From Downturn to Turnaround

Sean Moran

Michael Gavin, President and CEO at Injured Workers Pharmacy, explains how commercial effectiveness initiatives developed in collaboration with ZS strengthened field sales execution and helped recapture the company’s leading market share.

Injured Workers Pharmacy (IWP) is a private-equity owned specialty pharmacy providing home delivery of prescription medicines to people suffering from work-related injuries. IWP had been seeing a decline in its leading market share and sought to reverse that trend. They identified consistent sales execution as a growth opportunity.

Michael Gavin: One of the things I heard from the field sales force—and this sounds like a wonderful thing—was that each individual salesperson felt like they were the CEO of their own territory. But the practical implication of having a field sales force where everybody feels like they're the CEO of their own territory is there is a lack of consistency. There's a lack of consistency in approach, in value proposition, delivery, the way they thought about the customer base, the way they manage relationships, the way they thought about goals and the way they thought about quota setting. And that lack of consistency I think was more challenging than any of us had anticipated.

Q: What did you believe needed to change about your existing sales process?
Michael Gavin: One of the assumptions that I had made from the outset was that a consistent systemic approach to the market on the part of our sales team would be superior to the sort of “I'm the CEO of my own territory” approach. We wanted to test things like the alignment of the compensation plan, whether or not we could effectively segment the customer base in a way that would influence growth and profitability. These are things that we had a gut feeling that they were going to work but we had never tested them before, and we didn't really have a methodology for going about testing those things. We had to reorient the sales force around the concept of quality interactions with our customers, spending more time preparing for those interactions, and maybe being willing to have fewer customer interactions but of a much higher quality.

Q: What has been the impact of your work with ZS?
Michael Gavin: The impact of the project has been significant across a host of measures. I look at the six-month period post-implementation; I look to see where we were at the beginning of that and where we ended that first six months. The company has brought on over 170 new customers. Our gross profit per sales professional is up 32% over that time period. The data tells me that what we're doing is working.

Q: What did you appreciate most about partnering with ZS on this project?
Michael Gavin: I think I was most impressed with the fact that the ZS team, while it was appropriately resourced, seemed bigger than it was. ZS was sort of ever-present during the implementation phase to make sure that we weren't sort of progressing to the mean, that we weren't falling back on old habits, that we were taking new tools and actually doing new things with them, to make sure that we were driving these new tools into the sales force in a way that would really change behaviors in our field-based sales force. That, I think, was perhaps the most important part of the work we did together.

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