A Day in the Life
In the second of our series on industry high flyers, Nicola Richmond, National Sales Manager for Anaesthesia and Critical Care at Baxter Healthcare, talks to On Target about her working life.
What happens in your typical working day?
At present I’m in Ireland at an annual Anaesthesia meeting, but throughout the summer I have been with the Baxter Triathlon team, training at the lakeside! For the last two years we have participated in the London Triathlon to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. It’s an opportunity for people from all of Baxter to get involved and share a great day out. Our motto is ‘One Baxter’.
As a National Sales Manager I’m field-based, and my main office is at home. I manage teams of sales specialists, regional managers and clinical specialists. I used to be a senior sister in A&E, and that taught me how to deal with critical situations by having clear strategies and involving everyone. Many of my team have senior clinical experience, and we need to equip them with the sales skills they need to optimise sales, customer service and patient care.
I divide my time between dealing with situations that arise and longer-term strategic planning. An important part of my role as a leader is to make sure the direction of the team is in line with the vision of Baxter’s senior management. I’m responsible for Leadership Uplift, the aspiring manager programme within medication delivery that enables managers to run their business as autonomous practitioners.
Our sales teams live and breathe the Patrick Lencioni ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ model. Having worked in trauma care, I feel that working life shouldn’t be a battle. Selling medical devices is not like being caught under a tractor in the middle of a field. You have time to stop and think – to stay in control of what’s going on.
I’m also completely addicted to sales figures: I have to check them every morning! Another important habit for me is to clear my inbox before I go to bed every night. That makes sure I don’t fall behind. I work in the field, coaching sales professionals and maintaining direct contact with customers. And I attend international meetings and contact customers from all over the globe – that’s my favourite part of the job. My nursing and commercial experience give me a helicopter view of our business.
How is the UK market for anaesthetic products changing?
All of us working in healthcare sales need to broaden our horizons. My team have a strong clinical basis, but they need to be trained and empowered as business people with a deep understanding of the commercial side. The days of walking in with a product, selling it and getting it signed off are over. It’s much more about the process of commercial engagement, and that process will change further as collaborative procurement hubs develop.
We are privileged in that there is a definite need for anaesthetics. However, we are seeing customers reverting to older products that are cheaper, or using new machines that require smaller quantities of product. We need to maximise our customer base. Above all, we need to engage with customers who are getting together in groups and buying in bulk. We have to keep abreast of all these changes. ‘A Day in the Life’ is sponsored by Kirkham Young, one of the UK’s leading recruitment consultancies for the healthcare industry. To help you on your way to becoming a high flyer, call Kirkham Young on 0870 7873134 or visit their website at www.kirkhamyoung.co.uk.