Getting Off the Ground in Germany

As founder of a sales-and-marketing unit for a U.S. medical company, Paul Krell has to keep expenses in check while building healthy sales

On New Years Day, 2002, I founded ev3 GmbH, a German subsidiary of ev3, which is based in Minneapolis. ev3 develops new breeds of medical devices, focusing on minimally invasive endovascular therapies.

ev3 acquires small companies that have created great products but lack experience in distribution. ev3 GmbH is a sales and marketing organization in charge of ev3's business in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I'm the managing director of all three, and I ensure that ev3's main products for cardiological diseases, peripheral vessel diseases, and neurovascular diseases are placed in these markets. Most of ev3's products focus on stroke prevention. This is a growth market, as strokes are still one of the world's most expensive health problems.

I am based in Bonn, Germany (I'm also German), right on the Rhine, and report to the general manager of ev3 Europe, who works out of Paris. ev3 Europe employs more than 100 people, 21 of whom work for ev3 GmbH.


7:30 a.m. -- I start my run, which I do every other day to prepare for the Cologne marathon in October. It's fun, and it brings this 39-year-old's circulation up to speed.

8:15 a.m. -- Despite my morning run, I'm no early bird, and I take my time to get started in the morning. I check my voice mail to find out if the U.S. office has left me any tasks or questions overnight. My commute to the office takes only a few minutes as I live next door to work. I greet the office staff and find out about their plans for the day. After that, I have a quick look at yesterday's sales results.

8:20 a.m. -- Conference call with the sales force. We discuss the strategy for the month, which products deserve special attention, what the competition is doing, and where the opportunities lie. The sales manager leads the conversation, but I like to be part of it to stay up-to-date.

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