Life Sciences Commercializer – Thad Bench of Benchworks

Thad Bench, CEO of Benchworks

Thad Bench, the CEO of Benchworks, grew his company’s revenue from $8 million in 2014 to $42.4 million in 2017, a 428% increase, and to around $68 million in 2018.  

Benchworks is a fully integrated life sciences commercialization partner.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Thad shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Surrounding themselves with giants who have the skills their business needs.  
  • Innovating on the entire spectrum of their services from marketing to distribution to technology.  
  • Identifying and providing better services to under-served markets, such as smaller pharmacies.  

Computer generated transcript - Benchworks Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

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Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Thad Bench, the CEO of Benchworks, a fully integrated life sciences commercialization partner. Welcome to the call Thad.

Thad Bench: Malcolm thank you very much for having me.

Malcolm Lui: Thad, you grew your company's revenue from $8 million dollars in 2014 to $42.4 million in 2017, a 428% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $68 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro and how your company differs from the competition?

What they do

Thad Bench: Malcolm. I'm pleased to say so Benchworks is comprised of a number of different business units the oldest and or legacy business unit that we have is an advertising agency which is a fully integrated agency geared to supporting principally Life Science clients. We do work both on the healthcare professional and the indirect consumer side about the 50 50 split between traditional media and digital. About four years ago we decided that we were really anxious to expand our footprint and our commitment to the life sciences. And as fate would have it a company called Safe chain solutions contacted us to patent to do some third party logistics support work sending out basically marketing collateral to some of our life science clients young company based close to us here in Maryland. And during the course of that conversation the owner of the business at the time Charles Boyd mentioned to me that they had the licenses to distribute pharmaceutical drugs in three states and he noticed that we did a lot of work with pharmaceutical companies. So that intrigued me and in the course of our ongoing conversations I asked Charlie I said jeez what would it cost to get licenses in all 50 states. And that actually aligned well with our resources. And so I entered into a conversation with Charlie as a young entrepreneur that perhaps it would be best if we all aligned and we ended up acquiring that business 40 years ago and have grown it very considerably that business today is in the business of selling ethical drugs to hospitals and to independent pharmacies.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic. So it sounds like you really don't have competition because you were you're a very unique firm. Would you agree with that or are there other companies that have advertising marketing component plus a pharma distribution side of things.

How they are unique

Thad Bench: That combination is a little bit unusual about in their independent sectors in the agency business and also in the pharmaceutical distribution business. There is a ton of competition. And with both businesses we try to differentiate ourselves by very very high level of customer service value very strict adherence to corporate governance and the regulatory environment and then actually something that is sounds like a bit of a soft issues piece but something called graciousness ever. And obviously you're familiar with the term but it's unusual to hear it to hear it in a business context. But we very much value graciousness as a core component to our culture and we know that if in a business environment if you treat your colleagues with a lot of respect and frankly graciousness that they'll proffer up ideas that maybe be more forward leaning than what they otherwise would in a more abrupt environment and and that's where a lot of our great ideas come from. And also with our clients they really appreciate being treated with that level of respect and you can do all this and still have rigour. I mean I think that's one of the things that we'd like to point out. We talk about this. What does it mean that we can't have a spirited conversation or disagree. There's just a way to communicate that to keep things civilized and we think it's an important part of our business.

Malcolm Lui: So would you say from a driver perspective from the of the three biggest drivers of your sales growth notwithstanding the acquisition of the safe change business which of course made it all happen but in terms of driving the growth of sales between your two units is the concept of graciousness the biggest driver of the three

Thad Bench: No I think it's important but I think that that ultimately you know like all businesses it's really the blocking and tackling and you've got that maybe that's the table stakes these days. But you know obviously we live in and compete in a global environment now and people expect world class service value and execution. And I think ultimately all of us are measured in that in that same capacity now. So while the concept of graciousness in that culture I talk about is important and where that's important is comes to customer retention employee retention. And it certainly helps a lot. But that without the other fundamentals wouldn't get us where we are today you have to have that that basic blocking and tackling down pat.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Can you maybe elaborate or maybe list out what do you think were the top three drivers of your sales growth over the past few years.

