Elsevier successfully pivots from in-person to digitalized workflows for building customer relationships.
Full-cycle sellers use Outreach at every stage of their sales cycle, increasing pipeline creation and close rates.
Immediate access to proven sales workflows drastically accelerates onboarding for new sellers.
About Elsevier: As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. It facilitates insights and critical decision-making for customers across global research and health ecosystems.
Elsevier’s Clinical Solutions Division has a singular mission: improve patient outcomes by equipping physicians, nurses, and pharmacists with vital information from Elsevier’s vast library of research. Therese Mugge, Vice President of Sales, sees her sales team as partners to these healthcare providers. “Sales is about who you are selling to,” she says, “and it’s our job to help our customers as much as we can. It's a hard time in healthcare, so we need to make sure we are meeting their needs.”
The 2020 pandemic exacerbated the difficult times in healthcare. As healthcare providers faced staffing and budget shortages, the need for trusted clinical research became more important than ever. But to reach their customers, the Clinical Solutions team would have to completely reimagine existing sales workflows for a digital-first environment.
“Our sellers could no longer be in front of customers, so we began thinking about how to continue building relationships with customers as effectively as possible,” says Tim McGee, Vice President of Global Sales Operations. “But email traffic has exploded as we’ve come out of the pandemic. To reach those customers, our sellers would need to be able to cut through this increasingly noisy marketplace.”
It wasn’t enough for the Clinical Solutions team to merely transition sales workflows into digital channels. These 120 reps are responsible for the end-to-end new business cycle in North America, from nurture campaigns through closing deals. To manage relationships and meet pipeline coverage goals, sellers needed to make every interaction with their customers count — regardless of whether that interaction was through email, LinkedIn, or in a virtual meeting. But this focus on effective, digital selling couldn’t be accomplished without first eliminating as much complexity from a seller’s day-to-day.
“It was essentially up to each individual rep to develop their own pipeline,” Tim says. “It was incredibly manual, with some people doing mail merges and squeezing every ounce that they could out of Excel. We even had sellers who might spend half their day creating their own custom templates.”
According to Therese, reps were spending more time on non-selling tasks than on what matters most for winning new business: bringing creative, relevant solutions to their customers’ problems. “Curiosity and creativity are the lifeblood of sales people,” Therese says. “If you can bring your sellers technology that helps foster that, then I feel you're really doing your job as a sales leader.”
Elsevier’s sales leadership brought Outreach to the Clinical Solutions team to drive more efficient workflows and empower best-in-class selling. They first leveraged Outreach to automate inbound and outbound prospecting. Reps saw meaningful productivity gains right away. For example, they can identify the highest-priority contacts and send them customized emails in 15 minutes or less — something that previously took at least an hour or more.
“By introducing Outreach, our reps know exactly what they need to do each day to stay on top of their prospecting activities,” Tim says. “The increase in activity from our teams was impressive, and with data from all these activities, we’re getting a wealth of insights that we’ve never had before.”
Sellers, their managers, and sales leadership are using Outreach’s machine learning capabilities to make decisions about content and messaging that increase pipeline coverage. Tim hosts monthly content committee meetings, pulling up Outreach-native reports that help stakeholders investigate areas for improvement and coaching. They examine how sequences perform, perform A/B testing on subject lines, and pursue lines of questioning to find solutions that they wouldn’t — and couldn’t — have pursued before Outreach.
Tim explains, “A lot of piecemeal work that was taking place by a bunch of different individuals in sales and marketing can now be centralized. We launch resources as one cohesive function from within our sales organization.”
These resources are always there for the sellers, who are given prescriptive guidance on the right contacts to engage with. They also have sequences and templates instantly available so they can start making connections and building relationships. Even brand-new reps are taking advantage of those resources right away which is positively impacting the team’s participation rates.
“Outreach has accelerated the onboarding time for new sales reps,” Therese says. “In fact, we just had an individual who joined maybe three months ago who right away embraced Outreach. With everything laid out to help her start executing, she's already closed business for us. And that is incredible.”
Since bringing Outreach to their sales team, the Clinical Solutions Division has achieved incredible pipeline generation results. “We’ve seen over a million dollars of pipeline created directly from Outreach sequences so far this year,” Tim says. “We’ve closed about a quarter of that and expect that number to increase as we approach year-end.”
Sellers now use Outreach for every stage of their deal cycle, from prospecting to nurturing and even through the execution of the contract. With sellers more productive and effective, they have confidence that they can succeed at Elsevier. Reps have found success in the face of unprecedented challenges. And when reps can succeed, the business can succeed.
Tim says that one of the most significant points of pride for any sales operations professional is challenging norms and being a change agent for their organization. “I pride myself on staying ahead of the ever-changing sales world, looking at new technologies like Outreach that can help build relationships with our customers, drive revenue, and make the day-to-day as easy as possible for our sales reps,” he says.
Therese even goes so far as to cite Outreach when recruiting new talent to the Clinical Solutions team. After all, Outreach is helping her reps book meetings and close new business faster than ever — a compelling proof point for any ambitious seller who’s considering joining a new sales organization.
“We wouldn't have our sellers use a tool if it didn’t help them accelerate deals and close more business,” she says. “Any time you introduce a new technology, there's always a honeymoon period followed by less usage. That’s not the case with Outreach. Eighteen months after our initial deployment, our sellers are still embracing it. We believe in investing in our sales teams, and we do this through bringing on sales tools such as Outreach.”