Consistent quality, delivery, and nimbleness are the values that set CBPartners apart from other healthcare consultancies. Their uniquely flexible approach to global healthcare consulting has allowed the company to work with many multinational pharmaceutical companies, biopharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and government health authorities. CBPartners can be found ranked 11th on Ivy Exec’s list of Top Ranked Boutique Consulting Firms and 12th on the Women-Led Disruptive Businesses to Work For list.
Established around seven years ago, the company focuses on four core practice areas:
- Value, access, and pricing
- Commercial planning
- Portfolio optimization
- Government policy advisory
In particular, CBPartners spends most of its time working in value, access, and pricing as well as commercial planning.
From a value, access, and pricing standpoint, they’re very focused on value strategy. “What that means, in simple terms, is that we’re trying to understand how to best position our product in front of our key audience: insurance companies, governments, and hospital administrators,” says managing director Monica Martin de Bustamante. From global and USA-specific launch pricing to market access planning to evidence interpretation, the CBPartners consultancy team works closely with clients to understand the value of every product and then communicate that value to support the overall strategy.
From a commercial planning perspective, CBPartners delves deep into what stakeholders—physicians and patients—want. “We’re trying to understand utilization within the market and the different attributes associated with our client’s products that drive value,” says Bustamante. Facts and findings are taken into account for every decision in order to take their clients to the next level with meaningful insights and strategic guidance.
It’s important but complicated work that can be affected by everything from geographic location to the current political climate. That’s why it’s so vital that CBPartners be very global in nature.
A Global Healthcare Consultancy with Long-Term Clients
CBPartners has formal offices in New York City, San Francisco, and London along with a small hub in Shanghai, China. And while the reasoning behind these locations mostly has to do with recruitment opportunities, it has also allowed the firm to gain more global experience and clients.
“We have many clients across both developed and emerging markets,” says Bustamante, noting that they also have a “very strong center of excellence in Latin America,” which often stands out amongst their competitors. It’s because of this global presence that the firm can learn from what has gone on before and bring those solutions to other locations.
This means that they are better able to serve their clients’ needs because little is able to surprise them. “At CBPartners, we pride ourselves on thinking through unique solutions and problem-solving for the problem at hand versus trying to fit some structure or framework,” explains Bustamante. She continues saying that they’re happy when clients come to them with strange questions where nobody knows the answer because that’s where they thrive.
In fact, clients commonly say that CBPartners is a responsive firm that desires to be a true partner throughout every project. “We’re really focused on addressing the questions at hand and whatever other questions come up,” says Bustamante. That’s why they have long-term relationships with so many of their clients, working with them year-over-year, challenging them and helping them think through their processes.
And much of that success can be traced to the company’s transparent culture, which is defined by their highly talented employees—who they work diligently to train and retain—and their honest and truthful expectations and leadership style.
Finding, Attracting, and Retaining Top Talent in the Workplace
Truthfully, no one plans to get into healthcare consultancy in school. Bustamante surely didn’t. “I wanted to be a doctor,” she remembers. Healthcare consulting was actually just something she kind of fell into ten years ago, and that’s fairly common for the industry. Though it does present some problems when it comes to recruiting.
That’s why they decided to open their offices in the locations they did—the important thing was attracting top talent and recruiting quality students right out of schools. “It’s why we have a bi-coastal presence,” explains Bustamante. “While both NYC and San Fran are enormous cities and very expensive places to live, they each have a very different feel.” The hope was that a different kind of personality would want to work in each location, and that’s how it has worked out. As Bustamante explains, “We’ve had the opportunity to attract a lot of new talent.”
But attracting top talent is only a piece of the puzzle. Keeping that talent is the real challenge. In the day and age of the Internet and social media, talent is constantly bombarded by new job opportunities, and one bad day or project can see a quality employee jumping ship. So, CBPartners has had to evolve to keep their employees happy and satisfied.
As part of that, their leadership team has made it a point to prioritize training and skill building. “Every year, we have a weeklong meeting in the middle of the calendar year for all management across all of our offices,” describes Bustamante. During this week, everyone gathers in a single location to undergo training that’s above and beyond their actual day job and focuses on everything from soft skills to brainstorming. “When a need arises, the team comes together to address it and come up with a solution,” says Bustamante.
In addition, CBPartners has an attractive flat structure. While they do have a hierarchy, because you can’t get by without it, they also have a very open door policy. “There are a lot of interactions between our junior and senior team members,” says Bustamante. In fact, senior team members are involved in projects in both big and small ways, which provides great training and exposure for the entire team.
Finally, CBPartners prides itself on being very entrepreneurial-minded. “There is an opportunity to leave your mark, and your mark can be quite significant,” says Bustamante. As an employee, no matter how you rank, you can take on an initiative that’s important to you and make it happen.
For example, a few years ago, two analysts started the company’s now well-known Health and Wellness committee, which comes up with ideas for social gatherings, volunteering, and more. And while those employees have now moved on, the committee is still going strong and a big cultural selling point.
It’s all these elements and more that have helped CBPartners grow year-over-year. “Seven years ago we had five people, and now we have 70 people,” says Bustamante. That’s a fairly rapid growth rate, but Bustamante isn’t worried. “Our goal, even as we grow, is to keep our focus on maintaining and growing long-term relationships,” she says.
And it’s those relationships that will carry CBPartners now and into the future.
Being Nimble in the Current and Future Healthcare Industry
There’s no doubt that times are turbulent. The world and the U.S., in particular, have drastically changed. New dynamics are at play and products no longer sail through the marketplace—patients and providers are more educated than they’ve ever been. But CBPartners is prepared for the unrest. “As our clients are challenged to keep up with the ever-changing landscape to do business, so are we,” says Bustamante.
It’s for that reason that CBPartners stays up to date with the latest policies all over the world to see how those changes and evolutions impact the healthcare industry. Even when policies appear overnight and have a significant impact, CBPartners stays on top of what’s happening and adjusts. It’s all a part of their focus on being nimble.
“We know that who we are today and what we do could be very different from where we’ll be in five years, and we’re okay with that,” explains Bustamante.
And without getting into politics, there’s no denying that the political climate has a huge impact on healthcare in everything from prioritization of diseases to funding. “There’s a lot of questioning and fingers being pointed at everyone in the value chain,” says Bustamante, but that’s what the company is good at. They can give advice on the current market and relay the strategic implications for product development and marketing.
As Bustamante says, “Turbulent times and changes in policy or agenda are not necessarily a bad thing for us.” All it means is that there are a lot of questions and a new way of looking at things, “an area where we excel because we are nimble and we work globally.”
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