The Growth Prescription, a podcast for healthcare sales professionals: A value-based approach to sales with Per Ståhle
How do you unlock beneficial revenue growth for go-to-market teams at healthcare organizations? "Think through one further step [for your clients]," says Per Ståhle, SVP and Local Partner, in this episode of The Growth Prescription. Per, René Groeneveld, Partner, and Alan Gentry, Senior Director, share ideas on value-based decision-making for healthcare organizations' go-to-market teams. Spacer Spacer About the show The Fearless Thinkers podcast, hosted by Rick Cheatham and Masami Cookson, personalizes BTS's perspective on the people side of strategy. Fearless Thinkers is produced by Gloria Breck and Aron Towner. Special thanks to Joe Holeman, Chris Goodnow, Meghan McGrath, Roanne Neuwirth, and Nicole Hernandez for their invaluable help. René Groeneveld: How do you drive market share and revenue growth [by] empowering your field sales organizations to drive business conversations, but also beyond [that], to build strategic partnerships? We all know that the healthcare market continues to evolve, continues to change, to consolidate, and we’ve realized over the past years that it's moving to a more and more value-based system, which means that there is less and less decision making on an individual healthcare professional or provider level. Leaders and sellers need to think more strategically and beyond the individual decision making from a sales point of view, but also how to address business needs and business acumen and almost challenge the clients or the customers. Per, what do you hear from healthcare clients about value in the business? Per Ståhle: I work with a lot of clients throughout the whole healthcare ecosystem. Everyone talks about, we need to understand how to create more value for our customers or patients. Everyone has a different definition of what that value is. And every customer values it differently to create more value and understand another topic that comes up a lot is sort of leveraging real world data, who owns the data and who managed the data and who can access the data becomes more and more important defining that value. for the customer in other things than just the efficacy of the drug. As we see more and more “me too” drugs out there, like biosimilars or other drugs, that are competing with a slightly different value proposition — how do you understand how to create value for your customers with a differentiated value proposition that's not just based on an exclusive product with higher efficacy? Alan Gentry: When we narrow it down to just sellers and, for example, health care companies have key account managers. When they go to create value, they need to understand their customers’ desired outcomes in order to position their products, services, and solutions in a strategic way. They need to think strategically to differentiate themselves by challenging the customers with an innovative insight. And they need to be able to navigate their account ecosystems as well. Ultimately, what this links to is their company's business goals, such as how do we create behavioral change in the field within our sales organization? How do we improve in alignment with customers desired business outcomes? And then more importantly, how do we grow revenue in market shares? Per: Everyone in the whole ecosystem talks about patient centricity and creating value for the patient. Data shows that only about 20 percent of [patient health] is directed by health care. The other things are things like socioeconomic factors, educational levels, and all those other factors that drive the health of patients. So, how can we actually include that in our thinking about creating a better life for our patients? Over 70 percent of the cost of the healthcare system is driven by chronic conditions. So it comes into, how do I understand how to manage that? How do I think from a business acumen perspective around managing that? Avoiding people from developing new chronic conditions. Maybe, when you have a chronic condition, how do I manage that condition more, in the environment where the patient lives, to keep them from having acute episodes? And of course, when they have acute episodes, how do we help them increase the outcomes of those so that they get well faster? So it's all those aspects on driving the right behaviors throughout the whole ecosystem and understanding what role you play in that. René: I just recently spoke to a big client in Switzerland here. The interesting thing they said, it's about shifting mindsets, not just to be more business driven, but also to be more data driven. There's still a strong focus on patient focus interactions and achieving results. But what was more and more mentioned was sales effectiveness. How do I get to a recommendation or prescription? Not with six visits, but maybe with four. How do I get to a new lead? Maybe not with eight calls, but maybe with five. So, it was all about productivity and efficiency as well. Back to you, Per. What are healthcare organizations doing to ensure that they really create value for their customers, for their HCPs, for their patients? Per: Understand where do you play in the ecosystem, and how do you understand, more specifically, what each player wants and how they measure success. We've created a (sometimes) ecosystem experience where they get to play [different roles] within the ecosystem to understand what their big headaches [are], what their big challenges [are]. Going to market, understanding all the influencers in the marketplace, and, how do I leverage different relationships in the ecosystem? Of course, that looks very different in the U. S. than if you're in Europe. And who are the actual decision makers or influencers when it comes to getting to the right people with the right value proposition? René: Alan, you have a lot of experience working with big, complex sales organizations in the industry. How's creating value impacted in these organizations? Alan: As we look at companies, especially as they get more complex due to acquisitions, there's multiple business units. And so what that means is we have multiple people selling into the same organization. As far as that approach, there's one person that's usually leading, but they're leading without authority. They face a lot of internal problems, like collaboration and coordination. That creates complexity for their customers, and not only the complexity for their customers, but then there's also the chance that different units or different divisions are going to go their own way and not necessarily coordinate and collaborate