In 2009, one of the world’s largest pharma companies acquired a cancer treatment drug for $800 million. After four years under the host’s brand, sales were stagnant and figures suggested that it could take as many as 530 years to break even. Two previous innovation efforts had also failed to yield any results or real insights.
AfCE Corporate Startup Accelerator encouraged the team to take a step back from day-to-day sales work, and assess the product as a new potential business model that they wanted to pursue. It soon became apparent that there were more assumptions than knowledge in the treatment’s business model, so a process of lean experimentation driven by the team ensued. Soon after, a cold reality set in. The assumptions, which the financial success of the business model had been based upon, were invalid and this was the first time the team had any real proof of that. Ultimately, the answer was to divest the product.
Often when corporates acquire, merge or partner, the analysis and due diligence is financial forecast based. The biggest learning for this team was that their employer should not have acquired the treatment in the first place, and this could have been proven within a part-time twelve week intrapreneurship program – saving the organization significant investment.
A team within a large healthcare company believed that the way clinical trials were managed and conducted was largely out of date, damaging the quality of trials and costing the organization millions of pounds. Typically only 10% of trials were completed on time, and many of the mistakes due to the use of manual processes which impacted the quality of trial results. For one trial, more than 20,000 queries to support staff had to be made as coordinators had no easy way to find the missing information themselves.
The team saw potential to digitise the clinical trial process but knew it would be hard to challenge the status quo. They zoomed in on local Study Coordinators and Principal Investigators as influential early adopters, who shared their biggest pain points around mistakes made, recruiting patients, relationships and scheduling with patients, as well as compliance issues. The team managed to get 58% of their clinical trial patients into the app to jointly test proposed features within two week sprint cycles. From almost 40 features, they managed to develop eight sticky features that ensured high engagement with the app, achieving a 92 Net Promoter Score. The use of the app promised to save the organization 140 million pounds annually by saving time and increasing the quality of clinical trial outcomes.
The team were bold enough to challenge a long-standing and traditional process. However, their pragmatic approach, collecting evidence every step of the way, helped facilitate the change. As the team like to say: “If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything”.
Sales Engineers at an international producer of more than 3,000 oil based products are relied on to advise the best product to their trade customers. However, engineers tended to recommend only the handful of products they knew well, meaning that the customer didn’t benefit from access to the full range.
A truly cross-functional team was formed with members across three continents from Sales, IT, HR and Product Specialists. They pivoted three times before settling on an internal search engine and database that would find the right product for thousands of existing and new applications. Sales Engineers would be able to view the properties of the product range, ratings from customers in addition to internal expert advice about the product they could immediately share with their customer. Due to time saving alone, the solution is set to save the organization more than 11 million Euros per year.
AfCE’s program helped the organization to challenge its preconceptions that business was being lost because they were not responding fast enough to the customer’s requests. Instead, it emerged that it was not speed that the end customer cared about, but a confident and comprehensive sales process which led customers to the most appropriate product choice.
By partnering with AfCE, the organization discovered that the reason that Sales Engineers were not recommending new products was because they lacked confidence in its complex product set. Speed and efficiency of current tools such as CRM systems, asking more experienced colleagues, accessing docs in sharepoint and receiving training were secondary reasons for this hesitancy.
By focussing on “increasing confidence” at the core of the solution offering, the team was able to both ramp up newer Sales Engineers that didn’t have the years of experience and get the older staff members to start recommending different (better) products. This helped make the organization stand out from the competition and properly showcase its extensive offering.
How we move you from idea to launch.
Click on the programs below to learn more.