Thad Bench: Absolutely. First of all I'm a firm believer in surrounding myself with giants. And what I mean by that is hiring and recruiting people that are tops in their field and better than I am and many aspects of the business. So we Melissa Johnston who is the president of benchmarks has been with me for 15 years and she's just an incredibly well-organized and effective executive. And she's built out a team that mirrors that. And so it's really about the people. Same thing holds true on the safe chain solutions side. Charles and Pat Boyd the founders have done a superb job of growing the business and that we give them some more resources. We've also taken a board member of ours who's taken an active role fellow by name of Tony Burger who's brought in a lot of corporate experience to come down and help make sure that the boards are getting what they need to grow the business. So ultimately what drives success I think in any business ultimately is your people. And then that coupled with the competitive pricing and the quality of execution. But in the end of the day our people are our most important products.

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK. And so would you say no to be competitive pricing and quality of educate a quality of execution or those given in there were two other big drivers

Thad Bench: No

Malcolm Lui: Of your business.

Thad Bench: I think I think that that that's that's important you know for the agency business the particularly in the market that we are involved in the life sciences are under a lot of commercial pressure. So there is a need and desire in the marketplace for unique solutions and truly novel ways to go to market. And so my view is to really embrace innovation as much as we can. And I think that's an overused term to a certain extent but we really believe in it. So I think that that every day we come to the bit to our workplace and whether it's that safe chain or at the bench benchmarks agency business. And a lot of my time exploring new and novel ways that we can help our customers achieve their commercial goals whether it's embracing new technology a new distribution channel or just a new way to communicate with our clients. So that's a big important part of how we differentiate

Malcolm Lui: Ok so number two the innovation along

Thad Bench: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: The entire spectrum of the services you offer from marketing to distribution to Tech. Is there

Thad Bench: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: A is there a number three driver

Channel niche play that has proven to be successful.

Thad Bench: Know I think that the number three for us frankly is particularly on the pharmaceutical drug distribution side was taking a novel approach to some of the independent pharmacies that we do business with as we've grown and we've reinforced our balance sheet. We've had the capacity to extend credit to some of the smaller pharmacies and pharmaceutical chains. And we're very careful about that. Obviously we want to mitigate downside risk but you know treating customers like customers you know the great big guys particularly in the pharmaceuticals drug distribution business if you're not buying as an independent pharmacy fifty thousand dollars a month you really don't get a lot of attention and you don't get certainly don't get terms. And that's something that we are willing to do. And so there are some basic business rules that we've implemented carefully to give us a competitive advantage and it turns out there are thousands of these types of pharmacies and even small hospital chains that we do business with in that regard.

Malcolm Lui: So are you saying that there are the thousands of independent pharmacies and smaller hospital chains that because it's not that big. Because I'm not buying over fifty thousand dollars of drugs every month that other distributors don't extend and don't extend in terms let alone do business with them. But you were able to identify them find them find out ones who are who have the credit worthiness for you to extend extended terms and then you've captured that market essentially

Thad Bench: That that's correct. So it's really a channel niche play and it's proven to be very successful for us

Malcolm Lui: Great contests. Can we talk a little bit more about each of these three then. Yes

Thad Bench: Sure

Malcolm Lui: You.

Thad Bench: Sure

Malcolm Lui: So just to recap just make sure I'm on the same page with you. The three biggest drivers of your sales growth in general across our business lines one surrounding yourself with giants. People who are more skilled with you have the expertise beyond what you currently have to help them run and build your business to being innovative across your entire business line from tech distribution all the way down to marketing. And then three deals on the Pharma drug side. You're taking a novel innovative approach. And in this particular case you're able to find a pedicure niche that is being underserved. And you found a way to serve them and make it work right.

Thad Bench: Yes that's correct

Malcolm Lui: Okay great. In regards to surrounding yourself with Giants How do you how do you identify what you're lacking or what your team or business is lacking and then saying yeah we need to find someone who can handle this for us