with their partners. The bigger the company gets, the harder it is to work with them. There are just too many voices trying to sell to the customer. And what needs to happen is, we need to take a step back, and understand what the customer is trying to accomplish, and coordinate our efforts in order to demonstrate that we are easy to work with. We can help them solve very complex problems by coordinating across all business units. How are companies continuing to grow market shares and revenues in these complex go-to-market environments? Per: It's really taking a different approach from all the way from the top of the organization all the way to the actual salespeople in the field. You know, it starts with a big customer understanding. Have that deep knowledge around the market, and differentiate how you actually deal with them based on what their role in the ecosystem is. Understanding their business model and how you can complement [it] with your actions and what you do. And what also helps that internal collaboration you talked about, Alan, is having that customer focus, and even the customer's customer, which in most cases are the patients. How do you actually help [by] thinking through one further step? We do a lot of work with clients where they actually have to run their customer's business to understand how they provide the value and thereby they get the insights and become a true partner and gain that trusted advisor relationship with more senior levels at their customers, rather than getting stuck in a procurement kind of situation. And those key account managers that Alan mentions, they become very instrumental in building those more senior relationships. But also senior leaders in the organization becomes part of the sales organization. They can go meet with the C suite of their customers. René: What I hear from you, it's about market knowledge (a given), business acumen, partnerships, senior or maybe even C-level relationships and key account management in the end. Alan, again, back to you. What level of business acumen knowledge is required for a key account manager in the healthcare industry today? Do they all have to be financial MBAs on top of their qualification, or what's important? Alan: There's several questions that you've really got to ask yourself. Do I really know what my customers do, and what they're really responsible for achieving? By understanding those things, it allows us to dig into the root cause behind what the data is telling us, and we can do that by being curious by digging in by asking great questions. Those high impact questions. It really allows us to understand the real why behind what the customer is doing, and why they need to do what they are doing. Once you understand your customer's positions and their interest behind those positions, it allows you to challenge them with an insight and share relevant information to them. Allocate your resources in a strategic way that really optimizes that return on investment. We often refer to this as individualizing and personalizing your approach to each and every customer because every customer has different objectives, different metrics, and different goals. René: Per, why do customers struggle with building business acumen? Per: Let me first talk about financial acumen and business acumen. People think about it as the same thing, and that [they’re] the finance department's [or] the accountant's role to manage that. But it's not. Business acumen and financial acumen is really about the language of business. Business acumen specifically includes thinking strategically, thinking in several levels down. How does what I do affect my balance sheet, my cash flow? But for a salesperson, not just understand how it affects my company. But understand how it affects my customer's company. To have strong business acumen, it's really understanding, to Alan's point, how do I impact my customer's key metrics? If you think about running a hospital system, very slim margins, so how can I get my customer to understand, by using my solution and my drug here, maybe it's more expensive up front, but there's a lot of avoided costs down the road. Your outcomes are going to increase, your patients’ lives are going to increase, the experience for the patient is going to be better. How I can help my customer’s business, and not get focused on volume and price discounts? So many times I see in the pharma world, and also throughout the healthcare system, [that] people think price is the only metric to negotiate. But there's so many other things you can help your customers with. René: How can BTS support customers struggling with upskilling these sales organizations and struggling to really upskill on business acumen, as you’ve defined it? Per: In order to get people to do things differently and apply skills, we need to change their mindset. How do I think about my relationship with my customer? What's my role with my customer, and how can I help them become more successful? We did this for a large biopharma, for example, in Europe, where we had four different archetype markets that [clients] get to go in and actually think about, “How do I manage a drug that's going LOE?” So, losing exclusivity at the same time as I'm managing a launch of a new drug. And how do I do that using all the internal tools I have? In keeping the length of that first product and keeping the margins up as long as possible, at the same time as you're launching the replacement product, at the same time as you're actually competing with biosimilars. How do I manage that using all the tools I have internally at my reference, understanding what each different customers in each different market might value? René: Can you summarize a little bit and give us your top three tips you want everyone to walk away with? Per: Understanding how you fit in, what your role in the ecosystem is, and what your different customers or different stakeholders in the industry, where their role is, and then understand how you can. Demonstrate documented health outcomes with data, with real data, and what that looks like. And then, how do I collaborate internally with that customer view on the world to drive internal collaboration? And understanding how that plays into the life of the patients, since healthcare only affects 20 percent of it. René: Thank you so much for today's session. Dear listeners, I hope you enjoyed today's growth prescription podcast. It's the fourth out of a series, and there's much more to come. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us either over LinkedIn, Per Ståhle, Alan Gentry, and me, or of course, through BTS.com.
