Advancements in animal health are critical to the well-being of humans and the planet. Recent innovations have reduced the threat of disease thanks to more accurate and effective treatments, new research techniques, and effective prevention mechanisms. These innovations will lead to reduced loss of animal lives as well as fewer greenhouse gasses from methane and transportation emissions. Despite these innovations and increased veterinary knowledge and expertise, animal health companies still find it difficult and expensive to bring new products to the market.
The animal health industry is a dynamic and complex market that can be challenging for sales professionals to navigate, particularly when determining market value and setting sales goals. One critical challenge sales teams face is the lack of national aggregators, resulting in the limited availability of competitive sales data. This lack of sales data makes it difficult to assess market value accurately and set realistic, achievable goals, significantly impacting sales force incentives and goal setting. Companies need to implement strategies to address these issues.
Challenges in accurately assessing the market value
Availability of accurate data: One of the primary ways market value is determined in the animal health industry is through benchmarking, which involves assessing the sales and performance of a particular product or service and comparing it to the performance of similar products or services in the market. This can be an effective way to gauge market value, but it relies on the availability of accurate, up-to-date sales data. This data is hard to come by, particularly in specific product lines or niche markets.
Lack of transparency: Many companies hesitate to share detailed sales data, particularly regarding their most successful products or services.
Regulations: Another factor contributing to the limited availability of sales data is the highly regulated nature of the animal health industry. Many products and services require approval from regulatory bodies before being sold, which can take significant time and resources. As a result, sales teams may find it hard to keep up with the latest products and marketing trends.
These challenges can make it difficult for sales teams to understand the market value or set appropriate goals.
Filling in the Gaps
So, in the face of limited competitive sales data, what can sales teams do to address these challenges and effectively set sales goals? Here are a few strategies to consider:
Build strong relationships with key stakeholders: One way to better understand the market value and set more accurate sales goals is to build strong relationships with key stakeholders such as veterinarians, industry associations, and regulatory bodies. These individuals and organizations can provide valuable insights into market trends, product demand, and other factors impacting market value.
Use available data sources: While competitive sales data may be hard to come by at the individual account or veterinary level, other sources of information can help sales teams assess the market value and set goals. For example, data on industry trends and the demand for specific products or services can help determine market value. Some industry-standard data providers like Element, CEESA International Sales Survey (CISS), Animalytix, Covetrus, and others provide data such as clinic profiles, disease incidences, owner demographics at the clinic level, animal health product sales, and market share information.
CISS-participating companies represent 87% of the US animal health products industry.1 Animalytix provides over $11B in annual animal health industry sales reporting for the US and Canada. The data provider helps a host of manufacturers, distributors, veterinary practice groups, and agricultural retailers in market assessment, competition study, sales force effectiveness, and marketing strategies.2 Unlike human pharma, animal health has no national data aggregators. However, using these data sources, companies can get a reasonable estimate of the market share and ongoing trends in the industry. Additionally, sales teams can use data on their own company's sales and performance to benchmark against the market and set goals.
Sales reps – a powerful market research tool: Sales reps for animal health companies have direct access to veterinary offices. During their visits, reps can look at the products on display and gauge which competitors are also targeting that vet. During a visit, they can also get direct feedback from the vet on the performance and efficacy of various products – their own and their competitors’. Although unstructured, this method can yield invaluable insights and help companies craft their marketing plans.
Use goal-setting techniques: In addition to using data to set goals, sales teams can also use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound) goal-setting framework to help sales professionals stay focused and motivated, even in the face of limited competitive sales data. Dissemination of the sales goals needs to be in sync with the distribution of product market share across territories. Another tactic is to reference past account sales to determine an account’s market availability and potential, then set unit- or dollar-based goals rather than goals for the entire market share.
Relative value system: Another approach is to use a relative value system, where sales force incentives and goals are based on relative performance within the company rather than absolute market value. This can motivate sales reps and drive performance, even without complete market data. For example, sales goals can be tied to the company’s own revenue or growth over a previous time frame, allowing reps to focus on improving their personal performance rather than trying to achieve an absolute market value.
Determining market value in the animal health industry can be challenging because of the limited availability of competitive sales data. However, companies can better understand their market and design more accurate sales force incentives and goals by using a combination of external market research and internal data, regularly gathering and analyzing sales data, implementing a relative value system, and investing in advanced analytics and data management systems. By taking these steps, companies can stay competitive in this rapidly growing industry and drive performance from their sales forces. Overall, the key is to be creative and flexible in the face of limited data and always be on the lookout for new and better ways to gather data and understand market trends.
- Ludeen T. Animal health product sales up 5%. Irving, TX: Informa Markets, 2013 [Accessed July 21, 2023]. Available from: https://www.feedstuffs.com/story-animal-health-product-sales-up-5-52-105505
- Animalytix. Lighting the Path – A Journey to Insight for the Animal Health Industry. Kansas City: Animalytix LLC; 2023 [Accessed July 21, 2023]. Available from: https://animalytix.com/who-we-are/