30: Savon Sampson - McKesson Sales AppPublished February 18, 2020
Run time: 00:42:46
How does one of the largest companies in the world get a mobile app built? Tim chats with Savon Sampson, former senior marketing director for McKesson, about her process for finding a development team, how they took the app from an idea to a real product, and what she might do differently if she were tasked with building an app today.
In this episode, you will learn:
- When to build a mobile app over a website and vice versa
- Why to choose an external development team instead of using your internal IT team
- How to strategically budget for an app's development
This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group, where we make sense of mobile app development with our non-technical approach to building custom mobile software solutions. Learn more at https://jmg.mn.
Recorded January 28, 2020 | Edited by Jordan Daoust
Tim Bornholdt 0:00
Welcome to Constant Variables, a podcast where we take a non-technical look at mobile app development. I'm Tim Bornholdt. Let's get nerdy.
Today we are chatting with Savon Sampson. Savon is a former senior marketing director at McKesson, which is, in her own words, the largest company you've never heard of. In this episode, we talk about her experience with building a custom mobile app with no previous tech experience. She shares how the idea for the app came about, the steps she took to find a technology partner, the struggles the organization faced in getting the software adopted, and the things she would change if she had to do it all over again. So without further ado, here is my interview with Savon Sampson.
Savon Sampson, welcome to the show.
Savon Sampson 0:57
Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here.
Tim Bornholdt 1:01
Good. I'm really excited that you're here too to talk about your app development experience. So, before we get jumping into that, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and a little bit about your background?
Savon Sampson 1:11
I am super passionate about helping other people. And I do that in my day-to-day work for the past 10 years. I've done that through marketing strategy, work with McKesson Medical-Surgical where I specifically helped providers, whether they were home infusion providers or laboratory providers in small community hospitals, really understand how they could streamline efficiency, and ultimately grow their laboratory volume and or provide better patient care. And so more recently, I have worked for a firm called EAB. Don't ask me what it stands for. It actually stands for nothing. So it is just EAB, and it's been a true pleasure to make the leap over to higher education, where I am helping people every single day. I am responsible for collaborating with institutional partners to help them create marketing strategies and overall strategies within their institution that not only will help them recruit more students and drive and deliver those enrollment goals, but also help them achieve any other institutional priorities that they may have. And so it's been a really nice transition to bring that legacy marketing strategy experience into something I'm super, super passionate about when it comes to higher ed. And then when I think about helping others from a more personal standpoint, I give back to the community on a very frequent basis. Right now I'm also the president of the Junior League of Richmond where I lead over almost 900 volunteers and also I am responsible for over a million dollars in budget every year. So that's a little pressure as a side hustle. And then also I am very active within the higher education or excuse me within the education landscape, specifically serving on the board of trustees for my alma mater Hollins University and also serving as a board member on the Henrico Education Foundation. So that's a little bit about me.
Tim Bornholdt 3:32
Gosh, so you're saying that you're not bored ever; you've got enough going on.
Savon Sampson 3:37
I am not bored. I'm also married. I have a wonderful husband, Ernesto. And then I have two girls, Alice and Erica, that keep me very, very, very busy.
Tim Bornholdt 3:48
That is awesome. How old are your girls, if you don't mind me asking?
Savon Sampson 3:52
They are two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half. So very active, little.
Tim Bornholdt 3:56
Yes. I have a three-and-a-half year old and a 10-month-old at home so I know exactly how you feel with that gap in age and everything. It's tiring.
Savon Sampson 4:06
Oh yeah, you are getting into the homestretch though. This is the fun. Like once they get to be two and four, two and five, like you are going to be like, "Oh, this is what life's all about." It's so much fun.
Tim Bornholdt 4:17
It seems like a million years away, but I know it's gonna be like, a blink of an eye and come right back to reality with how fast they age.
Savon Sampson 4:25
Oh, yeah, for sure.
Tim Bornholdt 4:27
So you mentioned kind of the point we're gonna talk about, your work with McKesson, here a little bit and, you know, I'm sure it's funny that you know, McKesson is one of the largest companies in America and probably in the world and it's one of those companies where so many people may have never even heard of them, yet they touch so many facets of our life. Would you mind, just so our audience can be a little more up to speed, what does McKesson actually do?
