Americans are known worldwide for their optimism and their hands-on approach. Nothing is impossible. Problems are simply viewed as challenges— and challenges are welcomed, even embraced. Devin Childers, Robert Kolbe and William Baxter Webb certainly subscribe to this philosophy. Working together, they built the team of Heraeus Medical sales representatives in the USA within a few months. From zero to 70 in one year, and the headcount is steadily growing. The annual Sales Meeting in Dallas, Texas, in the spring of 2019 brought together more than 120 employees and partners.
But the story begins two years earlier, with an unexpected challenge: Palacos bone cement was positioned successfully in the USA with a market share of 28 percent. However, almost nobody there was familiar with its inventor and manufacturer, Heraeus Medical. Why not? Because the products were marketed in the United States through a reseller. In 2015, this partner acquired one of Heraeus Medical’s largest international competitors. A long-term relationship based on trust and collaboration was destroyed. This was a significant blow to Heraeus Medical, ultimately leading to the company’s decision to take matters into its own hands.
“We realized that it was a great opportunity,” says Devin Childers, President and “employee number one” for Heraeus Medical US. In 2017, it was his mission to develop a team for the US business in the shortest possible time. He recruited Robert Kolbe to join the team as VP Sales. William Baxter Webb was named VP to lead the Marketing & Education units. When they began their work for Heraeus, they had little to go on—except the ambitious vision of making headway against strong competition in the highly complex American market.