Thad Bench: Sure. That's an ongoing challenge. I mean all of us and I think many of your folks will be listening to this. We realize that we're in a dynamic commercial phase. Things are changing all the time. So you have to be nimble you have to be looking at the marketplace what the competitive pressures are listening to your customers what they really want. So we try to align the people that we hire with those opportunities. So obviously we live in a digital world now. So on the agency side we're very keen to make sure that we stay current with all things digital. And that requires a significant amount of human capital. And to that end I mentioned earlier in our conversation that we are headquartered in Maryland but we also have opened up a facility an office in downtown Philadelphia principally to get access to a much larger employee pool particularly ones with the specific skill sets required for this digital world over living. So obviously you've got a kind of fish where the fish are to get those folks in the queue and then provide them with a very competitive pay structure and perhaps and benefits and environment. But I think more importantly we're talking about you know getting these folks on board giving them the authority to make decisions. You know I think that people are much more likely to stay in feel very good about their jobs if they've got the authority to make decisions and that makes for a much higher quality work experience.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Definitely. Before number two being innovative know how do you become innovative

How they become innovative.

Thad Bench: Yeah. So that's interesting. We do that and actually on the agency side we actually hosted an Innovation Council where we showcased innovative technology platforms that we identified curated and invited our customers and our prospects. And it was the purest form of innovation in that the presenters didn't pay to be there and the attendees didn't pay to be there either way. There were other customers or prospects and we wanted to elevate our brand and share this thought leadership in our industry and to really sort of let people know that that's something that we're very much committed to what. Go on just for a moment more on that theme. What happened that really prompted me to think about this a lot more seriously on the agency side in particular is that that I recently had a moment recently over a year ago was supposed to be going to New York and the meeting got canceled unexpectedly very early in the morning. Then of course you go through that sort of emotional rollercoaster of Gee I was excited to go and now is going to have to be rescheduled and you're disappointed but then you go to that period of elation of like geez I have a whole day ahead of me that with nothing scheduled. So what am I get I'll make it up fill it.

Thad Bench: And one of the things that I did is I did sort of an exhaustive examination of agencies that were a bit bigger than we were and somewhat smaller that were oriented to our life science market and realize we're all sort of saying the same thing over and over again just different ways. And it occurred to me that we were really going to need to do better and to try to identify meaningful useful technological solutions to help our customers grow their business. And I think that one of the responsibilities that in that regard that we have is not just to identify what the realm of the possible is but to also ask act as a filter because we are there's a lot of junk out there in this world. And so we don't want to say just because you can you should. So so part of our job was to filter out technologies that we think are maybe not as commercially applicable. So. So that's a big part of what we're doing and I'll wrap on this thought with that. I would say within the next few years we will be as much a technology company as we are a advertising agency because of the way the market's going

Malcolm Lui: Right. And for number three the the last a third driver you had in this particular case you were talking more so on the agency side of your business. And I guess it was a little bit similar to innovation by the same time it's it's related to identifying some opportunities some underserved markets. How did you go about noticing that. Here is an opportunity for your company.

Thad Bench: Well I think it's funny. People say Well jeez what was your strategy and how did you go forward In it. And I think that my entire career has been based on opportunistic opportunities that we have executed against. And then what you do is you sort of invent a strategy that aligns with what you've done to make yourself look smart. So so so really it to me I have a litmus test that I look when I evaluate new opportunities. One is do I understand that after the second telling if I don't understand a business model or a product line extension service offering after two descriptions of it then I probably won't execute against it maybe I'm not smart enough or maybe it's just too complex. So there's just sort of a simple litmus test to does it align with my capital stack. Do I have the necessary resources to execute on this new service offering or product line extension. And if it fails can I fail safely. And I think that that those three together have helped me identify opportunities to go for and rest assured we failed a lot. But that's all part of business. And if you fail safely well do you no harm no foul you've tried something and hopefully along the course of time mixed in with some of those more unfortunate experiments there's some winners that help you grow your business

Malcolm Lui: Yeah and some of those winners can be huge.

Thad Bench: Yesterday

Malcolm Lui: I remember from my business school days we had a case study on on how Honda had developed the small engine motorcycle scooter market. We had

Thad Bench: Yes

Malcolm Lui: Two different case studies. One case study was yeah. They had the foresight they saw the opportunity and they went into it in another case study was. Yeah. They had a shipment of these little motorcycles and it wasn't selling didn't know what to do. So they just started writing employees that riding around themselves in Los Angeles and it became a big hit. And it just grew

Thad Bench: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: From there.

