Chris Sharp is a regional vice president of sales at MMIT, serving as a point lead for pharma accounts — from large to small — since 2017.
How did you join the company?
My path was a little different than the typical persona in my role. I spent 17 years working in pharma directly, doing a bunch of different jobs on the commercial side. I started out carrying a bag as a sales rep, went through a number of different roles, and ended up as a district manager for three years. At a certain point, I was ready to make a transition, because I really desired getting onto the vendor side of the business. It took me a year of making sacrifices and working really hard in a developmental role to set me up for this type of role. I met some folks at MMIT through networking and was hired on in 2017.
What does your day-to-day usually look like?
A typical day is always based around my sales pipeline and available opportunities around it. That’s what I’m constantly thinking about, and it’s how I look at where I spend my time. It’s really about constantly filling my pipeline and moving things through it. Within that, there’s daily client meetings, internal planning and strategy meetings, and the time I set aside to do planning for myself.
What are some of the larger projects you’re working on?
We’re working on expanding PULSE Analytics with two large pharma clients. We started a pilot program with one indication for both of those accounts, and we’re expanding one client to four indications for next year, and the other client is looking to expand to two additional indications. Lab Data is another big one for that client — we’re talking to their head of commercial data strategy and going through an in-depth evaluation of our Lab Data solution, and we’re also doing an account-based marketing initiative with them, which is really exciting. On a larger scale, we’re expanding our buyers from who we typically talk to, to a whole bunch of other personas who exist in completely different silos. These are brand new budget holders that we’re trying to tap into.
What are some of the common challenges of your role?
From an internal perspective, one of the biggest challenges is always moving internal contracts through the process efficiently. Clients can get very hung up in contracting. On an enterprise level, one of the biggest challenges is aligning different buying groups so that we can create a groundswell behind advocacy for what we’re trying to sell. From an external perspective, it’s budget constraints at pharma companies. Our teams have seen this across the board — this year, pharma has experienced significant budgetary challenges. Priority brands seem to be retaining their 2022 budgets for next year, but everyone else has to do less with more.
What trends are you seeing across the industry right now that MMIT and Norstella are in a unique position to help with?
One of the biggest trends we’re seeing across the board is that the market access teams who have historically relied on market access data are now taking in new and different datasets. They’re incorporating real-world data to inform what’s happening and predict what could happen in the future. That’s a biggie. One trend that’s not going away is the shift toward more precision medicines, oncology and rare disease drugs. That’s everything that’s getting approved now. There are very few if any blockbusters out there that haven’t already been launched for large-population disease states. We’ve already reached a point of medicines being as good as they’re going to get, so the trend now is toward targeted therapies in rare diseases. Maybe that’s something that’s driving the need for real-world data, as testing requirements and other factors need to be taken into account.
Which company principle resonates most with you?
I would say resiliency, mettle and grit. We’ve been going through an acceleration of change as a company, and we’re maturing and growing in what we consult for. Pharma is going through a lot of change as well, so we need to adapt how we sell.
What would you tell someone just starting their career with MMIT?
I would say, hang on! It’s going to be a fun, challenging and rewarding ride.
Where do you see MMIT next year?
From my view, one of the biggest and most exciting challenges we have is expanding our pharma clients’ view of who we are and the problems that we can help them solve for. I think at their core, many clients still view MMIT as the market access data provider. Now that we’re playing with a whole new set of capabilities in entirely different fields where we’re up against new competitors, we’re just now starting to challenge our clients’ picture of us. I hope a year from now, clients are relying on our ability to do so much more than market access.
What do you like most about your job?
One of the things I’m grateful for is that this job has really taught me to adapt to change quickly. I’m a creature of habit, and a predictable routine is wonderful. But this job has challenged me in a good way, where I’m able to expect change, welcome it, and adapt to it quickly. My other favorite thing is I get to work with a really great group of smart people.
What do you like to do outside of work?
My hobbies are cooking, cycling, skiing, and spending time with my wife and two daughters.