How Scott Kelley Is Aligning His Commercial Teams, Processes, and Operations Around the Customer
Our team of experts from the Revenue Enablement Institute studies how leading organizations are transforming their commercial models to accelerate revenue growth. We profile growth leaders – CXOs – who are at the forefront of defining, enabling, and leading the execution of the 21st Century Commercial Model.
Scott Kelley is the Senior Vice President of Sales, Customer Success, and Revenue Operations at Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX), a privately held software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that’s helping to reduce the cost of delivering care by automating key business processes and improve decision making to create better patient outcomes by providing clinical evidence and analytics.
GHX has built and nurtured trusted relationships across the ecosystem of more than 4,500 hospitals and suppliers in the US and Canada which are connected to the GHX Exchange, the largest healthcare trading network (representing more than 80% of licensed beds in the US). During the last 12 months, more than $220B has been transacted globally on the Exchange, including approximately 85% of medical and surgical products used by healthcare providers.
In his role as the leader of Sales, Customer Success, and Revenue Operations, Kelley remit is to align GHX customer facing revenue teams and the commercial operations that support them to deliver more sustainable and scalable growth and realize the full potential of this dynamic market.
“Our focus over the past two decades has been on building a community of trusted relationships across the healthcare supply chain, through which hospitals and their suppliers deliver the thousands of medical-surgical supplies that clinicians need to effectively care for patients,” says Kelley. “For most hospitals, supply chain costs are the second largest and fastest growing operational expense, so reining in these costs is imperative.”
Over the past two decades, GHX has grown both inorganically through acquisition and organically through its customer relationships. The potential to create value across that ecosystem of trusted relationships has made accelerating organic growth a strategic organizational priority. “Organic growth has emerged as a top priority in our organization because we have such a big opportunity to create even more value across our customer network,” shares Kelley. “Given our strong market penetration, we are largely focused on delivering even greater value to our existing customers – this often means partnering throughout our innovation process, deepening our understanding of their needs and connecting them with in-house experts.”
As GHX has expanded its network and offerings, the complexity of its products, customers, organization, and go-to-market approach grew dramatically. “As we acquired businesses we’ve added complexity to our commercial model,” says Kelley. “Over the years we have acquired credentialing and compliance solutions, evidence-based data and analytics solutions, and a payments platform to help our customers more efficiently and effectively conduct business. All those acquisitions added more complexity to our commercial model in terms of breadth of the product portfolio, the number of buyer segments and personas we target within accounts, and how we design our sales force. For example, as we have added solutions and expanded our relationships, we have added new call points. Traditionally, GHX relationships predominantly resided within the supply chain. But as we expanded our product portfolio, we needed to increasingly engage the chief of compliance, leaders in treasury, and the CFO. And with our recent acquisition of Lumere, we’re more engaged with key clinical decision-makers.”
This growing complexity compelled leadership to transform their commercial model to align commercial teams, processes and resources around expanding customer lifetime value and finding ways to simplify and streamline the cross-functional customer journey. “We realized that in order to support sustainable organic growth as our business grew more complex through acquisitions and innovations, we were going to have to evolve the organizations and operations that support growth to drive alignment across those individual customer segments that each of our businesses serve,” reports Kelley.
Kelley believes that commercial transformation starts at the top, and leadership is by far the biggest factor in supporting current and future growth. “We believe that a strong culture can overcome a variety of growth obstacles,” shares Kelley. ”So our leadership has focused on building a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.”
Scott’s remit as Senior Vice President of Sales, Customer Success, and Revenue Operations is to instill a culture of collaboration, continuous improvement, and ongoing learning to help align revenue teams to innovations in a dynamic market, and better enable the commercial process. To empower Scott to make the changes needed to scale, GHX combined sales, customer success and the operations that support them into a single aligned structure to support more sustainable and scalable growth. To integrate these critical functions, Kelley has created a revenue operations team that includes sales operations, training and development, and other key enablement functions like the deal desk into a single organization to drive continuous improvement in the enterprise commercial process.
“It’s all about alignment with our customers,” reports Kelley. “Alignment – team alignment, technology alignment and, most importantly, cultural alignment – is critical to our ability to unlock greater value for our customers and, in turn, the growth potential of our offerings. My job is to make sure all our sales and customer success teams are aligned across each of our segments and that our customers see us as one GHX – a single organization focused on helping them solve problems, unlock value and drive cost out of healthcare. To do that we need to have our finger on the pulse of what our customers are going through and what they need to achieve their goals. And one of the best sources for voice of customer are the sales team.”
