Consilient Health’s Ian Sampson on the importance of traditional sales skills in an evolving digital landscape.

 

More than ever, we are adopting new and innovative ways to communicate, and pharma is no different. Whilst traditional sales skills are just as relevant as they once were, it’s increasingly important for industry to strike the right balance between new technologies and customer needs. Maintaining its strong focus on partnerships and sales teams, we talk to Consilient Health about how they are driving innovative solutions for patients.

Ian, tell us a little about what you do and who Consilient Health are?

I am the UK Bone Health Franchise Manager which means that I look after all of the products that we either market or are in development within the therapeutic area of Bone Health. I joined Consilient Health five years ago to set up the Bone Health franchise during which time the company has grown from around 30 people to well over 100. The bone health franchise has gone from pre-launch to delivering revenues of over £3M this year which has been driven by having a clear and relevant proposition for our products, supported by a multi-faceted sales team. Consilient Health are focused on commercialising products that deliver value to the NHS.

Is the traditional role of the salesperson still relevant?

Absolutely it is still relevant. We sometimes make the mistake of believing that the whole healthcare system has become automated and overlook the fact that individual prescribers are discrete decision makers that operate within a healthcare system structure. Whilst the role of the salesperson has definitely changed and evolved over the years, there is still a place for the salesperson as long as they can deliver value to the customer through their interactions. That value can take many different forms, whether it be providing clinical information about a product or simply making a customer aware of changes to local guidance.

How do you balance traditional sales skills with evolving technology and customer needs?

The only way of ensuring that you achieve the right balance is to ensure that first and foremost, you are delivering an interaction that is of value to the customer. Customer needs haven’t changed as much as we might think, in that mainly what they are looking for is reliable, trusted information to enable them to make informed prescribing choices. What has changed is how they access that information. Technology provides different ways of facilitating that interaction that means that the sales person does not always need to be in the same building or there at all.

How are you investing in your sales teams?

Our sales team is still our single biggest investment in our promotional mix. As part of the ambitious growth plans at Consilient Health, and to ensure that we are not just match fit for today but ready for the future, we have recently undertaken a major project focussing on our people. This will ensure that not only are our people provided with the skills training to perform at the highest level but have a clear development pathway that fits within the core Consilient Health values framework.

How do partnerships help you to build on creating innovative solutions for patient health?

Strong partnerships are the core of our business. If we are going to commercialise a product effectively then we need to have strong partnerships with our suppliers, so that not only can we ensure a consistent supply chain but that the suppliers trust us with their products. Partnerships with our customers enable us to gain a greater insight and understanding as to what the current and future market needs are. This then allows us to work in partnership with current and future developers and suppliers to develop new and innovative solutions for patient health. Our partnerships are built on trust and transparency and ultimately by us delivering on our promises.

What does the future hold for Consilient Health?

We have ambitious growth plans and have made significant investments recently in our business development teams to ensure that we can deliver on those plans. Being focused on commercialising products means that we are not tied in to a long research and development pipeline where the needs of the market have changed by the time a product is ready for launch. That agility means we have to be open-minded, quick to analyse and react, which ensures that we are delivering the right products to our customers. As you would expect we have a number of products in that process at the moment which we are very excited about; watch this space…

Ian Sampson is Franchise Manager at Consilient Health. Go to consilienthealth.com