Savon Sampson 4:53
So McKesson is a distributor. If I could give one descriptive word it would be distributor. Ultimately the business is broken down into two parts. The first is the pharmaceutical distribution. So that's probably what you've seen on 60 minutes or in the news, with everything that's going on with the opioid epidemic and the role that McKesson has played there in getting the drugs from the pharmaceutical manufacturer and then coupling that with the scripts that the physician is writing and kind of placing those orders. McKesson is the middle person in delivering that to the actual pharmacy and or, you know, to the patient if it's being delivered directly to their home.
The other part of the business is the part that I worked in, which was medical surgical, and that is where the company distributes products directly to physicians' offices, so doc offices, nursing homes, home health providers, home infusion providers, as well as laboratories. And so the different types of products that could be distributed or anything from diabetic meters and strips to wheelchairs to tissues, gloves and continence products, wound care products, so on and so forth, anything that a provider would need in order to take care of a patient, or that someone who is at home would need for them to live their daily lives. So that's where those diabetic meters and strips come into play as well as the incontinence products. So not something you necessarily need to go to the doctor for. But something that you need in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Tim Bornholdt 6:40
Oh, yeah, I went to the doctor the other day and just happened to look up and I saw a box that said McKesson on the side of it and was just like, yep, just everywhere you look in the doctor's office. It's kinda like when you go buy a new car, and then all of a sudden that's all you can see on the road is the new car that you just bought. Now, anytime you walk into a doctor's office after hearing this podcast and you see McKesson, you see the logo, you just look in a doctor's office, you pretty much are gonna see it all over the place.
Savon Sampson 7:09
Exactly. And it's funny. One of the claims to fame for a while, I don't know if they still say this or not, but when I was working for McKesson, it was "We're the largest company that no one's ever heard of." And at that time, we were Fortune 7, so it is kind of embarrassing, right, that you're the seventh largest company in the United States of America yet majority of people had no idea. Many people call it McKeason. They don't even know that it's McKesson, so it's kind of funny, but at the same time, it's like, but we invest so much money in marketing, to our customers directly, not to patients directly. So it's just one of those, you know, interesting dichotomies.
Tim Bornholdt 7:52
I was gonna ask if having a philosophy of being the biggest company no one's ever heard of makes your job as a senior marketing manager easy. But like you said, it's not so much marketing towards the general populace, but marketing towards your specific customer. I suppose that does make a lot more sense.
Savon Sampson 8:07
Agreed. Until you get on 60 minutes, and all people are seeing is negative marketing. And so then it's like, oh, maybe we should have done a little bit more marketing about all of the good that the company does to within, you know, the healthcare landscape because it is important. Without McKesson, people would not get the drugs that they actually need. They would not get the supplies that they actually need in order to live their lives.
Tim Bornholdt 8:35
That's a very good point. And, you know, speaking of McKesson, speaking of your time back at McKesson, I know that, you know, to start going into what we're going to talk about here today. I hear that there was an acquisition, and that kind of led to some challenges which sort of led to having the app built. Could you maybe talk about the acquisition and what kind of led to the moment where you thought, we need to get an app built.
Savon Sampson 9:00
So I feel like this acquisition happened in 2012. One of the things I'll say about my time at McKesson while I was there for 10 years, it did not feel like 10 years because every two to three years we were acquiring a new company. And so it was like starting over again. So forgive me if I'm getting the dates wrong here. If someone goes on Google and looks up the acquisition of PSS World Medical and they're like, she was totally wrong, so forgive me. So I believe it was in 2012 when we acquired PSS World Medical, and part of PSS's assets included a company called Gulf South and this is when I was working on the McKesson brands team and so that is the private label brand of McKesson and specifically within McKesson Medical Surgical, and my focus was being a brand manager. So all I did was try to get our account managers to sell more McKesson brands, products to their providers, and would also create marketing strategies directly for those providers so that they would be able to see, oh, I can buy the private label option for much cheaper, same quality as the national brand, very similar to when you go into a grocery store. So that philosophy exists in healthcare as well and it's actually a very profitable line of business.