Nov 29, 2023
The Growth Prescription, a podcast for healthcare sales professionals: Driving market share through digital learning with Obi Ochu
Digital learning continues to move at speed: AI, augmented reality, and machine learning increasingly feature into the most transformative development journeys. Spacer Spacer About the show The Fearless Thinkers podcast, hosted by Rick Cheatham and Masami Cookson, personalizes BTS's perspective on the people side of strategy. Fearless Thinkers is produced by Gloria Breck and Aron Towner. Special thanks to Joe Holeman, Chris Goodnow, Meghan McGrath, and Roanne Neuwirth for their invaluable help. "What's new today is old tomorrow," says Obi Ochu, Senior Director, in this episode of The Growth Prescription. Obi, René Groeneveld, and Alan Gentry discuss how cutting-edge, customer-centric digital learning can drive revenue growth, performance, and retention for healthcare sales professionals. Engagement via gamification René Groeneveld: Today's topic is how do you drive market share and revenue growth by empowering your client interactions and relationships, and a little bit more in particular, the business problem is about creating a sales force, a field force, that can quickly execute on the company's go-to market transformation. Alan, you're in charge of our healthcare vertical on a global level, what's your experience on this? Can you share a few thoughts? Alan Gentry: My experience goes back to my days in the industry, but really when you look at this issue or this challenge, for years, pharma field forces have been marketing driven with a number of different messages centered around a patient-centric approach. Marketing and training departments create a number of great resources for the field to leverage while they're out in their calls or after their calls. Often, these resources and tools are underutilized and not leveraged in the right way, but companies are starting to look for ways to really engage their field in real mindset shifts, but not only that, but to engage their teams in a way that really drives change. So, we've recently developed a solution that uses a platform anchored by gamified principles and an adaptive learning engine. Every learner gets to go on their own journey. René Groeneveld: Let me ask you, Obi, [as] you also know the healthcare and the pharmaceutical world quite well — why is this topic hot, and why is digital learning hot in this environment? Obi Ochu: What we're beginning to see is digital learning continues to move at the speed of light, at the speed of now. What's new today is old tomorrow. You hear the features such as AI, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and machine learning continue to underpin most transformative journeys. However, features aside, digital learning is still about getting people from learning to doing faster and more effectively. It's about maximizing ROI through greater engagement. Ultimately, engagement and gamification continue to be two sides of the same coin. So, what we're hearing from our clients is: we are looking for role competence, we're looking for role confidence, and we're looking for sustained performance. How can you help us deliver that as a true partner, do it in a more cost effective manner? And of course, engagement —attrition rates are at an all time high. So, they're looking at the power of digital to reduce attrition rates. So, what does that mean? That means how can digital manipulate and reform a company's learning brand? How can we not only attract new talent, but how can we put our best foot forward when we are onboarding new talent? How can we create an experience that's memorable? How can we create an experience that ignites that mental shift within that new hire, that “I'm gonna view this as a career, not a job.” And it starts with the experience that you put them through in that onboarding process. And that's the true power of digital. Incorporating a human element René Groeneveld: How can our clients and how can BTS optimize such a digital blended learning strategy? Obi Ochu: A blended learning experience is the optimal learning experience. There's nothing that's ever going to replace that human touch. If you want to optimize training or learning — whether it's around leadership, whether it's around compliance, whether it's around sales, whether it's around how to clean your house — there has to be that human element. What digital does, it complements and supplements that human touch. Think of a learning experience: somebody is about to engage in an instructor-led session. How do you make sure that session is maximized? You have pre-work, and the best way to deliver that pre-work is through digital, because you can now assess where everybody's knowledge level is, you can assess what's a priority for each learner, you can assess what's important to them through a digital format, and you can communicate all that data to the instructor. And beyond that, what happens after the classroom? You want reinforcement. You wanna make sure all those skills and competencies are peak levels beyond that learning event. You wanna make sure the competencies are there 30, 60, 90 days after training. That's where digital comes in. But Rene, what happens after reinforcement? When it's the moment of truth, we've all been there, you're now in the field, you're now facing that customer. Well, digital can play a role there by providing a performance support, a buddy, call it a sales enablement tool, that sits in your hip pocket and you're able to access that and understand what you need to know in order to create that differentiation when you're communicating with your client. So beyond pre-work, beyond