Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH is the world’s largest manufacturer of homeopathic combination drugs for human and veterinary medicine. The product range spans nearly 900 pharmaceuticals and is attracting a growing fan base. Amelie Riedle, sales excellence management assistant at Heel, focuses on distribution through the subsidiaries and the field sales force in particular. After completing her Bachelor of Business Administration she’s now enrolled in a two-year, part-time General MBA program at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Steinbeis University Berlin.
Heel is headquartered in Baden-Baden, a German city known for its spas and health resorts. This is where the company manufactures the lion’s share of its compounds for use in colds, sports injuries, sleep disorders and many other applications. They’re also exported to over 50 countries. The sales force – both in the field and the office – play a special role in the company: they inform and advise physicians and pharmacists on the way Heel compounds work and in which situations they can be applied. As a result, the sales force is in direct contact with their company’s customers who, after all, are the most important link to patients and users of homeopathic pharmaceuticals.
To cope with the increasing complexity that accompanies a growing company, one strategic initiative at Heel aims to develop and launch a ‘sales excellence’ scheme for its subsidiaries. A uniform approach will be designed to ensure that Heel customers receive the very best from their sales representatives – no matter where they are in the world. This includes all relevant tools, such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Defining these issues and launching the means to address them is the core of Riedle’s work for her master’s degree at Steinbeis University Berlin. Not only has she developed the scheme itself, she also rolls out activities directly in the subsidiaries. As well as working closely with them in Europe, North and Latin America and South Africa, Riedle also interfaces with several divisions at the head office, such as IT, HR and Accounting. She is also responsible for selecting customers based on a ‘targeting analysis’, putting a CRM system into practice, and running assessment centers and professional development workshops for sales employees. Riedle’s biggest challenge: balancing the need for a worldwide approach which works across the board but also takes the specifics of local market conditions into consideration, à la ‘think global, act local’.
Riedle has found blending theory and practice incredibly useful since she sees her seminar discussions transferring directly to her work at Heel. For instance, she applied her classroom insights to launching a CRM system for the Belgian subsidiary and developing a system for key performance figures in sales destined for international reporting.