Scott Walsh knows a thing or two about climbing the corporate ladder. The Smithtown, New York resident has been promoted six times to ascending leadership positions at Jericho, New York-based Darby Dental Supply during his 20-year tenure with the company. In his current role as vice president of sales, Walsh is responsible for developing strategies, setting sales goals, and motivating people to achieve them. After joining Darby Dental Supply, one of the nation’s largest dental distributors, in 1997 as a sales representative, Walsh was promoted to a sales management position in 2002. By 2006, he was serving as national sales manager and was elevated to national sales director prior to being named to his current position in July 2013. Walsh, who has a passion for the customer experience and expertise in business development, sales, and marketing strategy, spoke with Mentor about the company’s productive year.
You’re responsible for designing and implementing sales team programs. How does Darby’s focus on providing customers with outstanding value, customer experience, and innovative technological solutions help to guide this process?
All of our programs are designed and guided by one thing — the lifetime value of a customer. On any given day we could promote hundreds of different offerings, but we work hard to identify the promotions that will (a) fulfill a need for our customers, and (b) provide the maximum value. With the understanding that all customers are unique, we do our best to give our account managers the right tools and programs to treat their customers as individuals.
What are some of the challenges faced by sales reps? How do you help the team overcome these challenges?
Historically, our biggest challenge was always being a telesales organization and not having face-to-face interactions with our customers. Today, as practices look to new, faster channels for ordering supplies and services, we find ourselves uniquely positioned to provide a low-impact, convenient customer experience. With the addition of a mobile app and a complete re-design of darby.com, our account managers have more tools than ever to service their customers in the way that they prefer.
Darby Dental Supply has had quite the year. Tell us about some of the most recent developments.
Just this year, the company announced the acquisition of the dental supply division of Arizona–based SmartPractice, launched a surgical division, and debuted Darby TechForce, a technology services division that provides dental-specific information, technology managed services, installations, digital integration, HIPAA compliance, and network security solutions. As part of its mission to become a single-source provider for the dental industry, Darby also expanded its capital equipment division and formed an exclusive partnership with Dental Fix RX for equipment service and repair.
What do you see as the greatest challenge for the industry in 2018?
Patient expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, as they require better clinical outcomes and appointments that work with their schedules. This, in addition to market dynamics, creates a perpetual need for better, cheaper, and faster solutions from manufacturers, distributors, and all other industry participants.
What new products or innovations are you most excited about?
Over the past few years we have added capital equipment and services (Dental Fix RX for equipment repair, TechForce for technology services) that traditionally have not been sold over the phone. While we were cautiously optimistic about our ability to drive these initiatives, we are continuously amazed by what we are capable of providing without ever walking into an office. This is particularly exciting as practices become increasingly frugal with their time and dentists look for faster, more convenient, more transparent ways of ordering.
What keeps you awake at night?
Occasionally my Labrador retriever, Sophie, but for the most part I try not to lie awake at night. We’ve got a great team of people who support each other and I believe that with the right people in the room, we can solve whatever comes at us.
From MENTOR. April 2018;9(4): 42.