Using Leading Edge Technology and Sources from Modern Tech
This case study illustrates four key points:
- The challenge of having a technical expert between you and your customers
- The difficulties in launching a new technical product into a traditional market
- The value of early access to large volumes of high quality feedback on a product launch, allowing the campaign to flex quickly based on market reaction
- The fact traditional visiting reps are severely limited when you wish to cover a large base of retailers quickly; telephone options offer better coverage at dramatically lower costs, with better results
The contact lens market is often viewed as a complex one to launch new products in to. It’s difficult to create change and tricky to influence end-user adoption. The root cause of these challenges is the professional that shields the end user: the optician.
While the optician plays a vital role in providing technical and wellbeing help for clients, they can also prevent users from finding out about, and benefitting from, new developments that may be beneficial to them.
This case study details the story of one product launch and how the brand was able to influence opticians for the benefit of both them and the end user, while successfully bringing this new product to market.
The brand had a ground-breaking new contact lens that was technically superior to other products on the market, more comfortable and affordable. Konnexx was briefed on a simple job: to send out samples with a brief to seek feedback and follow up once they were sent to ensure that feedback was gained.
For us this was a simple application of our Virtual Territory Management (VTM) concept. It was felt that this would perform better than face-to-face rep visits and improve uptake.
The problems started once samples had been sent, as opticians took no action to introduce them to clients. The feedback Konnexx received was that the optician had evaluated the lens technically, but made no move to introduce it to end users, simply discarding the samples having taken them out of the packets.
Because we were gathering a lot of feedback quickly, we were able to spot this trend early and diagnose the issue: opticians like technical data, product specs and clinical evidence, but were not used to trying, recommending or selling this product, so the samples did not reach end users for testing as anticipated.
The VTM process quickly identified the problem and from this strategy evaluation we were able to design and get approval of a new five-step approach to use the VTM process to send a second set of samples:
First, send the sample. Call and engage with the optician and ask them to take it out of the pack so that we can ask them what they think of it.
Next, arrange with the optician to send further samples, with the agreement that they would use the sample themselves, with their staff or on an in-house tester. Using this hand-holding process we encouraged opticians to try it and use it so that they and we could ask questions and give feedback.
In steps one, two and three we dealt with all of the questions, objections and complaints, responding to enquiries then sending clinical and technical data, specs and evidence. To undertake this work each member of our team was fully trained to ensure they were product familiarised and credible.
Next, we helped the optician to pick between three and five contact lens existing wearers who had lens fitting appointments within two to three weeks. With the agreement of the optician, we supplied sample lenses of the appropriate prescription, so that they could fit the new lenses for users to compare with their usual lens.
A follow up after the fitting over the phone was the next step. We didn’t sell the lens at this point, but just sought comparison feedback and asked structured reportable questions. We made it really clear that we wanted patient feedback from them. We designed evaluation forms to encourage measurable feedback from opticians, their staff and even the trial users.
The process worked beautifully. In the optician branches and accounts we were allocated, orders quickly grew from £385K to over £1 million in under three years, and in no time we were the best performing account team for the new lens.Konnexx helped the brand break into the new wider market and were the first sales territory anywhere in the brand to generate £1 million in sales.
Why Our Process Worked
The VTM process is about data driven campaigns that react quickly to the conditions in the market to give a band the best chance of success. By gathering a large and accurate volume of data quickly, you are making campaign decisions based on fact not guesswork.
Visiting reps have a host of distractions that prevent them from gathering the specific data you need in the format and volume necessary to make good decisions, but the VTM telephone-based approach is able to gather far more data, more accurately, in less time.
Konnexx collects the data that helps drive sales and development. VTM process is rich with data because we are forced to get data. We don’t visit so we don’t get chance to see, feel or guess anything. But that perceived weakness is our strength. We build telephone relationships fast on the phone, as fully trained and qualified telephone advisers, and we ask questions and get reportable data that a rep wouldn’t or couldn’t. We ‘live by data’. We monitor, evaluate, analyse and report. We don’t just focus on the sale and the commission. We ensure that the brand has everything we know fast and in real time in digestible form, so that they can track and make important decisions fast as well.
For the sales director, having Konnexx involved in retail or field sales gives them a fresh, independent view on sales direction and strategy to supplement their own expertise. We bring 25 years of applied sales experience across all of our target sectors and love to add cross sector knowledge.