Warren Stone, SVP, Research & Applied Solutions N.A. at MilliporeSigma tells us that even in formerly staid industries, including his own life sciences, the world is changing.

In life sciences, “the speed of change has increased four times.” According to Stone, “Agile customers visit the internet about 95% of the time before engaging a seller in the dialog.” Thus, sellers have no chance to shape opportunities when their wisdom could provide real value. This means companies must leverage digital media to start an early dialog with customers then seamlessly transition to personal sales (and access to deep expertise) at precisely the right time. Point: marketing, sales and digital technology must fuse together and act as one.

In such a world there are two revenue leadership mandates:

1. Build a customer-driven ecosystem.

In 2015, MilliporeSigma moved from a product-centric sales model to a customer-centric service model. This produced positive impact in two areas:

  • 18% increase in average order size
  • 9% reduction in customer churn

With this model in place, the company was ready to create a more integrated marketing and sales team. This alignment was achieved in 2017 and delivered improvement in three key areas:

  • Helped shorten the buyer decision-making time frame
  • Led to a five times increase in the rate of adoption and redemption
  • Increased revenue from “long-tail accounts” by anywhere from 1 to 4%

2. Invest in digital technology to enable the customer-driven ecosystem.

MilliporeSigma is driven to be a life sciences and technology company. This is an investment priority of their chairman who believes, “if we want to survive and deliver life science breakthroughs, we need to work on this, with urgency.” Such urgency is manifested in three important ways:

a) In 2017 MilliporeSigma started a Digital Incubator. They took 18 people out of sales and empowered them to explore which digital tools (and there were a lot) might help them improve the selling process. They gave this team several important mandates:

  • Break every rule; there are no prohibitions
  • Test anything you want; you have permission to try, fail and try again
  • Select the best tools available for further testing, iteration and optimization

Thus, when IT got involved, they focused on tailoring a tight list of tools which had been given the field sales “seal of approval.”

b) In 2018 MilliporeSigma rolled out new digital tools to a team of 38 in North America, after which the tools went global. These tools enabled:

  • Integrated customer data sets–360 degree customer views, one source of truth
  • Integrated web activity and behavioral insights into a single place
  • Better sales team call preparation with real-time information
  • Better mapping of the buyer journey

c) On the horizon: AI tools to identify customer ordering patterns, better mobile apps for field sellers and improved leverage of digital to create an omni-channel experience for customers.


  • Unique and easily accessible value is critical. Sophisticated customers demand it. If you aren’t providing the right value at the right time, customer will go somewhere else.
  • Technology enables value. It can create opportunities to better understand your customers from the inside out. It enables fast and efficient value delivery. And it can enable greater flexibility and adaptability. But do not mistake technology for value itself; it is just the enabler.
  • Today’s revenue organization (indeed the whole company) must embrace change. As Stone put it, “If your culture does not embrace change, you can never win.” Make your ability to adapt and change rapidly part of your value proposition to both customers and talent.

Discover more about the Alexander Group Leadership Events. Or contact our events team to secure your spot at the 2019 Leadership Series.

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