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NOT ‘Business as Usual:’ What the BioPharma Channel Can Glean From High Tech

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, October 16, 2017
Updated: Sunday, October 15, 2017

Partnering isn’t “business as usual” anymore. “Even companies that think they have their practices down are all reinventing what they are doing now because they have to deal with … the increasing speed, scale, and scope of partnering that has become exponentially greater,” emphasized Jan Twombly, CSAP, The Rhythm of Business, Inc., during her session “The BioPharma Channel: Leveraging Practices from the High-Tech World to Drive Success.” Twombly was presenting at the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference, “Accelerating Life Science Collaborations: Better Partnering, Better Outcomes,” held Sept. 13-15 at the Royal Sonesta Boston, Cambridge, Mass.

“The high tech channel has learned that you are not going to be successful if your channel partners aren’t successful. … You need customized partners to provide local market access. High tech needs new partners because it needs vertical and technical specialization. Some companies do this better than others,” she added. For example, Cisco generates 85 percent of revenues by channel partners. That’s exceptional, considering that the industry average is 39 percent.

The channel is a route to market that is accessed either by communication avenues, a direct sale force, or co-commercializing a product with a partner. It’s about delivering on intended value in a resource-friendly way, she added.  Biopharma usually doesn’t consider the channel as key to growth. Yet market growth trends and future projections from BMI Research indicate that unmet patient needs and the significant growth potential of emerging markets provide significant reason for pursuing a channel strategy, Twombly said, while flashing past market size data and future size projections:

2010: $150 billion
2015: $245 billion
2020: $340 billion
2025: $490 billion

High-tech channel partners are not seeking more automation, Twombly observed.  What they are looking for is:

  • More engagement with field engineers and local sales personnel
  • Greater understanding of corporate priorities
  • Joint planning on strategic opportunities
  • Better understanding of their partners’ strategies and plans
  • More proactive communications, support, and relationship management

So what can the biopharma industry learn from high tech’s successes with channel partnering? Twombly asked.

  1. Take a portfolio approach: Place bets carefully, and manage it as a portfolio from low-touch to high-touch.
  2. Carefully manage the transitions, and ensure partner (and stakeholder) readiness.
  3. Maintain robust measurements, reporting, and action from a 360-degree perspective. We are becoming very data driven.
  4. Make it part of the fabric of the organization from end to end: Bake it in, don’t bolt it on. You need to have a strategy, and the partnering needs to be integrated into various functions of your company.

That’s critical to the entire process, she emphasized:  “Baking it in. … We like using a stakeholder management model. In many instances, you will not have dedicated people. You need to understand the economics; have good reporting and data collection that are able to be monitored; focus on closing the gap between current practice and what stakeholders need to profitably support the channel partners. That is how you will demonstrate value,” she advised.

“Governance is sometimes not in place,” she added. “You want simpler governance because of the nature of the relationships, but still need to have executive and operations levels to formal governance. Make sure you have the right participants engaged, set expectations, and have proper alignment and meetings. Make them good, formal meetings, but create an environment people will want to attend. The quarterly business reviews in high tech are typically all one way. If you really want to build that relationship so the partner can help you with market access and driving the business, you need to make it a two-way meeting.”

Consider conducting partner summits, she concluded. In the high tech world, they are a staple for building relationships by helping partners learn what’s new and where company strategies are headed. Summits provide an opportunity to have all your partners together to learn about common challenges.

ASAP Members can learn more about this provocative and well-attended ASAP BioPharma Conference session in the September 2017 issue of eSAM Plus.

Tags:  alignment  ASAP BioPharma Conference  BMI Research  channel partners  channels  governance  high tech  Jan Twombly  partners  portfolio approach  stakeholder  summits  The Rhythm of Business 

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New ASAP Corporate Member Export Development Canada Focuses on Alliances to Build Stronger International Trade Ecosystem

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This is one in a series of blog posts welcoming seven new corporate members into the ASAP fold. Export Development Canada (EDC) is a Canadian Crown corporation providing trade finance, risk management services, and expertise to Canadian exporters and investors worldwide to drive Canada’s economic prosperity. EDC partners with a variety of organizations and stakeholders to reach businesses through new channels, share knowledge and information and, ultimately, create a stronger international trade ecosystem in Canada, according to Laura Hewitt, EDC’s director of public affairs, who provided the following information about the new ASAP corporate member.

 

Why did your team decide to join ASAP at the corporate level?
We were inspired to join ASAP after hearing about the resources available from colleagues in other organizations. We have a number of teams in our organization that create and manage alliances and partnerships, and we’re looking to find information and advice to continue to “up our game” in this area.

 
What is EDC’s purpose and mission?

EDC is focused on ensuring that Canadian companies have access to the tools and knowledge they need to grow and succeed internationally. We connect businesses, regardless of their size, directly to foreign buyers and global supply chains in order to benefit Canada. EDC’s mandate is to support and develop, directly or indirectly, Canada’s export trade and capacity to engage in that trade, as well as respond to international business opportunities. At the mission’s core is using our knowledge of international trade and global buyers to take on and manage significant levels of risk to facilitate the success of Canadian companies in international markets. Our work helped to generate almost $67 billion in Canada’s GDP in 2015more than 4 cents of every dollar.

How do you anticipate ASAP benefitting your mission and goals?

We are interested in ASAP’s resources to shaping our strategic planning for stakeholder engagement and partnerships, in addition to educational tools for measuring alliance and partner success. We also hope to attend some of the webinars or networking events and learn from other professionals in our field.

Please share a bit more information about your company and the type of partnerships you seek.
Helping more Canadian companies engage in international trade requires finding partners to help us deliver solutions in new ways. We need to think beyond our traditional partners (such as banks and insurance brokers) and consider new ones outside our usual playing field. Here is a recent example of where we partnered with Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company:
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160920005439/en/Shopify-Partners-Export-Development-Canada-Shopify-Capital. If you want to learn more about Export Development Canada, here is a link to our annual report: http://www1.edc.ca/publications/2016/2015ar/#/en/home.

Tags:  alliances  EDC  expertise  Export Development Canada  export trade  partner  partnerships  risk management services  stakeholder  trade finance 

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