Executive Interview – Philips – Greg Nesbitt

Greg Nesbitt, VP Sales, Philips Healthcare

Video Transcript:

Gary Tubridy: I am with Greg Nesbitt, Vice President of Sales with Philips Healthcare. Greg, thanks for joining us.

Greg Nesbitt: Absolutely.

GT: Great to have you here. I thought it might be good to just start off with a little bit of background. Tell me about Philips Healthcare and a little bit about your role there.

GN: Certainly. Philips Healthcare is a global health care company. Philips is a part of Royal Dutch Philips which is also in the consumer and lighting business, the largest lighting company in the world and a very well-known consumer brand. Healthcare is the largest portion of the Philips portfolio and also the most profitable portion.

GT: Vice President of Sales; that has changed a little bit in the last year or so. Tell us about that change and some of the thinking behind the role.

GN: There has been an evolution. My previous role was Vice President of Sales in the southern U.S. I had responsibility for a product line, for imaging systems for Philips Healthcare. Philips Healthcare is in a very broad portfolio of health care businesses and so the change that we made is we moved from a product focus channel to a solutions focus channel, therefore, consolidating all of the Philips Healthcare businesses under a single sales channel. The way my role changed is I went from a focus within our imaging systems business to a more global health care focus which allowed my team to approach our customers with a global health care perspective and enterprise perspective and not so much a product perspective.

GT: One seller representing multiple products at this point.

GN: Well, we do is what we call the account executive level; we have a single seller who will approach a health system representing our global portfolio. Now, we have maintained specialization at the local level, at the clinical level. Physicians, clinicians need to have their needs attended to and we need deep expertise at the clinical level and we have maintained that in the form of account managers. Our account executives which call on the higher levels of the institution or the health system, really do not have a product focus at all.

GT: That is not an area where health care companies have traditionally called, but are increasingly calling. Tell me a little bit about that customer and what sort of value they are looking for.

GN: Our customers are facing unprecedented challenges especially here in the U.S. in the health care space. Their world has been changed dramatically as a result of health care reform. They are seeing more risk shifted to them in terms of the quality of the care they provide. They are also seeing their reimbursements or payments for their services affected and actually quite dramatically reduced as a result of a lot of the changes happening with health care reform. Additionally, even private insurers, we see people in private plans taking more responsibility for their own health care through higher co-pays, higher deductibles, so there is more consumerism at the patient level that our health care customers have to respond to.

GT: You are giving them a different and higher level of value through bringing the organization together than you were able to do in the past.

GN: We are. Traditionally, it was a very clinical product focus value proposition and when money was not an issue for health care providers that worked well. That worked fine for clinicians got the technology and products that suited their individual needs and it was not an issue. As health care providers now begin to in essence streamline and industrialize health care, the need for standardization and consistency is extremely important and the need to bring cost out of process, not necessarily just the individual piece of equipment, but cost out of the process of caring for patients has become more important. What we found is that at the senior executive level, they are more open to new ideas than we have ever experienced in the past. It has given us an opportunity to look at the specific challenges they have and then look at how we might leverage our portfolio of products and solutions that solve that challenge.

GT: This whole idea of delivering value to customers as opposed to delivering products with part numbers is a different kind of a culture in an organization that is customer centric as opposed to product centric. Any comments on what it took change the culture of Philips Healthcare in that direction?

GN: It is and it took some work to do that. The change management component of this cannot be underestimated. As we look at how we inspire the team to move away from products and technology, which quite frankly they love and they enjoyed, and into a mode where they are focused on their customers’ success through the solutions we provide, it allows us to draw a much clearer line between what we do and actually the way health care is delivered in this country. It helps us draw a much more clear line between what we do and how we improve the quality of patients’ lives or reduce the cost of health care in this country.

GT: When you are bringing organizations together serving new customers with new value propositions, you are asking a lot of your sales team and your sales management team. Are there some things you have done to help them step up to this new job?

GN: Yes, I would say the biggest component of that is really being very rigorous about the training. We are asking people to move into a space where they perhaps were an expert in our industry and may be an expert with our technology, but that expertise is not what is going to translate into what we are doing today. Rigorous training around the business of health care and the economics of health care and the health care delivery system in the U.S. so that our sales force and sales leaders understand our customers’ business from our customers’ perspective.

GT: Greg, thanks for joining us and thanks for sharing your story with us. It is a very exciting one and we wish you a lot of luck in the future.

GN: Gary, it is my pleasure. Thank you.

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