transfer of knowledge, beyond reinforcement, beyond performance support, digital can plug those holes needed to elevate that in-person training session. That's so critical in what we do as an organization. Inspiring, not legislating, engagement Alan Gentry: What are some keys to a great digital learning platform? Obi Ochu: Let's understand what your definition of success is as an organization. The definition of success for each organization are like fingerprints on your hand. They are so different. It doesn't matter if you're in the same industry. There are so many variables, internal and external, to your ecosystem. It's our job to understand those variables and chart a plan, a path that's clear, a path that's underpinned by recommendations, timelines, milestones, and cost. Once we've achieved that, some of the things you wanna focus on are scalability. We're starting with 1,000 people. What if we need to grow that to 10,000 people, 20,000 people, 100,000 people. Can that happen in a way that's thoughtful, effective, and in a way that considers all the cultural and geographical differences of a global organization? That answer needs to be yes. Another key is it needs to inspire engagement versus legislate engagement. We've all been there before, where training is a checkbox activity. Like, if you're not told to do it, you don't engage with that training. So what we try to do [is]: we try to make the training engaging so it inspires you to engage with the training, interact with the training, and view it as a companion that helps you perform at a higher level. And this sounds pretty simplistic, but Alan, it has to be fun. I know we're all parts of serious organizations but training needs to be fun. It needs to be something you want to do on a daily basis. And this is probably one of the most important ones, individuality. The key is for everybody to reach mastery at the same time. And that was a big, big aspect of what our clients were asking for: Can you provide adaptive learning? Can you provide a learning experience that attacks the individual gaps of each learner? Training has to be continuous, whether it's an instructor-led session, whether it's reinforcement, whether it's performance support, the thinking always has to be, "What comes after that?" Things evolve rapidly. Things change very quickly, whether it's legislation, whether it's innovation. So the training we provide has to evolve with the trajectory of the industry as well. And then, of course, data and metrics. You need those analytics to understand the effectiveness of the training, where to go next. You need the analytics to understand where you need to invest your money in order to elevate your organization to the next level. "[Digital learning needs to have] scalability; it has to be inspiring; it has to be fun and engaging. It needs to be individual, not just a one-time thing, but continuous; and data and metrics, and in the end, result-driven." -René Groeneveld Driving outcomes using digital learning for a multinational pharmaceutical organization René Groeneveld: If this is true for a great digital learning platform, can you both share a little bit how we created this approach with a multinational pharmaceutical customer? Alan, what are the outcomes the customer was looking for? Alan Gentry: Like a lot of companies, what they really came to us, they were trying to engage their customers differently. They needed to engage them around this customer-centric approach, but also, the customer now is being defined as the patient. How can we get our patients on medications faster? In order to do this, this customer was looking for an omnichannel approach — how you change those stellar behaviors was one of the things that I came to Obi [with] and presented him the challenge to overcome. And so, we then presented a new platform to this customer. But I'm gonna really let Obi dive in and talk a little bit more about the platform. Obi Ochu: One of the key challenges, as Alan just articulated, was the sales organization's inability to deliver an omnichannel approach. In addition, current training up, down, and across the entire organization was stale, dated, and failed to engage on an emotional level. So, they were looking for a partner to provide a global learning platform that made learning more engaging, that made learning fun, that made learning resonate with their employees across the entire organization. And what we were able to provide was a platform that accomplished these key things. They wanted a platform that was able to transfer core knowledge in multiple ways. They wanted a platform that was able to reinforce that core knowledge. So in 30, 60, 90 days, learners were able to recall that knowledge. They wanted a platform also that was able to provide performance support in the moment of need. But more importantly, they wanted a multi-modal platform. So what that meant, they wanted a platform that learners could access on their desktop, laptop, but more importantly, they wanted a solution where learners could access on their mobile device, so specifically a native app, so they could interact with the platform regardless of the availability of wifi or internet connectivity. Now, within the platform itself, we customized a dual experience. They wanted a prescriptive portal, so prescriptive in the sense where learning managers could prescribe a learning journey for each learner that they had to go through. And that learning journey could consist of a number of things: watching a video; going through a scenario; revising white papers; reading particular pieces of literature; or listening to a podcast. And then there were very customized inter-activities that