Thad Bench: That's a great story.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Thad Bench: Is

Malcolm Lui: So

Thad Bench: It

Malcolm Lui: It's kind of interesting how I kind of like you say you know I kind of stumbled upon it and then go hey let's let's take a look at this and scale it up further and it worked out to be a huge winner for them as it was for you and the catering to the smaller hospitals and independent pharmacies.

Thad Bench: Yes indeed

Malcolm Lui: You can share a little bit about what your plans are for 2019. I know that you've had some pretty fantastic growth so far eight million in 2014 all the way to 68 million in 2018. A large part of it coming from the pharmacy side maybe you talk a bit more about the pharma distribution side an agency side and your plans for both.

Thad Bench: Sure. So what we plan on doing is we are and this is all kind of you know we're like many entrepreneurs. We kind of build the plane as we fly it but we are going to certainly stick to our core businesses that we have and make sure that we are they'll take our eye off the ball there. But we are looking to expand our service offering doing consultancy work with life science companies to help them commercialize their products and eventually look at a myriad other businesses. I think one of the things that I'm 58 years old my son as I joined the business about three years ago a lot of folks always say well what's your exit strategy and I really don't have one. My mind is to continue to grow the business. If something happens along the way and there's a potential exit for one of the businesses certainly we'll evaluate that. But my view is that if you build a business that is profitable holistically sound has a good balance sheet and is growing. That's a great business to own. It also happens to be the type of business that people want to buy. And so we're not looking for anything strategic about we just want to continue to grow our business. And again going back to that opportunistic strategy or mindset as things present themselves we will certainly evaluate them. And I'm quite confident we'll execute on some new things in the coming days.

Malcolm Lui: Can you share what opportunities you see on the Pharma distribution side and we're pretty easy on the agency side

Pharma side opportunities

Thad Bench: Sure. Sure. So I think the and maybe this is getting a little granular to the industry for you know General was there's that but there's a lot of opportunity in rare disease and obviously we're all familiar with the big blockbuster drugs you know the Lippert tours and whatnot. But those are becoming they're saying that all the easy molecules have been discovered in so we are focusing very heavily in just on the agency side. On rare disease in you know sometimes the pharmaceutical industry takes a bad rap and some of it's deserved I might add. But there are amazing clinical things being done where small patient populations are being served with truly life changing therapies and we're very proud to be part of that and you know I get philosophical here but you know I look at this and I say well why did you spend your day your days and I said Well we developed educational materials for patients and for health care professionals to make good decisions of how to tackle tough diseases. And we also actually distribute the medicines that treat those diseases. So to me that's that's time well spent. So I think we'll just continue to build on that platform and see where that leads us.

Malcolm Lui: Now. Is there a huge number of these rare diseases and rare pharma makers and clinicians specialize in these rare diseases. I mean do you know who they

Thad Bench: There

Malcolm Lui: Are.

Thad Bench: I think you know obviously we live in a agency that the information overload world. But if you just kind of shut out the white noise I took a look at what's going on in this space. This is a golden era of innovation and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of of these new therapies coming out. So it's very exciting a terrific time to be in the life sciences and we were very excited to be participating A

Malcolm Lui: How do you find these opportunities therapies to help the companies behind it commercialize them.

Thad Bench: Yep. So there's a we use databases there's a a firm called global data that is an expensive database but we subscribe to it and it tracks every pharmaceutical asset in the United States. We can get it globally but that's beyond our reach at the moment. So we track every pharmaceutical asset from Phase 1 into Phase 2 into Phase 3 and it's really start communicating with companies as they get into Phase 3 through non personal promotion and good old fashioned salesmanship. And I think you know for all the technology that we have in this world and all the sophisticated marketing at the end of the day relationships still matter. We do have a field sales force. I still go out to this very day selling and we put a lot of feet on the street and miles in our cars and airplanes going to visit clients and then referrals of course you know I think that's the gold standard. When our clients referred us to others or when executives go from one company to another in many instances they take us with them

Malcolm Lui: Right now for doesn't 19. Can you share with us any of your financial targets if comfortable with sharing

