Cracking the Code: Uniting Sales & Marketing Teams in the World of Science with Data-Driven Strategies

May 25, 2023
5:00 min read
Laura Browne
Cracking the Code: Uniting Sales & Marketing Teams in the World of Science with Data-Driven Strategies
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The episode begins with Laura introducing her guest, Andy Bertera, who brings to the show a wealth of experience and expertise. Andy explains that he originally trained as a scientist with a specialty in microbiology. As his professional career got underway, Andy discovered that he was particularly interested in the processes behind the development and release of the products, leading to him moving his focus to marketing.

Laura and Andy then discuss the balance between the marketing side and the science side of Andy’s work and of the teams that he puts together and works with. Andy states that it’s easier to train a scientist to do marketing than it is to train a marketer to be a scientist, and so the product marketing team is staffed by people with backgrounds in science. But different roles require different areas of knowledge and expertise, and so there is often a blend of backgrounds and specialties.

Laura asks how data is used to help teams like the graphic designers understand the product and what is required of them, and Andy responds with an anecdote about how he was once in a dispute with a scientist who was extremely passionate about their new product and was taking a hardline on the recommended pricing. Andy compiled data relevant to the question of value and pricing and visualized it through a graph. When the data was in front of the scientist in this way, the scientist was astonished by the numbers and by how much actual scientific process went into marketing and pricing, sealing Andy’s point.

The importance, and difficulty, of building coherent narratives out of data points is something that Andy has spoken about in the past

From there, Laura directs the conversation to one of the Talk Life Science’s key themes: Failure, and how important failure is to eventual success. Andy agrees with her, confirming that as long as you learn from your efforts, no failure is ever in vain. The pair discuss the hesitation from the executive level on this front, as it is easier and cheaper to just copy successful efforts rather than experiment and take risks.

Andy considers himself lucky to work at a company that he believes fosters a culture of experimentation that recognizes trial-and-error as an invaluable part of the process. 

The conversation then turns towards the pursuit and processing of leads, from trade shows to digital avenues, and the blend of techniques and approaches that are necessary to achieve results in the busy modern interconnected world.

Laura asks how far marketing is responsible for a lead within NEB, and Andy responds that he is always surprised when he sees surveys of marketers who do not have a sales number or sales target. Andy has always had a sales number to reach, which he admits makes him lucky or unlucky, depending on how you look at it. For him, having that target number helps join marketing and sales at the hip and ensure that everyone sinks or swims together. If there’s a barrier between the two, it’s easier for there to be misses, and for blame to be passed back and forth.

This leads Laura to ask about Andy’s own lead-processing methods, and he admits that this is an area that he is still working to improve. He explains that they are still in the early days of nailing down best practices and what processes work best. It is something the company is working to improve on as they continue to grow. Many of their processes are in some state of flux, which Andy discusses in detail.

After exploring the intricacies of NEB’s infrastructure, Laura steers the conversation back to that idea of the importance of failure. She asks Andy to describe his biggest marketing failure.

Andy describes an experience at a previous job where after a period of research and appraisal, he and his team moved forward with a product that then simply refused to sell. The product was not the success they had hoped for and the company had to write off $92,000, a number that Andy admits is burned into his brain even years later. In examining the failure, Andy realized that in their research, he and his team had focused on the wrong perspective, polling the wrong groups, and gotten the wrong impression. It was a humbling ordeal, but one that has been invaluable for his work going forward.

Laura follows up by asking Andy about his greatest marketing success, and Andy circles back to the thing that led him to marketing in the first place: The opportunity to launch new products. Working as part of a team, solving the puzzle of how to get the product to the customers that will be most responsive to it, these are the things that Andy still loves the most.

Laura wraps up the episode by asking Andy a question from the previous guest: How do you balance long-term versus short-term strategies?

Andy admits that he is predisposed to worrying primarily about short-term goals, and that it takes effort and discipline to keep long-term goals in focus simultaneous with solving the day’s immediate problems. 

To wrap up the episode, Laura asks Andy for his question for the next guest. Andy’s question is “What are the next major advances that we're going to see in the customer experience, either driven by companies like ourselves, or driven by customers seeing those experiences in other industries?”

More from Andy Bertera

Andy Bertera Bio: Andrew Bertera - Executive Director of Marketing & Sales at New England Biolabs | The Org

Andy Bertera LinkedIn: Andy Bertera - Executive Director of Marketing & Sales - New England Biolabs | LinkedIn

Interview with Andy Bertera; Passion in Science Awards: Interview with Andy Bertera: Passion In Science Awards - YouTube

Interview with Andy Bertera; Previous podcast appearance: Episode 28: Andrew Bertera, New England Biolabs - YouTube

New England BioLab Articles Featuring Andy Bertera

New England Biolabs Demonstrates Support for Interactive Scientific Literature by Collaborating with AQnowledge | NEB

New England Biolabs® podcast/video series spotlights scientists working to fight SARS-CoV-2 virus | NEB

EpiMark Reagents for Epigenetics | NEB

New England Biolabs Supports Creation of LabCentral Learning Lab | NEB

New England Biolabs supports LabCentral’s mission to help biotech startups develop and grow | NEB

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