Joe Robinson, SVP, Health Systems Solutions, Philips Healthcare N.A.
Gary Tubridy: Hello, this is Gary Tubridy, senior vice president with the Alexander Group, and I am here with Joe Robinson, senior vice president of Health Systems Solutions at Philips North America. Joe, great to have you here. Thank you for coming in and chatting with us.
Joe Robinson: My pleasure.
GT: Tell me about Philips? It is a big iconic company, but it has undergone some change recently in terms of its transformation to a pure health technology company.
JR: Yes. Absolutely, Gary, it feels for many, even many people at Phillips, that the change has just recently occurred. When, in fact, when I joined Phillips in ’99, we started on the change road. We had begun to consolidate 180 different companies. That had already started to boil it down into sectors, and we had already made a significant acquisition in health care. Over the last 17-18 years, it has been this journey of acquisition and divestiture and continued reinvestment in health care businesses, primarily, and a little bit in lighting. About two years ago, we took the final step and the final decision, to consolidate consumer and health care into a health and wellness business, and the standup lighting as a separate company. Now, we are 100-percent all in completely focused on health care.
GT: When you are selling technologies solutions in the health care arena, you expand the customer base from physicians, who are still important, to other individuals that are making economic decisions, government policy decisions, and the like. Could you comment on the expansion of the customer base?
JR: The customers today, especially with the dynamics happening in the marketplace, do not have the exact same days. Customers today, do not have a problem knowing where to go to buy the next MRI, or the next CT scanner. They have a problem to solve how do they increase productivity and improve outcomes, at the same time. As we all listen to in the news, health care costs continue to escalate, their reimbursements continue to go down. They have to solve specific problems about how they stay afloat in a very dynamic environment. Instead of a profit center, in some of these areas, we now have areas that have to produce income to keep the rest of the organization afloat. Instead of products, it is solutions.
GT: How has that changed the look and feel of your sales organization and the sellers that make it up?
JR: The sales organization has begun to migrate as well. Here is the interesting and tricky part, and what makes work fun every day when you get out of bed. We have a market that has not completely changed with the flip of a switch. We have different dynamics happening in different parts of the country. As a result, there is plenty of transactional buying going on every day. At the same time, their customers are consolidating and trying to figure out how to handle this consolidation, and some are looking for partners.
GT: Traditional buying has not gone away.
JR: No. That is absolutely right.
GT: We have added complexity, so there are different sales motions that we have to layer into our sales organization to cover these new buyers and what they demand.
JR: Yes. We do. If you don’t, you are going to lose a customer at the end of the day. If you take that one step further, maybe it is a step back, what it really boils down to, for anybody that has sold for a long time, is how do you listen well to your customers? As you are listening, not just thinking about the next transaction, but, thinking about everything they are saying. What is the problem I can identify? How do I bring a solution to them that may include some of these other things? It could mean that I have to talk to another two or three constituent departments in the hospital that I never had to call on before.
GT: You hear this term non-linear sales processes, you hear it a lot in technology. It sounds like it is alive and well in health care as well?
JR: Yes. It is an ecosystem, and you have to be working the entire ecosystem. You have to become, really, a valued consultant and partner with the customer, and when you do that, you will be rewarded with the opportunity to solve a problem.
GT: You mentioned the emergence of the IT decision maker, which is kind of interesting because that connectivity could be the next big window into the health care revolution.
JR: What I will tell you is that connectivity was a big deal starting about 20 years ago. What is the big deal now, is analytics. Analytics, and actionable analytics. Twenty years ago, it was connectivity. Ten years ago, it was data. Everybody was talking about data. Now, people are drowning in data. What do you do with the data? How do you analyze the data effectively, but not just analyze it in the charts, how do you make it actionable and actionable quickly?
GT: That sounds like a great platform with which you can add a lot of value in the years to come, Joe.
JR: Absolutely. It is what makes the job fun.
GT: Joe, thanks for joining us. Great story. Really appreciate your time.
JR: Great. Thank you, Gary.
GT: Thank you.