And so when we acquired PSS World Medical, along came Gulf South, which was the extended care portion of the business and extended care means nursing homes, home health agencies, as well as durable medical equipment providers, so think about a store that's on a street that has like wheelchairs for sale, gloves for sale and continence products for sale. They may also have lotions and creams, some gauze wound care kind of stuff. That would be considered a durable medical supplier or provider, excuse me, storefront. But there are also many of those entities that operate more behind the scenes and have online websites that folks will just go online amd order. And McKesson would be the fulfillment. So it's kind of like very similar to an Amazon model where you can go order something from a company on Amazon, but then Amazon fulfills that. McKesson serves as that fulfillment. So we were doing two day shipping before Amazon was doing two day shipping. I just want to call that out.
And so as a result of this acquisition, there were things that the Gulf South entity had invested in that McKesson had never thought of before for our account managers and one of those things was purchasing iPads for all of the sales team and then uploading apps and ways to make the rep's life easier by way of utilizing that iPad. And so one of the projects that I was instantly tasked with was figuring out what was on the current Gulf South app, which was not very good, by the way, and then figuring out how we could make that better and how much, of course, that would cost and all the intricacies that would be involved in that process. And so, I had the opportunity to not only RFP, I think it was three different firms, one of which was a minority woman owned business, which I was thrilled to have included them from just a diversity and inclusion standpoint. And they were all local to Richmond, which was very important to me, because I had no idea what I was doing when it came to app development. It was actually kind of laughable, so I'm glad you laughed because I laughed at myself plenty of times when I embarked on this journey, and I remember one of the firms I was talking to, and he just started going off into all of these details. And I was like, I have no idea what you're talking about. Can you take a time out? And I said, I need you to say this in layman's terms. If I am a rep, why should I use this app? And he walked me through it. I was like, oh, okay, that makes total sense. And I'm like, I want to hire you. And so I ended up choosing a firm called Mobelux. And the reason why I chose Mobelux, one, they were headquartered in Richmond. They were a small but mighty firm. And what was most important to me was that all their developers were inhouse in Richmond. So if I ran into a challenge or my IT team within McKesson had questions that I could actually have someone that I could go to that was on my timezone. I didn't have to worry about them being hours ahead of us, and it being in the middle of the night and not being available. And I was able to go to Mobelux's office and meet with them and kind of storyboard on how things would work or they would come to my office. And we would be able to just map out the progress, which was really important when you're thinking about a company spending this kind of money on a project that they've never embarked on before. This was such a high profile project that even our corporate IT got involved. And they were like, hold on, what are you doing here? How did you get these people? And I said, let's have a call. I'd love for them to tell you why they're so great. And the call ended with our corporate IT people saying, Oh my gosh, they are amazing. We want to include them on our overall kind of roster of companies that we could use from an IIT perspective, should anyone else need any kind of application development worked on or anything else like that that we can't necessarily bring inhouse. So at that point, I was like, yes, I definitely picked the right company.
Tim Bornholdt 15:05
That's a phenomenal story. And there's a lot of points in there that I actually did want to cover more in detail, if you don't mind. You had talked about the RFP process. And that's something that I'm really interested in how that works from your perspective, because I'm sure, you came at this, you had this app, you know you needed something built. How did you just sit down and come up with an RFP? Did you like google "How do I do this?" Or do you remember what that process was of actually being able to go out and pick out vendors to start working on your project?
Savon Sampson 15:39
Absolutely. It was very simple. I did use Google. Thank you, Google. And just typed in like RFP template, how to RFP, you know, app developers, that kind of thing. And also this was in the height of Facebook. I also, you know, put something out on Facebook and was like, "Hey, I need some help. If anyone's ever hired an app developer before, I'd love to pick your brain around, like, what went really well and what went wrong. And like, questions I should be asking." And that's where I got the tip about making sure that the developers are at least in the US, preferably in your own city, or somewhere where you would have very easy access to them, because that's where a lot of companies had lost time. And also had really created a lot of confusion if they didn't necessarily know what, you know, the person in another country was saying to them and what it really meant there, especially because I didn't have that IT expertise or development expertise. And so once I had like my finite list of information and kind of specs, I sent that out to a number of folks that came recommended to me by way of my Facebook posts, as well as just word of mouth. Like I would be in a random conversation at a happy hour, and say, "Hey, I'm working on developing an app; do you know any good firms?" And people would rattle off a couple of names. And so I just sent out the information. And as things came back in, I analyzed it, had phone conversations with them, and even face to face interviews, if that was possible. Otherwise, it was more of a Skype interview.
