Good marketing is a must-have for all companies, but sometimes their marketing strategy doesn’t always go according to plan. In this article, we talk to Delta Point, Inc. CEO and Founder Jerry Acuff, winner of Business Worldwide’s CEO Awards 2017 in the categories of Best CEO, Pharmaceutical Industry North America, about their unique approach to promoting brands.
Good marketing matters for companies and a 2014 study published by the American Marketing Association and Duke University estimated that larger companies spend anything from 9-11% of their revenue on marketing.
Often companies are confused about the role of marketing, assuming a direct relationship to sales. However, the purpose of marketing is to generate leads which a good sales team can take advantage of. Marketing also gives you critical data on your customers to feedback into your product and sales process.
These traditionally separate fields are increasingly coming together, driven by an understanding of the need for communication between marketing and sales, and new technologies aimed at facilitating greater relationships.
One company that which has always led the way in enhancing the relationship between marketing and sales is Delta Point, a full-service brand development, marketing, and sales strategy company focused on the outputs of biopharmaceutical companies. Delta Point has contributed to the success of over 100 biopharmaceutical brands, including top-selling drugs for Hepatitis C, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and multiple sclerosis
So, what’s the secret of their success? We spoke to Jerry Acuff, Founder and CEO of Delta Point, Inc. (DPI) about the company and his distinct philosophy.
What would you say was Delta Point’s core business?
Well, to answer that you’d have to go back to when we started. I founded Delta Point in 2001 to help transform a large marketing team at a global pharmaceutical company from a culture of minimal individual accountability to one of complete accountability.
Following the successful outcome of our objectives, we were asked to help grow sales of their major brand. As a result of our work, they saw a dramatic improvement within six months. Our collaboration evolved into a three-year partnership which helped this product exceed $1 billion in sales.
Our success on this project led to a new customer and a new direction – to create sales messaging for new product launches where the stakes are high, and the odds of success are long. We made a huge difference to our first launched product in 2002. Their projected first-year sales target was 26%. We helped them achieve a share of 62%.
Our services are now often called on when companies can’t afford to fail, for reasons such as launching a new product, declining sales, battling aggressive or generic competition, or when a brand is simply underperforming.
So, to answer your question, we help biopharmaceutical companies improve their marketing and sales performance, and we think we have a pretty unique formula; one with proven success.
What have been your most successful campaigns to date?
We have worked on 12 brands creating over $1 billion dollars in annual revenue and many different therapeutic categories. We have designed the launch sales messaging for four of the most successful launches in the industry, and we have worked on brands with low penetration, quickly changing their trajectory.
What, to you, makes Delta Point special?
I’d say there are three factors that make us unique.
Firstly, our people. We have dedicated, experienced and talented people working for us. On average, our consultants and executives have over 20+ years of experience including sales and sales leadership, marketing, learning and development, and C-suite experience. Eighty per cent of our employees are former clients who loved what we did, how we did it and wanted to join us. Collectively, we have launched over 125 products and have practical experience in over 35 therapeutic areas.
Secondly, our culture. It takes a special person to work at our company. They need to be truly devoted to excellence and lifelong learning, be goal oriented, have shared values (the tenets of Delta Point), and be client and relationship-centred.
Thirdly, our proprietary processes. We build on two key beliefs:
- Thinking Like a Customer (TLaC) dramatically changes an organisation’s ability to succeed
- Meaningful business relationships (not friendships or personal relationships) are critical to success.
We work with a clear set of methodologies with practical application. I’ll talk more about that later. Our product offerings include skills development, sales coaching development and leadership development. Although the majority of our offerings are customised, we also offer off-the-shelf workshops and training.
You say marketing and sales are interconnected. What do you mean by that?
It’s not unusual for our clients to believe that marketing and sales are more ‘separate’ than combined. In fact, they are incredibly interdependent. When marketing shares responsibility for sales execution in a collaborative manner and sales shares responsibility for ‘owning’ the brand strategy, great things can and do happen.
Our work often requires us to help our clients see how these two crucial commercial factions (and of course training and leadership are critical as well) have to be both more collaborative and reliant on each other.
Delta Point says it has developed a clear, step-by-step methodology? Can you tell us about it?
Our process starts with a detailed and intensive discovery process which enables us to grasp the situation with clarity.
Our focus is not just the organisation’s optic of the situation but what do customers think and as importantly, what do they believe? Once we have ascertained what they believe, then we have a methodology for getting the customer to perform three very important actions:
- Listen to us – really hear what we want to share
- Think differently to how they currently think. If they don’t think differently, then they don’t act differently
- Get them to act
What are your plans for the future of Delta Point?
Our plans for the future are to help our clients even further.
We have recently added an offering that helps our clients with the millions they spend on co-pay cards. We can help them to promote that benefit more effectively, manage it more profitably and use the co-pay concept to drive prescription volume in vacant territories.
Our clients are doing incredibly important work, and the more effective we can be, the more advantages there will be for both patients and the healthcare system.