Their 2019 financial targets

Thad Bench: Sure. Yep. So our our board guidance and we have an advisory board a fiduciary board we're privately held. So my family's business. But we hope to be in the mid 90s about ninety five billion in revenues. So tantalizingly close to 100 million ad revenue which is far larger than I thought the company would ever get. So we're we're very excited about that. I think the the thing that is you mentioned about some of the building blocks about the people and innovation and whatnot. You know and get niche sort of play the. The absolutely essential component to this is having the necessary capital to execute this. And for many many years like many entrepreneurs it was just a knife fight. Working our way through cash flow and crunches and only in the past couple of years due to enhance profitability and aligning ourselves with some great commercial banks and capital partners too we have the capacity to fund our growth where that is become less of a concern. So I think for all of us. Malcolm through you would share this that as people grow their businesses it's great to get that business and to grow it. But the other integral part is you've got to have the capital stack to be able to execute and safely grow the business.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So to go from 68 million in 2018 to a target of ninety five million in 2019. That's a pretty chunky growth. That's about 50 percent roughly what needs to happen for you to hit those targets

Thad Bench: Well the again because of the size of the wholesale distribution business that is it is a just a gigantic business marketplace. And so you know there are many billions dollars worth of wholesale drugs distributed in the United States so we have infinitesimal market share. So it's really just a function of us grabbing our natural market share and in the way we do that is again blocking and tackling in extremely high adherence to the regulatory environment and making sure that we deliver for our customers each and every day. But there are as we go we we're investing a lot of our earnings back into the business in the form of enhanced sales and marketing more feet on the street for our sales force. So we're really not quote unquote optimizing our earnings or earnings are strong but we take a lot of our earnings reinvest it back into the business in the form of enhanced sales and marketing and we think that's going to help us with a lot of our growth.

Malcolm Lui: What do you mean by enhanced sales and marketing.

Thad Bench: Well certainly obviously in the digital world public relations. This interview for instance it's something that's important to do and thank you very much for inviting me to share our story with you. But these types of things of casting a bigger shadow. So building brand awareness is something that we're very committed to doing and doing that doing traditional media bit of advertising again but also digital PR and influencer marketing. So. So we're trying to pull as many strategic levers as we can to raise awareness about about the work that we're doing.

Malcolm Lui: Any I didn't hear you mention any sort of outbound type marketing. Most of these are for inbound like

Thad Bench: Now we. And forgive me that that's that's a good point. And we do we actually have a war room is what we call it where we have outbound marketing and we have a 16 touch sales cycle where we put prospects into a funnel and write a letter to them initially saying that we're going to be reaching out to them the phone and email and if they are comfortable with that to please let us know. And I don't like surprises in my personal life or my professional life. So spending a letter first saying look we've identified you. We think you'll be a great prospect for us to do business with. And we'd like to reach out to you. So if whatever reason you don't think this is the appropriate time or you simply don't want to let us know. And then we begin that sales cycle realizing that it takes a heck of a lot of touches before we get someone to respond yay or nay. And so they go through that cycle and that opt in obviously they go into our more immediate CRM and we try to execute and convert that into a customer if they go through the entire 16 touch sales cycle without any sort of feedback then we will put that particular company to the side and then re-engage again in a year's time so that that kind of is how we do that so there is a systematic approach to this that that we're finding to be destructor but again that is a function that that would have been impossible for us just a few short years ago because we were busy trying to make sure that we were making that month's revenue and didn't have the luxury of thinking about a pipeline that may take years to

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Thad Bench: Fill.

Malcolm Lui: How long does it take typically to convert someone into a customer. From the moment they say in

Their sales cycle

Thad Bench: Yeah. So. So of course it's all over the map. I mean we all have those incredible eureka moments or all of sudden the big customer inbound and reaches out and becomes immediate. But I would say well over a year I can tell you that that Pfizer Pharmaceuticals which is one of our larger clients on the agency side. I called on them for three years before I got my first order. But so we sort of have a saying that guides us in our sales cycle that if we're going to really go after a potential client let's make sure that the view is worth the hike and that that it's OK we're going to expend these hard won resources that the opportunity if it comes to fruition will be worth it. So we qualify our leads and to make sure that we think they're quote unquote agency ready. Same thing on the on the pharmaceutical drug distribution side that they are potential clients who've got the commercial velocity and fit the credit worthiness and they have regulatory controls in place to you know I think just a brief aside on that. A lot of our growth on the we handle every schedule drug in the dis available including painkilling drugs and there is a opioid epidemic in this country.