followed way beyond simple multiple choice questions. We utilized interactivity such as drag and drop, click and reveal, sliders, and things of that nature to make it engaging. And then we have what we call a self-directed portal. A portal you the learner could go, we called it Disneyland, where the learner could kind of go and practice competencies that they were struggling with where they could engage in one-on-one coaching, they could engage in surveys, they could engage in games, and enjoy features like leaderboard, team leaderboards, individual leaderboards, and things of that nature to ensure that learning was sustained. These were some of the key features that the organization was looking for, but more importantly, analytics, analytics, analytics, data. They wanted to measure over 52 data points. And those data points range from anywhere to just the simple details of the program. How many people were involved, what were the skills we were trying to maximize, the things such as what resources are people touching, what levels of mastery are they reaching? How long is it taking a learner from the day they log into the platform to when they complete it, how long is it taking to master a particular competency? So basically, they had over 52 metric points. We built the dashboards, we were able to connect those dashboards with our CRM system, which was critical, because it's important to tie retention and it's important to tie the platform, the analytics produced by the platform, to performance. And we were able to see an increased rate in retention and we're able to correlate that to performance. René Groeneveld: Now those are awesome, great outcomes: being more data driven, as far as the analytics piece. Increasing employee engagement, critical in today's world. Integrating learning and work, so that we're not disrupting the workflow on a day-to-day basis. And then, I think, the most important one that we've seen is really that improving the time to competency. In some cases, we've seen it go from 13 months to seven months. Anything else come to mind, Obi, as far as other metrics that companies might be able to see by using an approach like this? Obi Ochu: Absolutely, and I can use this particular organization as an example. In addition, obviously, increased levels of learning engagement. During our discovery phase, we were able to capture levels of engagement. That number more than doubled post implementation of this platform on a consistent level. The one that really surprised us was engagement outside office hours. We're seeing lower rates of attrition with some other clients, because again, we were able to reform the learning brand. We were able to communicate to new hires. "Wow, this is a company I wanna be with." And, of course, we're able to see an increased ability to communicate differentiation at each point of client contact. Healthcare professionals are being bombarded with everybody under the sun in terms of why they should go with my company, or this company, or that company. And we quickly realized, HCPs are viewing companies in the life science industry as a commodity because they're all coming with the same message. There's no differentiation. So, what we were trying to do was create a situation where the learners could communicate value through scenarios, through understanding what's important to the HCPs, through role playing, through real time support, and the platform was able to deliver that in spades. Three takeaways René Groeneveld: Well, thank you so much, Obi. There was so much in this and it's all about value, it's about making value personal. Our listeners might have additional questions, of course. So if you want to follow up, feel free to reach out to Obi, Alan, or me. Contact us on LinkedIn, contact any of our BTS offices. But Obi, I don't wanna leave our listeners without the three golden tips at the end. So what are the three things, in a nutshell, you want everyone in this podcast to walk away with? Obi Ochu: Critically important not to just go with what's hot. It's important to first distill and filter what your definition of success is as an organization. Make a move because you've clearly articulated what your definition of success is. And then, the third thing is the importance of design. It's taking number one and two and creating a design document. That design document will articulate what your solution would look like from end to end, and that's what you can socialize internally and gain alignment. And that aligns expectation with effort and minimizes mistakes and makes sure your budget aligns with what you're going to expect at the end of the engagement. René Groeneveld: Alan, Obi, it was an honor. Thank you so much for taking the time today. And dear listeners, that's the end of our podcast today, but stay tuned. Show notes Learn more about our digital learning services here. Find this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Vimeo.
Jul 18, 2023
In the next episode of The Growth Prescription, René Groeneveld and Alan Gentry host Becky Thomas, Head of 1:1 Leadership Coaching for North America, in a discussion about what makes the difference between rote feedback and genuinely inspiring sales coaching. Spacer About the show The Fearless Thinkers podcast, hosted by Rick Cheatham and Masami Cookson, personalizes BTS's perspective on the people side of strategy. Fearless Thinkers is produced by Gloria Breck and Aron Towner. Special thanks to Joe Holeman, Chris Goodnow, Meghan McGrath, and Roanne Neuwirth for their invaluable help. Show notes Learn more about our go-to-market and leadership coaching services. Find this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Vimeo.