Thoughts from a former Head of Sales working with Life Science research instruments

Kristoffer Gustafsson, Monocl Software’s Chief Operating Officer, reflects on his past experiences in his role as Sales Manager for a Life Science research instrument company.

Prior to joining Monocl Software in 2015, I worked for several years as the Head of Sales for a company selling research instruments primarily to academic research groups. At Monocl, I have applied this experience and tried to channel this experience into useful features to assist the everyday sales process for instrument suppliers and labtech companies. In this post, I reflect back on various aspects of the sales work I used to do as a Head of Sales and how many of my sales activities would have been assisted by having a tool like Monocl at my disposal.

Network-based sales

Some of your customers will always love your products a bit more than others and these customers often grow into important spokespersons for your products. The way we typically worked was to ensure that in connection to every new product installation, we made sure to set aside time with the department head to see if he or she could recommend any other researchers that would benefit from using our equipment. Even though this was a fairly successful strategy, the department head typically only came up with a few of names from the back of his mind.

Had we had access to a proper sales analytics software (like the one I am part working on today), we could have easily brought up a list of all the people the dept head had collaborated with during his full career. Using that information, it would have been simple to sit down and go through them one by one and validate the most relevant ones with the dept head in a single meeting. At that meeting we could also have asked for a personal introduction, especially in those cases where the relationship with the dept head was good. As most of you working with sales know, introductions by referrals are often worth more than hundreds of cold calls. I am convinced that such an approach would have increased our sales drastically, both using our own network and the network of our customers.

Lead generation

As a way of expanding the potential customer base we would typically on a monthly basis to produce application notes. These notes were a two-pager illustrating how our instruments could be used to solve a specific problem for our users. In order to promote these application notes, we had monthly sales campaigns where we contacted new researchers active within a specific field where that new application note was relevant.

Finding relevant research who are currently active in specific application fields is not a straight forward process. This is why we have built Monocl to quickly provide you with leads, often within highly niched research fields. You are also able to quickly understand if this is just an area they have stumbled into once or twice or if it actually is a continuous focus for their research. Another great feature is that we could have used such a software already in the planning process of the application notes. This would have enabled us to get a quick estimation of how many individual researchers and research groups there were out there and working with the specific problem which our products could address.

Working with distributors

As I worked at a fairly small company, we used a number of distributors to establish local presence in different geographical markets. When building up the network of distributors, I would have found a specific feature in Monocl EGO particularly useful and that is the ability to see which other equipment researchers who are using your type of equipment also have in their lab. In the tool, you may for example get quantitative data supporting that people working with FTIR spectroscopy is also to a high extent working with magnetic resonance spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. This information is very useful and it would have helped me evaluate if our instruments would have been a good fit in the distributors existing product portfolio. The better the fit, the more valuable the distributor’s contacts and network in that specific geographical region would have been for us.

In order to keep distributors motivated, we sent them lists of potential leads once a month within their geographical scope to approach. This is also a task that would have been assisted with a sales analytics software as these geographical regions were markets we per definition did not know that much about.

Conference preparation

During my years as Head of Sales, I went to an endless number of conferences as exhibitor and for some reason these had a tendency of coming up very quickly each time. All of a sudden, it was merely two weeks until the conference start date and you have to do all the preparation ASAP. Instead of browsing through the speaker schedule looking for familiar names, I would have liked to be able to see which of the speakers were actually working within an area relevant for my instruments. This is a key reason why we have worked hard at Monocl to facilitate the conference planning process. I would have liked to immediately have access to contact information and what research potential leads had done both recently and in the past as this is great information to have at your disposal when setting up an introductory meeting.

These are just some of the instances in everyday work in which a sales analytics software like Monocl would have been really useful. If you would like to discuss how Monocl could be applied to improve your sales processes, just shoot me an email.

All the best,

Kristoffer Gustafsson

kristoffer.gustafsson@monocl.com