Franz Maier

Executive Vice President, Head of Sales in 2011

Has Straumann’s customer base changed during the economic downturn?

Our continuous market share gains in recent years have been fuelled by the loyalty of our existing customers and by the 5000 new customers we have won since 2008. Straumann has a clear value proposition and disciplined marketing/sales execution, which have enabled us to address the economic crisis as an opportunity, not merely a challenge.

 

How did the US market perform?

US practices are professional and serious about marketing. They know they need to excel clinically but see themselves as businesses. Many reacted quickly to the economic downturn and with us embraced the challenge. 2011 results will probably show that we took further market share in the US.

 

What is the secret to succeeding in emerging markets?

Understanding that customer needs differ widely from established markets. The notion that you can supply emerging markets with old technologies is wrong. These countries have commercial power and they want new technologies.

 

How has marketing changed since you joined Straumann?

Straumann’s dental expertise is remarkable. In recent years we have complemented it with professional marketing know-how that is the gold standard in more mature industries. We aspire to be the most customer responsive service organization and have become a benchmark for brand value, competence, and customer service.

 

Do you see a trend towards consumer marketing?

The need for professional marketing will increase as the market matures, but it will have to be appropriate for the medical sector. Successful marketing starts with understanding consumers and delivering what is expected. Short-term strategies – like overpromising or cutting corners on science, legal, or regulatory aspects – will eventually backfire on companies that don’t understand how to bring both worlds together.

 

Has the selling process at Straumann become complex?

Complexity came with the acquisitions of the Regenerative business and the CADCAM business. We have done a good job in managing it, establishing clear sales processes and getting the different specialties to work as a team. Having learnt that the market dynamics are very different, we have to adjust the organization to focus.

 

Have selling costs risen disproportionally?

In the past, we needed teams to manage the complex portfolio successfully, which increased selling costs. But we focused and created sales structures that were cost flexible – which paid off when demand in our key markets was very challenging. Today, our selling costs are developing more or less proportionally to the top line.

 

How important is customer relationship management in a dental medtech company?

It is essential. We are in a B-to-B market, where long-term collaboration with customers is based on consistently meeting their expectations of product performance, service, and innovation. Our CRM tool is state of the art and essential for managing all our interactions professionally.