Thad Bench: And so it's something that we take very seriously and there is a clinical need for some of the painkilling drugs. If you're then ecology patient or you are broken leg or whatever the case may be these therapies can be very effective. But there's obviously is a serious addiction problem. So we have instituted a 4 to 1 prescription ratio for an independent pharmacy to buy from us if they buy a controlled substance. They have to is actually a pill count for other prescriptions before we would refill another couple because unfortunately there are independent pharmacies that contribute to the opioid epidemic. They find a willing prescriber and they just basically becomes a pill mill and we don't want any part of that. And so it's a it's a big part of our regulatory compliance piece and I think that speaks volumes to people. And I think all of us as we go through our business cycles whatever the business is a high level of professionalism and adherence to solid corporate governance makes people feel comfortable and in gender's sales and customer loyalty

Malcolm Lui: Now what do you think are your biggest marketing challenges. What you need to overcome to get you to 95 million.

Thad Bench: Yeah. So I would say the fact that even though we're getting a little bit of size to us it's still up in the overall scheme of things a very small business. It's simply brand awareness and and you know I think one of the things that we all fight is we look at a prospect and they may see a more entrenched or established vendor and say OK well this is safe for me if I buy from that well-known vendor I'm safe in case there's something going wrong. The old saying goes that you know no one ever got fired for you know buying you know from IBM. But for us raising the brand awareness getting more strategic. And again having a little bit of size to us is making our ability to overcome some of these objections of a lot easier.

Malcolm Lui: What have you tried so far on to expand your brand awareness and has it been working.

Thad Bench: Going back to some of the you know the PR. Certainly we're beginning to publish white papers industry awards we're winning our fair share of industry awards in the in the marketplace. It certainly I mentioned earlier in our conversation. The Innovation Council we got a lot of good press from that on the agency side. Safe Jane attends industry trade shows all over the country. And we now have offices and distribution operations not only in Maryland but in Kentucky and also in St. George Utah as well as the sales office in Miami. So all of these regional facilities have their own footprint. And and then marketing component that goes with them. So we're we're out there beating the bushes trying to be as visible as we possibly can.

Malcolm Lui: How are you measuring that. Those activities are are creating a brand awareness that you're looking for.

Brand awareness measurement

Thad Bench: Yeah. So that's a that's a great question. Obviously on some of the email blast things we can see who's opened and who's what they've done. You know ultimately and this is something on the agency side we talk to our clients about all the time. The litmus test is enhanced revenue. You know that's working if you're if your top line's going up. And so we do track in our CRM you know all the tactics that we're doing and and monitor those and so we can see our conversion rate on some of our outbound marketing activities. I think we've got a long way to go frankly we're sort of like the cobbler whose children don't don't have shoes where you know it's only recently that we have had the commercial wherewithal to really invest in our own marketing. So it's evolving and I think one of the things that I would just say to all the business folks that listen to this is that look you've got to be proud of the work that you're doing and maybe it is not as fully baked or holistic as it will be at some time in the future. But do your best do what you can with the resources you have and just stay at it and that that persistence is it is a big part of it. And then obviously you you will achieve your goals if

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Thad Bench: You just keep at it

Malcolm Lui: For the branding efforts you've been doing so far. How do you assess if your actual notwithstanding the senior revenue growth of course but before then are you able to make a track that you're really building awareness of the right people

Thad Bench: Yeah. So I think the message that's a great question and frankly it's a hard question. We get that we our clients ask that we ask ourselves a lot. The reason that I don't have a pat answer for that is that one our internal marketing capacity is frankly a relatively recent addition to what we've been doing. I mean here to 4 I mentioned opportunistic kind of it was a little scattershot now with the development of quote unquote war room. We're getting a lot more disciplined in our approach so we can kind of see our outbound activity and and sort of adjust our tactics. We I think one of the things that's important is to make your outbound sales and marketing activity a horse race. And what I mean by that is that we on certain targets we will use a b testing well we'll do messaging one message with to a target group of clients same type of target group a different use different messaging and see which one resonates more. So we're constantly turning the dial on the type of tactics that we use and and the messaging that we use to see what's the most efficacious

Malcolm Lui: Right. Do you do a lot of segmentation as well as I imagine

Thad Bench: We do do yeah we do do a lot of segmentation particularly again disease state where the customer is in their commercial cycle the size of the business there. All those things help us determine whether or not a potential client is a good fit for us and someone that we should really go after. As fate would have it would we still do a lot of business with very large pharmaceutical companies but a lot of our new wins as of late have been smaller ones because we fit very well from a value proposition. So we look at a number of different factors and in fact do segment the market as we

Malcolm Lui: Are

Thad Bench: Go

Malcolm Lui: The

Thad Bench: For.

