Lou Lombardi is the director of product management for MMIT’s sales and marketing product line. He collaborates with the development team to create innovative new solutions, working closely with services and operations throughout the development lifecycle to ensure that clients’ needs are fully met.
How did you join MMIT?
I spent two years on the MMIT product team as a business analyst before leaving to work at Comcast for four years. I returned to the company in late 2021 in an operations role. Fairly quickly, I learned there was a need for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit to drive the development of FormTrak in Veeva from ideation to realization. I knew it was an excellent opportunity for me to return to the product team. That’s part of what drew me back to MMIT in the first place: the culture respects and rewards those who are biased toward action.
Tell us a little bit more about your role.
The products within my oversight are FormTrak, FormTrak in Veeva, and Coverage Search, all of which answer the same essential business use cases. Our products are deployed to pharma field reps, those folks who are getting in their car and traveling every day to meet with doctors. We facilitate the pull-through of coverage policy and restriction information to help those reps answer questions in their meetings.
I spend a lot of time working with our development teams on the design and architecture of our products. I also work closely with our client delivery services (CDS) team, which I consider to be my internal client. We’re responsible for launching new products, but those products have to be implemented in an efficient manner. So it’s important to consider how we can solve implementation challenges before they occur.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
First and foremost, I love working side-by-side with our development teams to develop new products. That’s truly my passion. I love the process of product creation, from whiteboarding and making a digital diagram to beginning the build. My point of view is to embrace a creativity mindset. Let’s imagine everything! If we find out something isn’t possible, we can scale it back or change course then.
What projects are you working on now?
We’re incorporating real-world data (RWD) into our development roadmap. Using RWD, we can provide pharma sales reps with a list of plans most frequently used by a healthcare provider’s (HCP) specific patient population. Our data helps reps prioritize what plans are detailed to HCPs. We’re also bringing in real-time RWD alerts based on an HCP’s patient population, which ensures reps are alerted about changes at the right time.
In addition, we’re developing a solution geared toward pharma brand leads and sales ops. Instead of giving sales reps full autonomy into managing their targets, our new solution would help the brand leads develop an overarching strategy and balance the workload across multiple regions. Each rep would have a more streamlined, prioritized task list, which would all be part and parcel of a broader strategy.
What are some of the common challenges of your role?
As a product person, I tend to want to move fast, yet I need to be mindful of change management principles, both internally and with clients. I’ve learned that the adoption of change is much more incremental in a B2B environment than in a B2C environment. If we need to get 500 sales reps up and running on a platform by the end of February, we’ll need to set an education timeline well in advance: we should have a demo in December, plus a few more in January and February. Internal and external planning and prioritization are essential to our success.
What’s been your career highlight to date?
Definitely the launch of the second iteration of FormTrak in Veeva, which came out in January 2023. We rebuilt the application with an API-driven architecture, which has allowed us to grow where we are today. We’re integrating with an additional CRM system, building out our real-world data capabilities, and adding so many innovations to the roadmap. Having an imminently scalable architecture means that we can both develop and implement our products quickly. Our clients don’t need to worry about how to ingest, transform, and run data. We handle all of that on our end and deliver the final presentation to them.
Which company principal resonates with you the most?
Grit, 100%. As I’ve progressed through athletics and academics and now my career, my whole mindset centers on grit and resiliency. I’ve been rowing all my life and was on the U.S. men’s senior national team during my first stint at MMIT. Despite the fact that I’m not a particularly large or athletic individual, I represented the U.S. at the World Rowing Championships as the team coxswain. I might not be the strongest or the fastest, but I will out-persist my competition. If someone’s willing to put in 15 hours, I will put in 16. That’s been my mantra from the get-go, whether I’m working on a job or landscaping my backyard. I am willing to be more persistent than anyone else—that’s my secret sauce!
What advice do you have for someone just starting their career here?
First, being in this virtual environment can make it hard to connect with people in the first six months. Spend your time early on learning and listening, engaging as much as possible with every opportunity. The old adage is that you have one mouth, two ears and two eyes for a reason. Consume as much information as you can before you formulate an opinion. Knowledge is power. When you have a strong foundation of knowledge to inform your point of view, you can achieve a lot.
What do you like the best about the MMIT culture?
The commitment to ownership. Our leaders hire people who are willing to make decisions and own those decisions, regardless of the outcomes. I think that creates an empowering and rewarding culture, and it’s rare. At MMIT, leaders trust their teams to make smart decisions. I think that kind of environment is very special. As we grow, we need to keep that a part of our fabric.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love surfing. I live down in South Jersey near the beach, so I take every opportunity to get in the water – usually dawn patrol. If I’m not surfing, I’m either running or cycling. And I’m also in my first year of home ownership, so I feel like I’m constantly repairing or DIYing something!