Burning Questions + Answers

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Q. As a Corporate/National Accounts person, how can I be more successful in the IDN/GPO contracting world?
A. You are responsible for your own success.  The essence of marketing is to find the way around barriers. Keep opening doors.  Get personal referrals and introductions. Stop making one-off sales calls. Push for strategy and consistency.


Q. In regard to channel friction, is it getting worse? Are GPOs getting adversarial?
A. Consolidation at all levels across our industry is intensifying competition and innovations are more disruptive than ever.  Technology will forever change the nature of all work. All segments are grappling with relevance to varying degrees and that puts people and companies on edge; I would not single out GPOs in particular.


Q. How do suppliers navigate duplicative channels?  (think of Dignity, Ascension, Northwell, etc.) They are shareholders of GPOs, members of RPCs, direct contract, self-distribute AND want suppliers to be low-cost suppliers. Is this tenable?
A. There are dozens of ways I can purchase a ticket on an airline or buy a book.  At the end of the day, your product and/or service has to have a unique and well thought out value proposition.  Hyper-competition is here to stay and companies must be relentless about being competitive. There will always be inefficiencies in less than perfect markets.  That said, there is room for great improvement. Have you studied Medline lately?


Q. What is the future of contracting? GPOs, IDNs, RPCs? What you see in my crystal ball?
A. Buyers should abrogate contracting for pure commodities to the most efficient vehicle.  Too much time and effort is being spent on redundant activities and VAC processes and meetings.  5000+ hospitals should not be worrying about purchasing and contracting for pure commodity products.

Supplier and provider consolidation will make big winners and big losers…as a supplier, you cannot afford to be outside looking in.  Providers will struggle with consolidation as market and technology move care to alternate locations. Additionally, some systems will become dis-economic and struggle with large overhead costs.

Tax status of not-for-profits will continue to be under close scrutiny from local, state and national taxing authorities.

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Why Leadership’s Failing XI

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Leadership is failing in part due to the lack of supervision and mentoring that managers and leaders receive. When companies put managers and leaders into supervisory roles, they must invest time and resources to train and coach their managers and leaders. Many managers are evaluated by their direct line supervisor but the supervisor has never actually seen how the employee manages his or her team or direct reports.  Companies do a much better job of monitoring and evaluating and coaching the field sales team and the sales management than they do for other managers in the organization.

 

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Why Leadership’s Failing X

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I have always been amazed at senior leaders lack of enthusiasm for the customer.  Frankly, I know some that really don’t care about the customers. More often than not, actions speak louder than words. As a leader, I have been to many a trade show and I knew my peers from competing organizations were also in attendance, but many of them were behind closed doors, rather than meeting with customers on the exhibit floor.  Why did I work the exhibits alongside my commercial team? Support the team….see the customer and send a message. There is more than enough time when the exhibits are closed to conduct personal business.

After all, if you believe Peter Drucker:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

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