The Joy of Customer Satisfaction: Q&A With Veeva Systems CEO Peter Gassner
A recession can replace a lot of the thrill of doing business with uncertainty, but one bright spot takes away some of the chill for Veeva Systems CEO -- customer satisfaction. "I get an emotional reaction to that phrase," he said. "It makes me think of our customers that are having success, thanks to our applications."
Not surprisingly, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries -- and, to a lesser extent, biotech -- are waiting with great interest to see how the health insurance and care plan making its way through Congress will look in its final form. What many probably have not realized is that the companies that sell and market to these entities are just as interested -- and just as likely to have their business models impacted to some degree.
If and when that does happen, these firms will adapt, says Veeva Systems CEO Peter Gassner. "They have always adapted to a changing insurance and regulatory environment, and they will again."
Gassner would know: Veeva Systems targets the healthcare space. CRM Buyer spoke with Gassner about the market shifts the industry and his company are facing.
CRM Buyer: How is Veeva weathering the economic downturn?
Peter Gassner: We are weathering it pretty well. We have an innovative product, and the pharma and biotech industries are doing well. We are still growing. In fact, we will have close to 100 percent revenue growth this year.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the cost-cutting measures you've taken?
Gassner: In general, we are very efficient with our cash, but our focus hasn't been on cost cutting. We haven't had any major reductions in expenditures.
CRM Buyer: How can your products help your customers' bottom lines in the near term?
Gassner: Our Software as a Service product is much less expensive to operate than traditional software. Also, our core product, which is used by representatives from pharma and biotech companies calling on healthcare providers and so on, allows them to be much more effective, bringing together all the information they need.
Our application is all about efficiency, and that translates into more coverage or translates into a company needing less sales people because they are more efficient.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the bright spots for your company right now?
Gassner: One of our key bright spots is our growth; also, our customer satisfaction. When you say "bright spot," I get an emotional reaction to that phrase -- it makes me think of our customers that are having success, thanks to our applications. We just had our first customer conference in May, where we heard from many firms about what they have been able to achieve and the experiences with the applications.
CRM Buyer: Can you tell me more about what you have in your product development pipeline?
Gassner: We are continually adding new functionality -- like a lot of SaaS companies, we put out a release every quarter. Our product development is fluid and immediate, so it is hard to discuss specific functionality that we are planning for, say, a year out.