SBI recently spoke with John DeLorimier, the Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Concentra. Concentra is a national healthcare company focused on improving America’s health, one patient at a time. During the conversation, John explained how he develops a complete go-to-market strategy. He began the conversation with the company’s foundation – the corporate strategy.
At Concentra, they refer to their corporate strategy as the true north. “The true north strategy actually starts with looking at your mission, vision, and values. And making sure that they’re aligned and are pointed true north of what you want to do,” explains John. As the company goes through changes and acquisitions, they’ve had to tweak their strategy along the way. This strategy then feeds into the product strategy. The product strategy is where the organization establishes what they want to do and what products they want to take to market. It then cascades into the marketing strategy, explains John. This is where Concentra establishes their brand as a leader in the health workplace. That leads to the sales strategy. This is where Concentra maximizes their channels to make sure they’re meeting the customers where they want to buy. Additionally, they need to make sure they are selling the way their buyers want to buy.
Going to Market with New Products
Concentra has an established corporate strategy. But how do they go about launching a new product or service? To start off with, how do they establish their launch goals? John sets his goals based on their product development process. He looks at the marketplace and what their capabilities are. Then, they survey their customers. Who buys what? This allows them to come up with attainable goals and ensuring that it aligns with the corporate strategy. Additionally, John recommends making sure the departments aren’t silo-based. All parts of the organization must work towards the same goal, in the same way, claims John. It’s critical to the success of a product launch, and the organization in general.
Determining Pitfalls and Risks
The topic of conversation then turned to understanding risks and failures. This is common as it’s now a world where being agile has replaced the waterfall model. The whole idea of minimal viable product suggests that the launch process isn’t sequential any longer. What are John’s thoughts on this?
“I agree,” said John. “You don’t have to have it totally right, just the majority, and keep learning along the way,” he explains. As long as you’re up front about what you’re trying to accomplish, you can build strong partnerships along the way. In his role, John must also see potential risks and break points. John’s goal is to communicate these risks and come up with ways to mitigate risks early on.
Once a product is launched, how does John measure progress against launch objectives? “There are two ways I look at that,” said John. The first is sales results. He looks at activity levels to gauge interest. These activities are measured, and he has a clear understanding as to how the funnel is progressing.
They also do focus groups. They try to get a feel for customers. What do they think of Concentra’s offerings? What’s missing? What’s next? These key questions help them measure the success of their new initiatives. This helps them fix problems in the beginning to make customers happier, which then drives a sense of loyalty.
At the end of the day, if there was one key piece of advice John would give his peers when developing a go-to-market strategy, what would it be? “Truly understand your corporate strategy,” quoted John. Ultimately, if you know where the organization wants to go, you can react and create a go-to-market plan to help the organization succeed.