In a strong growing multiple sclerosis (MS) market in Germany, the market share for an interferon drug shrank for several years. This trend gained pace and the company had to react fast. Our situation analysis showed that the organisational structure in terms of roles and responsibilities was not clear, nor were the target market or the marketing strategy. As the initial USP (convenience) of the drug was “once per week” vs 3 times per week for the competitors, two competitors had conducted a head-to-head study and shown an advantage in terms of efficacy during the first few weeks of treatment. The competitors leveraged these results and positioned their product as highly efficient resulting in a claim of “more is better”. This effectively neutralised the client ‘convenience’ argument and allowed the competitors to claim superiority in efficacy. As a result, the company with their “once a week” claim had adopted a defence position and even the sales force had started to question the efficacy of their product.
The structure of the sales and marketing teams was realigned to ensure a clear individual responsibility to establish and maintain close contacts with customers. This led to a doubling of sales team efficiency as measured by call quota. In parallel, the customer targeting was significantly improved. The priority from a marketing perspective was to move away from the defensive position the company had adopted, and the brand strategy was repositioned from convenience to long term efficacy as ‘MS is a life-long illness’. This diminished the impact of the head-to-head study with its focus on a short-term advantage.
One key operational element was the initiation of a MS head-to-head study with 7000 patients worldwide. This was a courageous step and exceptionally well received by physicians.
With the clear backing of the company and messaging that distinguished their product, the sales force were invigorated and started to believe in their product again.
AXXXELIS supported the company in achieving a business-critical turnaround with a double-digit increase in turnover and recovery of market share after 3 years of market share erosion and enabled the company to regain their position as the market leader in MS.