Optimizing the commercial architecture has become increasingly important as GHX has evolved as a SaaS business. This has shifted the emphasis of the sales organization to maximizing customer lifetime value and the penetration of its full suite of supply chain, compliance, clinical and financial offerings. Kelley is constantly monitoring changes in customer behavior and revisiting historical assumptions about sales performance to optimize the commercial architecture to better cover the market and allocate resources. To accomplish this, Scott’s team has refocused account priorities, buyer personas and calling points within accounts. Kelley has also introduced new specialist roles in the sales force and placed a greater emphasis on customer success.
“The single biggest thing that keeps me up at night is how effectively we are engaging with our customers,” shares Kelley. “As a SaaS business, if we are not engaging in a manner that aligns with client goals then we’re not successful. We need to constantly evaluate questions like do our front-line sellers know the most important customers and calling points in every account? Are they in regular and meaningful contact with them? Is our customer success team engaging in a way that’s not only fixing a problem but being proactive and helping customers get the most out of our solutions? Do we have technology in place that provides us visibility to when our customers are or are not using our tools – and will our customer success team rally quickly to engage with that customer? Will we find the right balance between videoconferencing and face-to-face engagement as we come out of the pandemic?”
Over the past 18 months, Kelley’s team has also had to adapt to a different cadence of calling and mix of engagement due to the shift from onsite customer meetings to remote selling in the wake of COVID-19. “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen customers are more willing to engage with remote technologies like Zoom,” Kelley reports. “They know they don’t have to commit as much time. They can have a 30-minute meeting and it can be very productive. In the past, if we flew salespeople or sales specialists to their site, they might feel obliged to spend two or three hours with us. Now they know they can pop on a Zoom for 30 minutes and accomplish what they need.”
Kelley is extremely data-driven and metrics-oriented. He uses this data to test the assumptions underlying sales territory definitions and quota plans to balance realizing market opportunity with sales rep quota attainment capabilities and seller stress. “As an operating executive, I look at the sales team as the most important customer touch point in an organization that needs to be carefully modeled to effectively engage with customers while not overly stressing sellers and customers,” shares Kelley. “I also want to know the math behind plans to generate a specific amount of sales. We use that information as the underpinning of the performance metrics we track to align our salespeople to their territories, quotas, and incentives. The historic data – the average time to close a deal, the cadence of sales calls made by reps, and the historical performance of a rep (in a given role) – to guide us.”
Another key to success has been to establish and enable a culture of continuous learning and process improvement. “Continuous learning is critical to keeping up with the rapid evolution of our products, network, and market innovations,” reports Kelley. “Going back early in my career with GE and Fuji Medical, I really learned to treat training as a continuous process, similar to other highly skilled professions.”
Kelley is looking to technology as a way to enable continuous learning at scale. His team is implementing best-in-class revenue enablement strategies to deliver content and training to all teams that interact with customers. “We’ve used a revenue enablement tool to expand and standardize our training capabilities,” says Kelley. “It’s allowed us to tap into deep subject matter expertise across the company to create team and function-specific trainings. We require our customer facing teams to engage with these trainings and successfully complete certification to become more consultative partners and trusted advisors to our customers. A good example is Lumere, which we acquired in January 2020 to help our customers build more clinically integrated supply chains. Before we could educate our customers on the value Lumere could deliver, the broader GHX team needed to build their own expertise on the solution.” Kelley has built a process to streamline targeted and customized training, an environment for teams to practice, get feedback and improve, a process for knowledge and skill certification, and ultimately a team that serves as trusted advisors to customers. These same pillars of training are applied to onboarding new team members as well as newly acquired companies to ensure a quick ramp up and increased speed to value.”
Kelley believes that a continuous learning culture rooted in revenue enablement will be the backbone of the GHX Sales brand and lead to an efficient and meaningful sales process and customer experience. He sees the potential to leverage AI, conversational intelligence, and customer engagement data to enable continuous learning and real-time feedback as the ‘next level’ in continuous learning and improvement. “The improved ability to analyze customer engagements with AI should help us be more productive and serve our customers more efficiently, which is the name of the game in my role,” says Kelley.
Scott Kelley is Senior Vice President of Sales, Customer Success, and Revenue Operations at GHX.
You can learn more about the next generation of growth leaders and the state of-the-art management tools, skills, capabilities, and practices they are using to accelerate revenue growth and adapt to the new buying reality at the Revenue Enablement Institute CXO 100 Award web site.
For anyone who wants a career any growth discipline, our new book Revenue Operations provides a career blueprint for managing revenue teams in the 21st Century. It is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to generate more growth from the business – from the CEO to sales and marketing leaders, to operations professionals, and front line sellers.