How Education Empowers Sales

Kevin R. Glover—corporate VP of clinical education, training, and outcomes research at B. Braun Medical—helped improve growth six-fold with better training

Many companies have had their challenges keeping product sales growing in the changing healthcare landscape—something of which B. Braun Medical Inc. is keenly aware. In 2007, the organization saw sales of its flagship product, a peripheral IV catheter (PIVC), drop to an average growth rate of only 1.5 percent annually. In addition, only 25 percent of customers who evaluated the product decided to convert to it, and only 40 percent of those customers kept using the product after six months.

That all changed after Kevin Glover—corporate VP of clinical education, training, and outcomes research for the Pennsylvania-based company—developed a plan to turn sales around. Glover and his team are in charge of finding educational solutions that can provide added value to customers. “Evidence-based training for both our customer-facing employees and our clinical customers has the potential to improve clinical practice and patient care,” he says. “By adding value to the product line, it can also help generate more revenue for B. Braun.” The new evidence-based training methodology includes a hands-on procedural practice with various simulation technologies. Improved sales and utilization numbers bear the theory out. “With the introduction of the new training program, along with other factors, annual sales growth of our PIVC product jumped from 1.5 percent a year to 6 percent,” Glover says. “In addition, customers’ trial to commitment/conversion improved from 25 percent to 95 percent, and product retention by customers beyond six months jumped from 40 percent to 85 percent.”

Kevin Glover, Corporate Vice President of Clinical Education, Training, and Outcomes Research, B. Braun Medical Inc.

Glover, a native Philadelphian, earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Temple University. After graduation, he found it difficult to find a job, so he decided to try pharmaceutical sales for McNeil Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson Company. Three years later, Glover moved to the medical device industry, holding various positions in sales, sales management, and marketing. He joined B. Braun in 2003 as director of sales training.

One of Glover’s first priorities at the organization was to reduce the high turnover rate of new sales hires. “It was partly related to insufficient training and development,” he says. Between 2003 and 2010, he and his sales training team created a comprehensive new hire training curriculum. “We increased the first year onboarding process from three days to fifty-two days, which played a key role in increased revenue, increased profitability, and decreased turnover,” he says. “Our team also helped develop and launch a management development and succession process that helped increase internal promotions from zero between 2000 and 2005 to more than thirty since 2005.”

Over the years, Glover’s role has grown. He still oversees the sales training department, but he is now also responsible for customer education, the implementation-services clinical team, and the health economics outcomes research team. “I believe that my having accountability for both the internal and external education and training function has positioned our department to become a profitable business unit in the future,” he says.

“This model has increased the knowledge, confidence, and skills of our customer-facing staff, which has resulted in sustainable business results.”

When he arrived, he says, salespeople basically were trained in the classroom with PowerPoint presentations. Now, both the sales staff and the implementation-services clinical team are immersed in a blended, simulation-based educational curriculum, which includes interactive e-learning programs and classroom-based facilitated medical device simulation practice labs. “This model has increased the knowledge, confidence, and skills of our customer-facing staff, which has resulted in sustainable business results,” Glover says.

His current focus is on building B. Braun’s health and economics research team. “Public health agencies worldwide are searching for ways to improve the quality, safety, and efficacy of patient care while reducing expenditures,” Glover says. “Hospitals are struggling to stay financially viable. Due to these financial pressures, our customers are increasingly demanding that medical device suppliers provide evidence that products and educational services provide higher-quality patient care to justify product purchases. In this new era of healthcare, pure medical device product innovation will no longer be enough.”

Research is the key to future success, he believes. For example, Glover’s team recently tested the impact of its PIVC insertion education program on staff nurses’ knowledge, confidence, and skills at a 504-bed, nonuniversity-affiliated teaching hospital. The training program required bedside nurses to take a two-hour online course, followed by an eight-hour live training course using a mix of three simulation tools. The simulated study results showed statistically significant improvements in nurses’ knowledge, confidence, and skills as a result of the continuing education program, Glover says. “This research collaboration with one of our customers has resulted in four peer-reviewed scholarly manuscripts, four peer-reviewed scientific abstract/poster presentations, and one textbook chapter,” he says. “In addition, the results have validated the value of the educational programs we tested, which are now being marketed and sold as part of B. Braun’s broader PIVC product portfolio.”

Given the success of this first initiative, Glover’s role at B. Braun evolved yet again. As of June 2016, Glover began work as corporate VP, clinical program development, research, and innovation, and he will be focused solely on developing and testing clinical education programs to enhance the value of various product portfolios.

Even outside of work, his abiding interests center, as you might expect, on education. In fact, he has obtained a master’s degree in education and a master’s degree in science in instructional technology. He is currently pursuing a PhD in teaching, learning, and technology at Lehigh University. “Earning a doctorate is another way of learning more, networking more, and developing other value-added educational programs that will help us move the needle,” he says.