Tim Bornholdt 17:24
Nice. And yeah, cause that's just something from, I guess, more my curiosity as somebody that's been on the other side of those RFP discussions. It's interesting to hear how that actually works from the inside. So one question too, I think you kind of alluded to this before, but when you were trying to decide, you know, there's so many different ways that you could go about using technology, like, is there a reason, specifically, why you chose like a mobile app as opposed to say, like a website that people could just use on a tablet?
Savon Sampson 17:58
So the reason for the mobile app, one, the Gulf South team felt very strongly that we had to have a mobile app. And once I started digging in, I saw the benefit of the functionality of the mobile app, because oftentimes, our sales reps were in very remote locations that did not have internet access. And so we needed a mobile app where it would kind of store the information directly on their device, and not need to have a website that they had to worry about loading the information. It needed to be at their fingertips for them to access. And some of those files, because they were, you know, full color, large PDF files, catalogs of information, could take some time to have to download if you're in a spotty WiFi location in the middle of nowhere in Kansas, let's say, and so not to pick on Kansas. I love Kansas. It's very pretty there. And so that was the rationale for that piece. And also, in talking to our IT team, we did present a few options to the account managers to say, "Hey, we could do this, and it would create this functionality." And overwhelmingly our steering committee or advisory group said that they prefer the app.
Tim Bornholdt 19:23
So one question also that I had with regards to, before we jumped into like actually working with Mobelux, was, I know within large organizations, I mean, like you said, you had an IT team that at some point raised red flags and and they were wanting to understand why you were going about this process. And I know that you said already like some of the big reasons for staying local was, as opposed to going overseas, was the same timezone and everything. But was there a big reason why you chose to go outside of your organization and find an external partner rather than within, just kind of going through your own internal IT?
Savon Sampson 20:00
They did not have the capacity to support the requests because they were working on integrating two companies and getting all those customer files merged into one and kind of migrating things. So they were like, if you want this app done, it's gonna be like a year from now when the integration is all done, and I'm like, well, that's not gonna work, because the reps need this information right now so that they can go out and promote all of these new products that we have for them.
Tim Bornholdt 20:27
Definitely. That makes sense. So you went and got an agreement going with Mobelux. So I know you went through all this work at the outset, right? To come up with an RFP, you had all of your requirements written out and ready to roll. Did Mobelux just basically take that sheet and say, okay, and go off and just build it or what was the process like where they said, okay, we know what you need. Now here's what we can do. Like, can you talk about kind of the early strategy around working with an external development team?
Savon Sampson 21:01
So the biggest piece, and I'm so grateful for Mobelux because they were so patient with me, that I was like, Oh, this is what I want. They're like, yeah, I don't think you really understand what it is that you actually want. So there was a fair amount of time that they did spend with me, walking me through, here's what we recommend based on what you've kind of alluded to that you want. And here's how much that's gonna cost you. And so they basically put it in tiers, like tier one is your cheapest. Tier two is your, you know, middle of the road. Tier three is your higher end. And they're like, based on what you put in the RFP and what your budget is, we recommend kind of a combination of tier one and tier two. And so what that really allowed us to do was, because we didn't have some of the infrastructure that we needed in order to support an app that could have the functionality that we really needed, and so we had to end up creating a content site to house all of the materials, because we wanted to make sure that we could update the information or content on the app without having to go back to Mobelux every single time and pay them more money. In order to be able to do that, I'm like, we need to have full like capability and functionality to make tweaks, not holistically. I don't want to change the functionality of the app. But let's say we launch a new product. And we want to add that product. I don't want to be paying Mobelux $5,000 to go add that new product, when I'm fully capable of filling out a little form that would allow that product to then show up. And so they said, okay, that's gonna just cost you a little bit more money up front, but then you have the functionality for lifetime. So that was a great value add that they were able to provide. So not only did the app function from the onset, but then on the back end, we had that complete capability to be able to add products, delete products, change product attributes, change out photos, and do all of those cool things. And so in order to get there, it was very much so a painstaking process of understanding, one, what would be helpful to the rep, two, what would be helpful and meaningful to the customer, and then three, what could our team support on a long term basis. And so we decided that, ultimately, we would replicate as much information as possible from our overall marketing materials that were already updated on a yearly basis anyway, or whenever we had a new product launch. And then if we could just copy and paste that information directly into the content system that would then in turn present itself on the app and so everybody was like, yes, this is exactly what we need. It's a workable solution. It creates a little bit more work on the McKesson team but then we have that autonomy to update as needed.
