Trilogy Tidings
July 2008
in this issue
     In addition to opening a new office, over the last few months we assisted a client in developing new customers (and thereby increasing sales potential) within existing accounts.  This got me thinking about the wonderful opportunities presented by this tactic: a great way to expand your business with greater ease than developing new accounts.  If you're in the business of selling products to hospitals, my thoughts may remind you how to approach such an initiative.  If you're not, you can skip this installment -- OR you just might find that the same principles apply to your business (although my examples will not be terribly relevant).
     I provided our new postal address last month, but we now have a new landline phone number.  Please check out our new Contact Information and update your records.  And, if you have colleagues in the Research Triangle, please consider letting them know of a new local resource available for growing their business!
A Few Examples 


     To set the stage, consider two common situations, one dealing with clinical diagnostics and the other with medical devices.  It is widely appreciated that in vitro diagnostics continues to migrate from the lab to the bedside, albeit with many fits and starts over the last two decades.  What many in the IVD industry failed to appreciate early on were the vast differences between the needs of the laboratorian and the clinician.  In large measure both user communities reside in hospitals, but they need different things from, and have different expectations of, a diagnostic test.  But surely, and eventually, IVD suppliers have learned to exploit their lab strengths to penetrate point-of-care sites.
     As a second example consider catheters of various kinds.  A supplier can be focused on serving the needs of nurses, surgeons, interventionalists, cardiologists, intensivists or diagnostic radiologists initially.  Yet many catheter makers have successfully leveraged their positions in one specialty to ultimately address many of these audiences by various means.
     The reason to branch out is obvious: sales growth.  The mechanisms for doing so are numerous, but a few basic principles are in play.

Thoughts to share?
Listen, Learn and Respond  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     Marketing 101: Understand the needs of each class of user, their performance requirements, their personal preferences, their hands-on techniques and constraints, and their economic motivations.  You do this with in-depth dialogs until you come to really understand them and what they're up against on a daily basis.  Then you respond by fine tuning your message and/or, more likely, altering your product and its procedural approach in the clinic.  Sometimes you'll need to start over with a completely new product concept  (think iPod).  Voila - you then have a new customer!

Thoughts to share?
Organizational and Human Elements  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     I have erred every time I neglected these critical, interpersonal factors.  Revelation: clinical folks are people, and they respond to their organizational environments and their work mates just like everyone else.  "Office politics" is rampant in healthcare, turf battles abound, economic pressures from revenue and cost expectations can be severe in some institutions today.  Then we overlay these common dynamics with another unique one - the need to provide capable patient care and avoid screwing up.  Nurses and docs have different priorities and perspectives.  Surgeons and interventionalists compete with great intensity, even as they deny doing so.  Clinicians and administrators vie for influence.  These "softer" elements (an inaccurate descriptor for sure) are always very important in attempting to move from serving one class of clinical users to another.  But the results are almost always worth the effort.
Call Points  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     One more basic principle needs to be mentioned because it is pragmatically critical and generally expensive.  Your selling force must be able to leverage its existing relationships with one user class to establish new relationships of comparable trust and competence with another class.  Easier said than done, and certainly much easier to accomplish with a highly motivated (i.e. appropriately compensated) direct-sales team than with an unfocused collection of independent reps.  In the simplest of terms, developing new clinical relationships costs money.  Your selling force must already know the history of internecine relationships among groups in the hospital or be able to learn it quickly so as to sort through the biases that must be faced.
What does Trilogy do? 
     Trilogy Associates facilitates business growth and renewal through commercialization of new products, providing the following services:
  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business planning and enterprise growth strategies
  • New-product conceptualization, commercialization and marketing
  • Market research and competitive assessment
  • Business development and partnering
  • Market and technological due diligence
  • Assessment of the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of novel technologies
  • Design of efficient and effective development strategies for early-stage biomedical products
  • Business and technical writing/publishing

     Inquiries to establish whether and how we might support your business initiatives are always welcome.  Contact us.

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Contact Information
ContactInfoJoseph J. Kalinowski, Principal