STERLING INCREASES GLENBROOK OTC SALES TO PRIME CUSTOMERS 36% IN FIRST THREE QUARTERS OF 1986 BY FOCUSING SALES EFFORT ON CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS
Sterling OTC product sales to key customers in the U.S. increased 36% during the first three quarters of 1986, Glenbrook Labs President Robin Mills told financial analysts at a recent presentation. Mills attributed the jump in sales to large, consolidated buyers to a redirection of the Glenbrook sales force. "We realized we had 8,000 customers but that 200 of them did over 70% of our business," Mills explained. "We moved from a geographically oriented sales force to a customerfocused one." The increased attention to major accounts has helped propel Glenbrook sales growth. Sterling proprietary product sales grew 3% in sales (but 50% in operating profits) during 1985. Riding the 36% sales growth to large accounts, the company's overall proprietary sales in the U.S. are up 23% through three quarters in 1986. Glenbrook's response to the consolidated buying situation in the OTC business is representative of an industry-wide trend in both the OTC and Rx segments. A number of companies have been changing the focus of sales forces to give more concerted attention to buyers for large chains, buying groups, HMOs and similar consolidated buying operations. Sterling Pharmaceutical Group President Bernard Oullette (in charge of Sterling's domestic OTC and Rx businesses) pointed out that 80% of Sterling's domestic drug business is done with 500 accounts. While focusing more attention on the large-volume buyers, Glenbrook simultaneously began to pay more attention to the professional/medical market for its OTCs. Oullette maintained that the specialized reinfarction detailing of Bayer aspirin to cardiologists and internists is having such a "big" return that the company intends to "expand its doctor-detailing effort to cover more proprietary products in 1987. Sterling claims that its doctor-detailing is increasing Bayer's brand preference rating with MDs. Glenbrook President Mills said that August 1986 figures for MD preference indicate a 13% increase for Bayer over the combined preferences for Tylenol, Extra-Strength Tylenol and Advil. Mills told the analysts that Bayer had the highest preference rating at 57%. The combined Tylenol products had preferences of 29%, Mills reported. Glenbrook's withdrawal from the analgesic comparative ad wars is having a positive effect, Mills maintained. The decision in 1985 to promote Bayer on the "high ground," Mills said, has contributed to a 23% increase in Bayer dollar sales according to the most recent Nielsen ratings. The drug is showing an 8% tablet increase and 13% unit increase versus last year. The "wonder drug" promotion campaign, Mills said, ignores the attempt to draw "small comparisons that often confuse the consumer."
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