Business Acumen Training Case Study
Royal Philips—the parent company of Philips Healthcare—holds over 48,000 registered patents, employs over 115,000 people, operates in more than 100 countries, and possesses a brand valued at nearly $10B. Philips Healthcare faced a critical market shift where equipment purchase decisions were no longer being made at the department level. Business acumen training helped their top reps move up to the C-suite.
Acumen Learning is proud to partner with Philips Healthcare, one of the leading medical technology companies in the world, to help their sales leaders make stronger connections with customers so they can, in turn, make healthcare better. Philips' sales executives have long recognized that for this to happen, they need stronger relationships with hospital executives who are increasingly involved in purchasing decisions. So rather than just selling medical devices and supplies to physicians or at a department level, Philips needed reps who could partner with executives and help them identify, not just the products they think they can afford, but the solutions they need to further patient care. This partnership allows salespeople to work with providers to create solutions that bridge the gap between those needs and tight budgets – enabling hospitals and physicians to continue making patient health and wellness their top priority.
The reality for most healthcare providers is that the current economic challenges and budgetary pressures they face often hamper their ability to introduce and integrate the latest innovations in healthcare into their practices. Regardless of how hard they work to improve patient outcomes, they may not meet the high-quality standards they could achieve with the newest technology on their side. Therefore, they’re looking for creative partnerships and solutions that can help get the equipment and supplies they need in a flexible and economically prudent way.
In an effort to excel in this vision, Philips leadership implemented the “Accelerate!” initiative to improve customer focus and create lean end-to-end customer value chains. Since hospital reimbursement has shifted toward a focus on patient outcomes rather than volume of care, having access to newer, more effective technology allows physicians and hospital staff to do more and provide better treatment to their patients, which promotes more positive patient outcomes, and as a result, more reliable reimbursement rates for hospitals. To more fully execute this initiative, company leaders needed their salespeople to better understand the trade-offs that hospital leadership wrestle with day-in and day-out.
"Acumen Learning consistently scored and rated head and shoulders above the others. It’s not a canned class. They work with you on what you want to present and deliver. It’s very customized. They did deep research on our company and our competitors. They knew the industry. Their research sets them apart."
Director of Marketing
So, in 2011 Philips partnered with Acumen Learning to develop a business acumen training program that would institutionalize a client-centric mindset and help get the newest tech into the hands of physicians faster. As a result of this training, the company’s salespeople have gained a greater understanding of healthcare economics and the business of hospitals, as well as the financial challenges that hospitals face. The results for Philips have been tangible, with company leaders noticing more meaningful discussions into how access to cutting-edge technology and supplies positively impacts patient outcomes while also enabling hospitals to achieve their financial objectives.
For a case in point, we received an email from a patient-monitoring salesperson—a clinically trained nurse with fifteen years experience and no business background. She knew the products inside and out and had successfully sold devices to nurses, physicians, and department heads for years, but was increasingly running into business questions that she couldn’t answer or didn’t understand. After the class, she discovered that one of her customers was having problems with re-admission rates.
Under the Affordable Care Act, a hospital can’t be reimbursed if a patient is re-admitted for the same condition within 30 days. Some Philips solutions have algorithms built in that can detect and prevent many of the things that can lead to re-admission. In the past, these features were sold as a patient benefit only.
Rather than sell the traditional way (i.e., by selling nurses on the technical benefits of the solution), the patient-monitoring specialist decided to approach the Chief Nursing Officer. Using her newfound business acumen skills, she demonstrated how Philips Healthcare solutions could save the hospital 30% on readmission costs and directly impact their bottom line.
She won the deal.