Commercial leaders in the Life Sciences & Analytical Instruments industry explored four key topics during a recent Alexander Group Virtual Roundtable on industry predictions and driving growth:
Participants shared their perspectives while Alexander Group practice leads provided context from recent client work and research.
A slowing global economy was cited as a key growth disruptor when planning for a potential recession. For example, several participants cited potential weakness in the China market as a key concern, now further compounded by the recent coronavirus outbreak. Additional concerns include risks of other exogenous events such as the U.S. presidential election and Brexit fallout as possible contributors to overall slowing in economic growth in 2020 to 2021. These factors are driving leaders to focus on finding and investing in the highest ROI go-to-customer model initiatives, particularly core commercial model elements such as channel optimization, effective resource deployment, expanding sales capacity and right-sizing quotas. Digital investments are proven recession-proof tools as companies benefit from e-commerce portals, omnichannel execution, shifts to lower-cost digital resources, and 24×7 digital customer engagement.
Leaders debated the merits of dedicated specialist sales reps that can drive product or market focus vs. leveraging specialized overlay application-focused specialists to assist customers with application and workflow knowledge. The group cited several key factors that influence the decisions around specialization: company growth stage, technical expertise required early in the sales process, degree of dissimilarity between new products and other products, and degree of post-sales support required. One leader shared the perspective that dedicated teams tend to prove more successful for the first 2-3 years or until the product(s) can be “mainstreamed” into the core go-to-customer model. Key to determining the right solution is assessing the need for focus and/or technical depth and aligning the right resources accordingly.
Many consider the field application scientist/specialist (FAS) role as the key customer success job in the commercial model. Some companies have built robust post-sale offerings (including technical resource time, training, etc.) and have monetized them accordingly. Digital again came up here as key to supporting FAS resources to achieve customer success–through video, virtual reality tools, virtual demos, and online universities, to name a few.
Finally, the group investigated the topic of sales operations evolving into revenue operations and commercial operations. Leaders discussed various combinations of marketing, sales and service operations to drive greater leverage, better processes and a higher concentration of talent and skillsets within operations. Leaders cited key revenue operations priorities as productivity gains and margin increases, along with sales management development through robust training and coaching models. Analytics as a core function also plays a critical role in the revenue operations equation. When Analytics is structured correctly within revenue operations, it serves as a key productivity driver in many ways, such as to help marketing with targeting efforts, to point sellers to the right opportunities at the right times, and to enable proactive instrument service based on real-time data.
Achieving your 2020 growth plan will clearly require continued evolution and strong execution through a highly tuned commercial organization. To learn more about the topics discussed in our recent Virtual Roundtable or discuss your revenue growth opportunities and challenges, contact The Alexander Group to schedule a briefing.
Life Sciences: 2020 Revenue Growth Initiatives
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Life Sciences Revenue Leaders—Prepare for Growth in 2020