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Business Development – What kind of products to look for (ii)?
In the last blog, I talked about product selection vis-à-vis organization needs. We move this discussion further towards organization capability.
May be defined more specifically as what the organization can handle effectively.
- Organization Infrastructure. Licensed products usually require good marketing vision and capability, a developed regulatory function and proper distribution/storage network. Regulatory capability is particularly important to do proper documentation and getting registration as soon as possible. There have been examples where companies somehow managed to in-license some really good product but then could not handle it due to inadequate in-house capability. Result was that the product could not achieve what it could potentially do.
Currently, a lot of people from Pakistan scour the internet and try to approach various companies for products. Many of these are individuals who believe that they will entice a company with sweet talk but don’t know what they will do with the product. The credibility of genuine business development has also been hurt in this process.
Sometimes the companies giving out license may also choose wrong partner. We once, followed the Regional Head of Ferrosan who market the brand Imedeen®. It is an established anti-aging tablet which is available in many countries. The RM was based at Abu Dhabi and finally came to visit Pakistan. The product at that time was imported by a small-time importer in Karachi and was only made available; no marketing. The RM spent a day with us in the head office and in the market and was suitably satisfied with our capability to effectively market the product. Next day she went to Karachi and finally decided to continue with the same importer. Imedeen® is nowhere in Pakistan now.
- Customer base. Another very important consideration is the reach and penetration of the organization with regard to the product(s) being sought. Is the company already present in that specialty? Or they plan to open the specialty with that product? Let us say you are pursuing a product for pediatric application such as lung surfactant for pre-maturely borne babies. The parameters to gauge are the presence of company in Pediatrics, level of customer base and quality of customer relations. For such kind of product, an organization really needs to have access to the senior most pediatricians and well-qualified neonatologists. If the answer is in negative, it may be futile to bring such a product.
The existing customer-base also determines the company’s standing and its ability to market different kind of products. Another live example in my tenure was a prostaglandin-E product with a novel drug-delivery system. It was meant for facilitating normal delivery through increased uterine contractions. Our marketing colleagues dropped the product because they thought it was too pricey. The product was later taken up and introduced by another company which offered IVF and other such products, equipment and technology services. Obviously, they had deeper relation with the target customer and could market the product well.
- Allocation of Resources. The last important thing is the capability of organization to allocate adequate resources for the product. The resources include human resource, time resource and financial resource. Given enough input at the right time, the results would be guaranteed. Not doing enough or not doing at the right time will adversely affect the anticipated results.
Business Development is a buzz-word currently. It is important that the organizations do not just fall for it, but assess their needs and capabilities objectively and pitch themselves accordingly.
To be Continued……