Tim Bornholdt 24:03
Which has to be really nice because apps and technology, just under the underlying technology, changes fast enough. But like you said, you know, McKesson was acquiring companies and probably still is acquiring companies at such a high rate that it would be kind of foolish to build it out so rigidly that you would have to go back to Mobelux to have them keep updating it. It's a lot easier if you have like a web dashboard or something that you can sign into and have complete control over the content of the app. That would definitely probably cost a little bit more, like you said, up front, but then the long term savings would be quite high.
Savon Sampson 24:39
Exactly. And there were, I don't want to make it sound like everything was perfect by any means. We did have a couple of hiccups along the way and things that we just weren't able to solve for. One was the account managers. The sales reps really pushed back on having to login to the app and we really wanted them to be able to login to the app, so we could measure usability, and kind of, okay, these reps in this region are using the app every single day. These reps over here haven't opened the app in six months. But they were like, we need this to be at our fingertips. I don't have time to be entering a password. I'm probably going to forget the password, all of the things. And so we were like, okay, we'll compromise and we'll just say, no, no login. And so we did lose that visibility to be able to measure, you know, usage. And that was really unfortunate because to me, that's when it kind of fell by the wayside. Like everyone was excited about using the app. Of course, it's the new shiny object. But then when the next new shiny object came out, people are like squirrel, squirrel, squirrel. And so then it's like, oh, this isn't cool anymore. And I had no way of showcasing, hey, we paid a lot of money for this app, the teams aren't really using it, and it just, it fell by the wayside. The second was the ability to order samples from the app. Samples in the healthcare world are very, very important, especially when you're talking about private label, because people want to touch and feel and try to make sure that the item is exactly the same or as close to exactly the same as the national brand as possible. And so we had a robust samples program at McKesson and we wanted to be able to streamline the requests for samples so that account managers wouldn't have to go to a separate application or a separate website in order to order samples. And so we wanted that to all be done through this app. Well, when we dug into that, it was going to be a huge list because we use another partner for samples processing and they didn't necessarily have the robust technology infrastructure to be able to talk to an app or some other site to where it could feed in, like, here's your form, you fill it out, that form then feeds to this other partner, who then fulfills your order. That wasn't possible. And then the reps also, even if it was possible, they wanted an email confirmation to come back to them that had the shipping info, all these things. And we were like, we just can't do that. It's cost prohibitive for us to do that. And it's one of the things where I look back on and I'm like, thank God, we didn't do that, because they never used the app to its full potential. And so that would have just been another waste of money to just add it in there. Now they order a ton of samples. They use the sample site all the time. And so what we ended up doing was having to put a lot of the information that was on the app also on the sample site as well because now it's 2020. Everybody has WiFi. I mean, even in the most remote areas, you could use a hotspot or something to be able to get online. And so the times are very different. Funny how that's escalated so quickly over, you know, eight years that people now have everything at their fingertips. And so that has transitioned to be more of a web based presence.
Tim Bornholdt 28:24
That's interesting. Yeah, cause when you were talking about it, that was going to be my next question, was about challenges. And it seems like probably the biggest challenge is just technology in general moves so fast that, like you said, like, people weren't even using the app but they were using this other technology and so you kind of have to flow to where the, like the old Wayne Gretzky quote, like "skate to where the puck is going to be." You kind of have to go to where, if the whole audience is moving and all your reps are moving towards using a web dashboard, then it's like, well, we have this app that does it all. But you kind of are stuck if no one is actually using it. And it stinks too that you weren't able to track the people signing in, like that seems to me like a.... It's interesting those little internal battles that you fight within each company culture like that kind of just make the whole thing just really wonky, I guess.
Savon Sampson 29:17
Yes, for sure. It was not an easy sell internally overall to even launch the app and kind of get the sign off to do the app. And then, once that was approved, it was another uphill battle with the account managers to get their blessing to where it had the functionality that they required. And it's funny in the moment, and I've been through a number of acquisitions, and always have been on the side of the company doing the acquiring. So I can only imagine what it feels like to be on that other side where you are being acquired. And you know, there's a little bit of pride and there's a little bit comfort in knowing this is what I've always had. And my expectation is to continue to have this, even though the new company could have some new ways of, you know, doing some things that might be a little bit better. Oftentimes, people can't see that at the time because they're going through what they're going through. So I think that's just kind of interesting to see how things just transition over time.
