On 3rd of March 2015 Veeva Systems (Veev) releases their Q4 2015 earnings report and I am keenly waiting to see what the company reveals about it’s fortunes and prospects. This is not because I’m a re-training to rejoin the ranks of the iBankers or indeed because I’ve got a fetish for B2B Saas providers results (although before anyone asks and by way of disclaimer I’m long despite the hearty valuation ($4 billion) that the company is currently trading at and our company www.nitro-digital.com are Veeva development partners). Need some context – $4bn, it’s a big number. Royal mail is around $6bn) and Veeva was only founded in 2007.
Why then? Well to answer that a bit of context. Veeva achieves it’s high valuation because it is regarded as the primary disruptive technology in a largely reactionary (for justifiable safety and regulatory reasons) industry, the pharmaceutical industry. It’s also in a global industry with a consequently large market and it’s a company that has historically demonstrated fast growth on the back of it’s SaaS + marketing automation approach. Clients value the regulatory needs Veeva fulfils at a time of great change in the industry that is struggling to get to grips with marketing in a world where not all doctors want to see a sales representative, and, for those that do want to see a representative they want a more experiential and discussion forming engagement than that provided by a sample set and paper sales aid.
Enter the world of the iPad armed representative. Veeva while not the first has proved to be the master of applying internet economy SaaS principles to the still in demand traditional human based sales process by hooking up an iPad armed sales representative to the companies salesforce.com based CRM system. Thus providing a compliant and updatable environment along the way, increased content flexibility and breadth to the representative and datafied effectiveness measurement back to their sales managers.
Sounds good right? Well it’s not perfect and indeed if you took the view that using sales representative to deliver drug product information (as opposed to a more collaborative co-creative representative approach) is somewhat old school you could well be given to thinking that Veeva’s just another CRM and will become commoditised in a market where there are less reps and legacy competitors who won’t be sitting on their laurels.
I doubt that’s Veeva plan and in their Approved Email and Digital Asset Management (DAM) products you see the nub of delivering the ‘omni-channel’ strategy that pharma wants. Roadmap items give a nod to greater interaction experiences.
Good luck to them and anyone else who can crack it I say. We build alot of iReps (Veeva’s iPad detailing framework) but it would be great to see the deployment of a full marketing automation suite.
But, what does all this mean for their results and in turn why am I interested in what it means for the industry?
In general terms good numbers for Veeva (>8 cents per share earnings for q4 2015) will reflect not just a greater uptake for them but more generally be a proxy for the rate at which the industry is embracing digital / multi- / omni-channel marketing and the switching of budgets more generally. So good news for Veeva investors is good news for the industry IMHO. Beyond the headline it’s worth considering the breakdown and any guidance given on the uptake of revenue from their emerging product lines or markets. Again, that in turn is good guidance for the industry and good strategically for Veeva.
So I say good luck Veeva, here’s to 8 cents per share for the quarterly number and if not it’ll be hands on the sell button, although long term I’d be inclined to look for opportunities to buy it as it’s one of the very few companies that have discovered real scalability in the pharmaceutical marketing sector.
I’d love to hear what you think about Veeva or pharmaceutical digital marketing.
PS: Our service www.caduceus.social is a wonderfully innovative game changer for a social marketing service to tag onto your Veeva multi channel suite campaigns