Dedicated to business improvement

Interview with Oscar de Weijer | Executive- Sales and Business Development, Healthbridge

Source: ThinkSales Mangazine February- April 2016

What is your approach to sales leadership? 
Tough times place healthcare practices under increasing pressure. If we cannot add value for our clients by helping them run better businesses and become more profitable, we should not be in business. That approach led us to develop our sales team – through a cultural change process – into practice management consultants who add true value for our customers. They now provide the insight, expertise and tools our customers need to more effectively manage the financial and operational sides of their practices. It’s a journey that takes time. Over two years we have invested in the growth and development of our people, which has helped us outperform our competitors.

What has enabled your team to succeed? 
You can have the best product or software in the world, but without a support and distribution model, you cannot deploy. How you plan to get your product in the hands of your customers is critical. We looked outwardly and established partnerships with software developers who complement our deployment expertise and are our marketing intermediaries. That’s had a multiplier effect on our own business, and has proved to be more valuable than merely growing the size of the sales team.

What’s your greatest sales learning? 
Sales is not an event, but a culmination of a product and service strategy over time. Over the past 24 months, a big chunk of my role has been to develop our business, and that of our customers – by entering into agreements with software companies. Along the way, we had to cancel three existing contracts. While initially disappointing, from a strategic point of view, it was the right thing to do. It’s a process that has highlighted the complex and necessary link between sales and overall company strategy.

What business lessons have you learnt from colleagues? 
There is no such thing as a bad client. The question is whether your business model matches their needs. If it does not, you have to either modify it or walk away.

What is the best advice you have ever received about sales management? 
Market segmentation is critical. But few companies do it well. Doing business in Europe I learned that cities and towns which are spaced only a few kilometers apart can be vastly different, culturally and economically. With so many nuances in the market, the sales organisation needs to build a sophisticated internal segmentation system that is specific to its own users and products.

What is the best business advice you ever received? 
Don’t ignore the market at the bottom of the pyramid. When a business retreats from low-margin clients, you create the space for low-margin competitors to step in and start eating up your market share from below. Some of the fastest growing new markets and entrepreneurial opportunities are to be found in developing countries where the demand for services by poorer people is high.

What motivates you every day about your business? 
Identifying meaning in your work is key. For us, we are dedicated to changing the medical industry and improving people’s lives through the democratisation of information. The ability to make a difference in healthcare, which is one of this country’s most pressing needs, gives me and my team a good feeling. We need to help practices remain profitable so that doctors and other medical professionals are motivated to remain in the country and provide care for our nation.

By Monique Verduyn

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