Tim Bornholdt 30:24
Oh, yeah. And like you said, I think you said that the original company, that they were the ones that were really pushing for the app to be built and to be used and I think, like you could see too, while you were getting it designed and going through the whole process that it would provide tremendous value and then just with however the different regional, different sales account managers would just adopt it or not, not adopt it as it were. It's so frustrating to go through that process. And then ultimately, you know, it just kind of gets put on the wayside and you're like, well, why did we spend all this money building all this out if at the end of the day, no one's going to use it to its fullest potential.
Savon Sampson 31:03
Absolutely. And now you have so many people who use their phones for everything, or they have a very small laptop. So, you know, oftentimes, gone are the days of where folks are using the iPad for business as much as they are using it more for social and kind of fun stuff for themselves. And so I think that kind of led into it as well, that McKesson really wasn't keeping up with the purchase of iPads for new account managers. So then, once you have a cohort of 10 account managers that don't have an iPad, then that one regional manager who has two of those people is like, okay, well, you need the iPad, because you need to be able to access this app, but I don't have the budget to buy you an iPad. So there's that. You won't be using this app. And then now the regional manager is no longer talking about the app because, you know, 20% of his or her team doesn't have this app or have access to it. So then it's like, well, I probably should stop talking about it.
Tim Bornholdt 32:06
Well, one thing too that I'm really curious to get your take on, if you are good talking about it, was we talked about budgets and speaking about money, app development isn't cheap, as I'm sure you discovered as you're going through the process, especially hiring out to another company and doing all the development work onshore. The stuff isn't cheap. So I'm curious to hear. I have very little visibility into how it works in big companies and things like that. But how do you decide like, when you're going through that RFP process and you're like, okay, well, our budget is "x". How does that come across? And how do you deal also... So there's the onset of it, but I'm also curious, as you're going through it, I'm sure that there were changes and things that came up and how do you account for all that when you're going through it from the budgetary standpoint?
Savon Sampson 32:58
Great question. At McKesson we use a lot of business cases. So obviously there was an overall business case for the integration itself. But then as a result of this integration we also were revamping our incontinence line and our advanced wound care line and our diabetic line. And so we were repackaging those items, investing very heavily in marketing and kind of some storytelling around that. And so that all went into the business case, because we were making an assumption that, hey, if we invest, then we will see the sales on the back end. And so this was, the app development was built into that overall marketing strategy. And it was definitely a seven figure strategy that we were investing to revamp the overall brand in those three categories, diabetic, incontinence and wound care. And those were the three categories that were most prevalent within the app as well. So it was kind of this direct correlation.
As far as when things started to kind of tick and create some scope creep, as I like to... I'm famous for scope creep. Like, I think agencies love working with me because I'm like, oh, and then can we throw in this? Oh, and then can we throw in this and they're like, yeah, of course. So I am bad about scope creep. And Mobelux honestly was really good about that. They were like, this is gonna cost you a lot more money. Or if you do this, I'd recommend you not do that. And so it... I don't recall there being any major changes to our overall spend because we were just... I think we had padded so much in the app development upfront because I had no idea how much it would cost. And so when I put the number out there, I'm like, I want to leave a little bit of cushion for the unknown. And so Mobelux was like, I think that's a smart move. And so we had enough padding there.
Tim Bornholdt 35:13
That's really good because, yeah, I think a lot of times people will come to us and say, like, you know, we want an app built, and we've got 10 grand to build it. And you're like, well, you know, 10 grand, we can do some stuff, we can at least get like a prototype going. Or we can get maybe a couple small features. But for an app like you're talking about, I mean, you even just said, it's like in the seven figures, like for the whole strategy, and then I'm sure the app wasn't that high up there. But it's still like, you know, going into this process, I think a lot of people underestimate exactly how much it's going to cost. And if you're, like you said, being self-proclaimed scope creep champion, that doesn't help also when you're trying to figure out budgets up front and figure out what this whole thing is going to end up costing you.
