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EF: Science is meant to be the universal language, so what is it about the science here that makes it different from elsewhere? Is it only in France and Mexico where they know how to speak the language of science properly?
AM: I don’t really know, but I can assure you we have a very dedicated and specialized sales force with a strong scientific knowledge as to our products, which does make a difference! We have recently changed our international structure and we have included a new business unit, for diagnosis of the Helicobacter Pylori and our pharma business is included in Global Pharma, it is divided into diagnosis and treatment, just the two areas. Latam is the focus of growth in the international business, quite a responsibility for us, practically 98% of our business in the region comes from Mexico and the other 2% is from Latam. In 2014 we changed the company structure and since we did this with the same resources and the same headcount, we have grown a lot and this is something that France recognizes. For this year, we have already practically achieved our main objectives which are to maintain our profit results, now we not only have to achieve the profits but also send that profit to France. Also, we have to launch a product which we have practically done, with an extension product of one of our lines, a new flavour, plus another product for dizziness. When we launched a product for diarrhoea, the market was very established and flat, and it didn’t grow, so when we decided to launch Iprikene, we created the growth of the market, we have the same strategy now. Our main strategy is to position Mayoly Mexico as the best company in terms of probiotics, both in the speciality of each product and the number of probiotic products.
EF: Hypothetically, if I have a problem with diarrhoea, I call my physician and ask for help. Does he try and change my lifestyle and diet or does he immediately prescribe?
AM: We position our products with the physician, so when the patient has a diarrhoea problem, the first product prescribed is Iprikene, because it figures in the prescribed products as the most prescribed product for diarrhoea, for this reason, our strategy is to put a strong focus on the physicians. We are trying to establish a combination which we call “maridaje ideal” (perfect pairing) which includes our base products plus the probiotics. Our probiotics go hand in hand with our main portfolio. Suppliers today look for us in terms of specificity for gastroenterology and turn to us because they know we are the best company in probiotics and they are looking for new pharmaceutical forms. We are the only company doing things differently, and this brings us prestige. We have probiotics brought to us from other companies to work on and produce in different formulas, liquid or otherwise.
EF: You said Mexico represents 98% of the business in Latam, so what are your plans for expansion? If Mexico is the “cash cow” and it is run by a person who has brought amazing growth and profitability, isn’t there an incredible growth opportunity for the rest of the region?
AM: Absolutely! We are planning to launch in other countries, we will launch products next year in Colombia with a pairing (maridaje) of products and in Guatemala, we will launch 2 or 3 products in 3 or 4 more months. In Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, we have signed agreements with distributors in order to launch the pairing of products. For the moment we will not do it ourselves, we will use distributors. In 2020, we will open offices, hiring a Latam specialist with very specific skills, we choose very talented people to work with and Mayoly is not for everyone.
EF: As you expand, what is your pitch toward prospective employees?
AM: Our position is that we work in a company that specializes in Gastro and that gives priority to the human side of things. The pitch is that they will work in an understanding company where human resources is the very first value of the company and in our Latin-American culture, it is very important for the workers to feel appreciated. It is not easy to understand Mexico.
EF: Looking at the charts, the differences in numbers between the affiliates are quite big, so what are you doing differently? You must be doing something substantially different here, everywhere has gastro problems so why is the approach here working so well? And what learning can you share with the other affiliates?
AM: Guillermo del Toro gave a good answer once, and I will use it, “Because we are Mexican”. Otherwise, I can only add that in this particular subsidiary, we are like a family. The employees are all very involved in the life around this company.
EF: You seem very relaxed. What is your biggest worry?
AM: You think we are relaxed, really? We are not at all relaxed, but we are happy. What we do is make the most of the people who work here; we understand that each person who works here is an expert in their own field. When an employee has a project, he or she has a lot of freedom to work but they have to deliver, a goal must be achieved, results must be gained. That is something that is very characteristic here.
EF: In a previous interview, one of your ambitions was to have the first Mexican probiotic blockbuster. Looking at the IBS formulation at over 900% growth, would you consider that a blockbuster?
AM: Yes, of course, we make the difference. Mayoly Mexico staff makes the difference. It is something that Jose Manuel can tell you about. He will tell you what happens when our competition sees how our representatives work.
JM: We have a very good training program; we make an important difference with our competition because the structure of the training is very different and unique. First pillar: the focus is on the people. Second pillar: Sales and the training program. We have a very unique structure, a very special methodology where each representative achieves a real understanding of our method. It cannot be learnt by heart because they have to relate to the client from an emotional aspect. The representative’s message and attitude towards the doctors are very important and they are very well prepared to talk and respond to the doctor’s questions. When speaking to the doctors they must try and recognize emotions, feelings, passion and sell to those emotions. We use their same language presenting solutions to problems presented by the patient, we offer alternatives, even those of the competition, although we always point out the advantages of our own products thus making the difference. Involve the client/doctor with visual aids, all our reps have tablets. We use catch-phrases like the ‘wellbeing of the patient’ with the picture of an angel, and the people of Mexico identify this product. We use reasoned knowledge by way of 3 mechanisms: where, what, and why and really work on that. It is about the use of intellect with passion. When people are aware of their results they always try to improve them. With this program, we create a very productive sales cycle because we have for a client a doctor whose patients have problems and ailments to which we can offer solutions.
AM: In a way, we give our sales force a science promotion and when our competitor sees that they resign themselves to “OK they are from Mayoly” and that gives us an advantage.
JM: A doctor once said to a colleague of ours “Now you are very well trained”. Mayoly’s training program is very good, the reps really know the products, this is not the case in other companies, where there is no feeling, no emotion.
EF: With the reputation you have, how often do competitors try and steal your salespeople?
JM: It happens when you do a good job.... it can’t be helped.
AM: As I like to say it’s like Walt Disney here, we can do magic. But Mayoly is not a company for anybody, those who work for us have freedom and hence, a huge responsibility, and that is not for everybody. We work for goals so the employees decide how much time to invest in their goals, so maybe we are not so relaxed.
EF: What is your final message to readers of Executive Forecast?
AM: In this year of consolidation, we will position Mayoly as a probiotic company and will continue working as a specialized gastroenterology company as well. Always keeping in mind the human side of things.
AP: Indeed, you can expect this year to see a targeted marketing strategy of influencing Key Opinion Leaders in gastro specialization. 2019 will be the year to grow Mayoly’s product offering and continue giving doctors and patients an industry-leading scientific basis for gastroenterological wellbeing, with the help of the upcoming publication of a “by doctors, for doctors” book published by world probiotic expert, Francisco Guarner.