In life sciences, organizations are at the forefront of pioneering healthcare solutions, advanced medical technologies, and groundbreaking treatments. These entities are pivotal in enhancing patient care, promoting public health, and advancing scientific knowledge.

However, the journey from innovative research to market success is fraught with challenges, requiring not just scientific excellence but also strategic business acumen.

Sales and finance roles can play a transformational part in driving the growth of life science organizations, providing solutions for companies at all stages, from startups to established pre-clinical through commercialization.

The Strategic Role of Sales

In the life science sector, sales teams are more than just the face of the company; they are the bridge between groundbreaking innovations and the market. Their strategic role encompasses several key areas:

  • Expanding Market Reach: Life science sales professionals excel in identifying new market opportunities, whether by introducing cutting-edge products to existing markets or by venturing into new geographic territories. According to KPMG research, the life sciences industry is experiencing a wave of new sales trends, and organizations are adapting to attract new customers and alter their sales processes to meet evolving market demand. Sales expertise in navigating regulatory landscapes and understanding diverse healthcare systems is crucial for revenue growth.
  • Customer Engagement: Building and maintaining strong relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders, from healthcare providers and institutions to research bodies and patients, is at the heart of sales strategies. These relationships are built on a deep understanding of customer needs, ensuring that the organization’s offerings align with market demands. Companies should not ignore the importance of modernizing sales teams in the life sciences industry to meet the demands of a hyper-competitive, customer-focused market.
  • Innovation Feedback Loop: Sales teams are on the frontline, gathering insights from the field that are vital for continuous product improvement and innovation. This feedback loop ensures that the organization’s research and development efforts are closely aligned with real-world needs and preferences.

The role of sales in life science organizations extends beyond mere transactional interactions; it involves strategic engagement with the ecosystem, driving both market success and the advancement of healthcare solutions.

According to recent McKinsey research, some 75 percent of the value captured by innovative life science companies came from applying a combination of levers in three areas: marketing and sales, manufacturing, and procurement.

The Importance of Finance

In life sciences, where the path from research to market can span years and require substantial investment, the finance function plays a pivotal role

In fact, life sciences companies have $217b tied up in working capital that could be better invested to drive long-term value.

Here’s how:

  • Funding Research and Development (R&D): The lifeblood of any life science organization is its ability to innovate. Finance departments ensure that adequate resources are allocated to R&D, balancing the need for innovation with financial sustainability. This includes not just funding internal projects but also evaluating and investing in partnerships, licensing agreements, and acquisitions that can accelerate the path to innovation.
  • Scaling Operations: As life science companies grow, scaling operations efficiently becomes paramount. Finance guides this expansion, making strategic decisions about where and how to invest in manufacturing, supply chain, personnel, and infrastructure.
    The Ernst & Young industry benchmark analysis reveals that life sciences companies have billions tied up in working capital. A change in the way life sciences companies manage cash flow maybe required to release this value. Hiring the right finance professionals means ensuring growth is not just rapid but also sustainable.
  • Risk Management and Compliance: Navigating the complex regulatory environment of the life sciences industry is a critical finance function. They do this by providing strategic resource allocation, risk management, and ensuring that the organization’s financial health supports its mission of innovation and growth. Additionally, the need for life sciences executives to prepare for future investments by shifting to a comprehensive strategy for both balance sheet and EBITDA performance is critical.

Finance in life science organizations is more than just number-crunching; it’s about strategic resource allocation, risk management, and ensuring that the organization’s financial health supports its mission of innovation and growth.

Strategies to Put into Action for Life Science Organizations

For life science organizations aiming to harness the full potential of their sales and finance functions, the following strategies offer a roadmap:

  • Aligning Sales and Finance: Encourage regular communication and collaboration between sales and finance teams. Joint planning sessions and shared goals can ensure that both functions are aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives.
  • Investing in Technology: Leverage technology to streamline operations and enhance collaboration. CRM and ERP systems can provide a unified view of customer interactions and financial operations, improving efficiency and decision-making.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: The life sciences field is constantly evolving, and so should your teams. Invest in ongoing training for both sales and finance personnel to keep them at the cutting edge of industry trends, regulatory changes, and technological advancements.

For Those Ready to Hire

For organizations looking to hire in the life science sector, prioritize candidates who demonstrate not just technical expertise but also a strategic mindset. Sales professionals should be adept at relationship-building and market analysis, while finance candidates should exhibit a strong understanding of the industry’s unique challenges and opportunities.

For startups, focusing on building a solid foundation in both sales and finance from the outset can set the stage for sustainable growth. Prioritize investments that enhance market understanding and financial resilience, ensuring that your organization is well-positioned to navigate the complexities of the life science industry.


The growth of life science organizations is intricately tied to the strategic roles of sales and finance. Life science organizations can navigate market complexities, drive innovation, and achieve sustainable growth by fostering collaboration between these functions, investing in enabling technologies, and focusing on continuous improvement.

As the industry continues to evolve, the synergy between sales and finance will remain a cornerstone of success, guiding organizations through today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.

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