial Lead for the Arthrocare integration. Mark then became the CCO and VP WW Sales at Trice Medical, where he is responsible for all commercial activities of what was recently named one of the “hottest start-ups” in email@example.com
TRICE MEDICAL was founded to fundamentally improve orthopedic diagnostics for the patient, physician, and payor by providing instant, eyes-on answers. Trice Medical has pioneered a fully-integrated camera-enabled technology, the Mi-Eye, that provides a clinical solution optimized for the physician’s office.
Global Director Of Marketing, Endoscopy Boston Scientific
Ryan is a proven competitive global leader of sales and marketing organizations with an outstanding record of enterprise leadership. He has a strong ability to build high performing teams and recruit and develop high potential talent. At Boston Scientific, he has developed a 5-year strategic plan to support the global endoscopy business. He manages global P&L and has executed a portfolio supporting the launch of 12 new products in 36 months. He has also served Boston Scientific as Global Group Marketing Manager for Pancreaticobiliary, National Market Development Manager and Regional Sales Manager. Prior to joining Boston Scientific, he was a Professional Medical Representative for Muro Pharmaceuticals.firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORPORATION is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a range of interventional medical specialties, including interventional radiology, interventional cardiology, peripheral interventions, neuromodulation, neurovascular intervention, electrophysiology, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, endoscopy, oncology, urology and gynecology.
Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales OraSure Technologies
Tony has responsibility for providing leadership and oversight for OraSure’s global marketing and sales operations, which includes the domestic and international sales teams for OraSure’s infectious disease and substance abuse businesses, marketing, and client services/customer care. He is an accomplished senior executive with 30 years’ experience in the diagnostics industry. He most recently served as Vice President, North America Sales and Marketing at the Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics division of Johnson & Johnson and was also Executive Director, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems. He has also been Executive Director, Marketing and Sales for the AIDS/Hepatitis Division of Ortho Diagnostics, and Vice President Sales and Marketing for all of Ortho’s businesses in the United States, Canada and Latin America.email@example.com
ORASURE TECHNOLOGIES is a leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of pointof- care diagnostic and collection devices and other technologies designed to detect or diagnose critical medical conditions. Its first-to-market, innovative products include rapid tests for the detection of antibodies to HIV and HCV on the OraQuick® platform, oral fluid sample collection, stabilization and preparation products for molecular diagnostic applications, and oral fluid laboratory tests for detecting various drugs of abuse. OraSure’s portfolio of products is sold globally to various clinical laboratories, hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations and other public health organizations, research and academic institutions, distributors, government agencies, physicians’ offices, commercial and industrial entities and consumers.