Great Advice From Great Minds: Sales Innovation from Daiichi Sankyo GM and CEO

Daiichi Sankyo’s General Manager & CEO for the Nordic Region, Patrik Grandits, on his experience building up the oncology entity across Europe The interview, by Jill Donahue

Patrik Grandits can’t leave things alone. Which is good. Wherever he has worked, he shakes up, improves and advances the corporate agenda.

When he was a General Manager at Allergan, he was accountable for sales and marketing in over 20 countries across Europe and Eastern Europe, managing breast and facial products in both medical devices and pharmaceuticals. He introduced new budget and business planning tools, and achieved 15% growth in 2008 and 25% growth in 2009. At Alpha Future Technologies, as managing director, he had full P&L responsibility for global strategic business development, business planning, financial forecasting, product/project development and investors/business alliance management. In his years as Business Unit Head at Hospira, he was accountable for the oncology, hospital and immunology biosimilars business in over 25 countries. Then, as Global Head Product & Portfolio Strategy for Oncology at Sandoz, he instituted their global oncology business plan, and transferred a mature Novartis oncology product portfolio into the Sandoz business model. No one can accuse him of a lack of ambition. After having built up the Daiichi Sankyo oncology entity and expanded into the Nordics, Patrik is currently Daiichi Sankyo’s General Manager & CEO for the Nordic Region. “We are continuously building up and expanding in both our European and our Nordic entities. Innovation is paramount in all that we do, from pursuing new medicines and new methods of drug discovery and delivery, to achieving excellence throughout our organization by continuously examining new ideas.“ One of Patrik’s achievements is the development and implementation of a new and innovative key account business model called “The Account Engine Model.” As is true of many of our interviewees, he is a passionate proponent of a focus on the needs of the patient. “We have to make sure we have the greatest talent we can get, and then deliver value to customers,” he says. “We must lift our engagement to patients.” When we interviewed him, he was here to visit their U.S. team to discuss and share their European approach. There is a common understanding between U.S. and Europe that to put the patient in the center of our approach is essential. “How do we transform our thinking around customer centricity?” Patrik says. “There are many paths. Having the right mindset. Changing the way we incentivize staff. Improving how we engage with patients. I learned early that you need to ask the right questions and have a willingness to listen in order to get the right answers.” An example is the restructuring of the sales incentive system to focus on team targets rather than individual sales projections. This relieves each rep of the pressure to focus only on selling, and allows them to focus on the bigger job: listening and educating. It’s a long-term vision for where they want to be. They are in the process of measuring the impact

they have made on the entire value chain. The organization is now attentive to NPS, Net Promoter Score, which measures customer experience and predicts growth from that metric. “We measure the impact on patient outcomes,” Patrik told us. One component of this is the MyCancerTherapy site, a video information portal for patients with cancer. The portal also provides FAQs, a glossary and links to support organizations. My Cancer Therapy translates medical jargon into understandable language that is meaningful to patients. Daiichi Sankyo is doing this in over 20 languages. The videos with leading physicians cover three main categories — chemotherapy information, side effects and daily life — and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. “Patients have just received a diagnosis of a devastating disease,” says Patrik. “We have to be aware of the patient’s state of mind when working with our customers: the questions, the anxiety, and the concern about what to do next. We help patients understand what can happen and what the treatment path is about, in their own language.” This path of getting away from selling toward educating drives measurement toward what impact they have made with patients. A small but important aspect is that the sales staff are now called Healthcare Development Managers. That helps change their attitude toward the way they conduct themselves. Instead of employees being narrowly defined, they are now people who represent to doctors the entire Daiichi Sankyo vision — that they care. Asking questions rather than “selling” allows them to deploy the appropriate research, the details to satisfy those question. “Nobody wants us just to tell them why our drug is better. They want help with their specific concerns,” Patrik says. “It’s not about you making a sale. It’s about us making an impact. This is transformational. We are a learning and growing organization.” He made the analogy of having a first-in-class drug to having a highperformance car. It’s wonderful to have a Ferrari, but you’re not going to win if you don’t have the drivers who understand how to pilot it. “You have to be powerful at asking questions, learning how to create value for the people you’re speaking with. Much of what we are facing today is around ambiguity and uncertainty, but we deal with that by learning and focusing on the right education.” We have learned in our studies on patient centricity that only about 20% of leaders have that belief. Those who do have experienced what Patrik has: “Miracles can happen.” •

Jill Donahue Principal, Excellerate Author, Engage Rx: The 3 Keys to Patientfocused Growth Co–founder, The Aurora Project Jill, HBa, MAdEd, is a keynote speaker, author and thought leader who has authored two books on Influencing in patient-focused ways and co-founded The Aurora Project, a global patient-centricity group. She also serves as Associate Editor of Healthcare Sales & Marketing.

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