Savon Sampson 35:59
Exactly. And I think one of the big things that, for me, what I was able to do was align this app development with a larger strategy to your point. And that made people internally at McKesson feel a lot better. Because they were like, we're not just investing in this one thing. We're investing in these multiple things. And all of those things as a collective will help us enhance our positioning in the marketplace. And it did work. I think the brands, even though they didn't use the app from a long term perspective, it got them way more comfortable with the product lines, and they were able to speak to you know, all the different nuances about the products. And the portfolio overall has grown a tremendous amount since all of this investment happened from packaging, to overall marketing, to just defining a strategy to win. All those efforts as a collective have paid dividends, I would say, four or five fold since this all happened.
Tim Bornholdt 37:10
Awesome, then that's definitely a success story.
Savon Sampson 37:13
Yeah, for sure.
Tim Bornholdt 37:15
So knowing now, you've gone through that whole process, you are now an app mogul and know everything there is to know about app development. Right?
Savon Sampson 37:24
I don't know if I'd say that. But I know a little bit, just a little bit still.
Tim Bornholdt 37:29
Even going from knowing nothing to now, you've been through this process, and you know what it's like to have an app built. Are there things that you would have told yourself at the outset or that maybe you would have done differently as you've gone through the process? Or do you think it was like a slam dunk going through and you kind of made the right choices right off the bat?
Savon Sampson 37:47
I don't think I would have done anything drastically different because I feel like I did get a lot of really good advice when I reached out to folks and said, "Hey, have you done app development before?" I think also app development, in a space like this for more product knowledge versus like engaging with the app and, you know, kind of consumer facing, was very different back then. Now you do have a lot more apps where it's just more like for information-only kind of thing. And usually those apps are rated like very low in the Apple Store because people don't want apps like that. They want something that's going to give them an experience. And so I do think that if I had thought about it differently, I may not have gone the app route. I may have gone more the website route, where it could be more interactive and really give you that experience. So you could go in, and this would be something that could be both rep facing and customer or provider facing to where they can go in and say, this is what I'm looking for, and it would spit out recommendations of products based on what it is that they were looking for. Because that's that next level of engagement and providing them with something that's valuable, that looking just at a product, a static image and some information about what it does isn't going to provide them. So that would be one thing I'd change.
Tim Bornholdt 39:21
Yeah, that's a really good point. Because most people, you know, can just Google it. Like, if it can be on a website, why would you need to download a whole app to just do that? So being able to incorporate some more interactive, or I think even that whole like part, like you said, like being able to order samples through it, if maybe now that company would have that capability, because I'm sure more people would want that. But that's like the perfect use case for an app over a website is you can just have all that stuff at your fingertips and just go real quick and it's done. Even having that sort of functionality would be something that's more useful than just, you know, nobody wants to have an information brochure in the form of an app.
Savon Sampson 40:03
Tim Bornholdt 40:04
I mean, this was super helpful and enlightening. I think a lot of people will take a lot away from this. Is there anything else you would tell people if they were in your role, and they're just kind of at square one trying to figure out how am I going to get this app built? And is an app even right for me?
Savon Sampson 40:19
I think just really being able to analyze that and really understand what it is that they are going to get out of it, as in the company, but then also what is the consumer or end user going to get out of it as well?
Tim Bornholdt 40:35
Awesome. How can people get in touch with you if they have more questions or want to hear more about what you're up to it at EAB now?
Savon Sampson 40:41
They can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I'm Savon Sampson on LinkedIn, same on Facebook as well as Instagram. I am savvy images. I will be honest, I don't post a whole lot. I post a lot on LinkedIn as my like go to.
Tim Bornholdt 41:00
Me too. I've been paring back my social media stuff. But I think LinkedIn has been pretty much where I've been on more often than not lately. So I can't agree with you more on that. Well, thanks, Savon, I really appreciate you today, again, telling us about your story. And thank you so much for being on.
Savon Sampson 41:18
Yeah, thank you, Tim. I appreciate it. This was fun.
Tim Bornholdt 41:22
Thanks to Savon Samson for joining me on the podcast today. Like she said at the end, the best place to get in touch with her is probably on LinkedIn and you can either search for her there or we'll put a link to her profile in the show notes. Speaking of show notes, show notes for this episode can be found at constantvariables.co. You can get in touch with us by emailing Hello@constantvariables.co. I'm @TimBornholdt on Twitter, and the show is @CV_podcast. Today's episode was edited by the xenodochial Jordan Daoust.
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