Malcolm Lui: Smaller pharmacy opportunities and ones that we talked about earlier where there they're too small to be noticed to be given a lot of love from the bigger distributors and hence you have to step in and help them. Is that a significant part of your business

Thad Bench: Very significant part of the business. It is and it's it's and we do that we reach out to them we have some sales channel partners contract sales organizations that we have hired to help us in our go to market and then also we do attend a large number of industry events trade shows and to try to raise awareness but there's a heck of a lot of just direct selling going on there particularly

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Thad Bench: For that market

Malcolm Lui: Three last questions for you. Say you know in

Thad Bench: Sure.

Malcolm Lui: The Maryland area when you're cruising on a freeway at 70 miles per hour typically the billboards that are on the side of the road you have six seconds to read them see them digest them you know what would be what would be Benchworks six second billboard message.

Their billboard message

Thad Bench: Well depending on business unit because they're there they're very different but let's start with the agency. And I think the six seconds is creativity coupled with highly reliable execution and that's really speaks to our our core on the Pharmaceutical Distribution side. I think it again also we talk about execution but we say execution and where the patient comes first and ultimately maintaining the chain of custody on all the pharmaceutical drugs that we describe all the safety factors that have to go in that ultimately we know at the end of the day that there's a patient consuming these drugs that we're giving and so everything we do is focused

Malcolm Lui: All right

Thad Bench: In on patient

Malcolm Lui: How about

Thad Bench: Care.

Malcolm Lui: If you had one billboard for your entire company over that six second message be

Thad Bench: We give a shit.

Malcolm Lui: Assure you that would catch people's attention I think

Thad Bench: Yeah yeah. And I say that I'm sorry to be a little off color but the we really do in that that the the thing that we bring to our work every single day is our commitment to making sure that we do the very best work that we can. Whether that means I'm working in one of our distribution operations and doing a pick and pack function to high level data analytics or strategy or digital development trying to do the best we can and not settling is it is if we if we get that right the commercial results will take care of themselves. And I'm a big believer beyond that they'd be circling back to the very beginning of our conversation talking about graciousness if you get the culture right. If you get the right people in your organization and you get the culture right the commercial results are going to take care of themselves

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I agree with you on that point for sure to ask questions for you. Who are your ideal customers and what's the best way for them to reach you.

Their ideal customers

Thad Bench: Sure. So again with the two different business units starting with safe Cain if hospitals are the the pharmacies inside of a hospital are others the surprising amount of inefficiency in the drug distribution business so that would be a terrific client for us. Also pharmacies small chains and independent pharmacies on the agency die. And I mentioned this that we're almost exclusively geared towards the life sciences. We still have a robust technology and beverage and hospitality practice a general advertising. And it's interesting are we've said to ourselves all we'd stuff to stay completely. Life sciences that we enjoy. And we're very good at general business and institutional advertising. So really almost any business that that needs to raise their brand and drive commercial results would be a good fit for

Malcolm Lui: What's the best way for them to reach your team.

Thad Bench: If we go to our Web site. Dot Benchworks dot com. That would be the corporate headquarters site. And then we could certainly get you down to safe Jane or if you Google a safe Jane solutions headquartered in Cambridge Maryland they have their own independent Web site. We'd be delighted to help

Malcolm Lui: Safe

Thad Bench: Anyone

Malcolm Lui: Chain

Thad Bench: We can.

Malcolm Lui: Solutions website is not the name of it safe change solutions.

Thad Bench: Yep yep.

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Thad Bench: Station solutions

Malcolm Lui: Awesome.

Thad Bench: Dot com.

Malcolm Lui: Fantastic.

Thad Bench: Yep

Malcolm Lui: Thanks so much that for sharing how you grew your company's sales so rapidly

Thad Bench: Malcolm thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Thad Bench, the CEO of Benchworks about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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