Heribert Kailbach, Marketing and Sales Director –“The fundamental business laws are universal and strategies don’t get lost in translation”

Interviews | 2016

Starting January 2016, Heribert Kailbach is now the Marketing and Sales Director of MediHelp.

You have broad experience in banking and finance. How do you feel about this career change and transitioning into the health insurance sector?

Heribert Kailbach: It is an adventure and a challenge at the same time. Nevertheless, the private health insurance sector is not one I’m unacquainted with. At the beginning of my journey in the banking area (while working for Volksbank Sindelfingen e.g. today Vereinigte Volksbank AG), I was also active in health insurance sales’ activities for private clients.

Now it will be the core business for me, which is something different. The health insurance market is competitive and complex one that requires continuous education and research in the field.

What do you consider to be the challenges facing you in this new position?

Heribert Kailbach: My objectives include updating the customer care strategy for the retail and corporate divisions, as well as identifying new opportunities of positioning and developing strong growth in sales. Developing a unique “know how” and conducting rigorous market research are the main challenges at this point.

How do you think your banking & finance expertise will benefit Medihelp?

Heribert Kailbach: My expertise cannot be restricted solely to banking and finance. It would be like saying an ophthalmologist can only prescribe glasses and medication just because none of his patients needed surgery, yet. I think being open-minded to qualitative changes can help turn challenges into opportunities, so I plan on adopting this principal at MediHelp, also.

The various positions I have held over time have actively contributed to what I can now call “experience”: from creating organizational structures and development strategies, to team management and establishing a personal leadership style. At the same time, I believe that the network of contacts I have assembled over the years, both locally and internationally, will be of great benefit in our future plans at MediHelp.

We know you have a keen interest in golf. What are some aspects of golf etiquette and rules of the game which can be applied to the healthcare arena in Romania?

Heribert Kailbach: Golf is probably a sport where you are easily humbled. There are days and weeks when you feel like you are mastering the game, but then you have days and weeks when you realize how much you have to learn. When this happens, what you can usually do is re-examine what you already know and ask yourself “What can I do different?” or “What can I do better?”.

This flux-reflux law is an aspect I can correlate to a business. There isn’t a standard recipe for success, no matter if we are referring to consolidating losses or growing profit, or even developing a startup.

Golf is also a sport which teaches you discipline. It’s training which frees your mind and, at the same time, it challenges it.

You have travelled a lot over the years and had the chance to understand and experience how other countries function. As a professional, what would you say are the most important lessons you have learned from your stay in Romania?

Heribert Kailbach: One of the most important lessons learned from my ex-pat experiences is that you always need to expand and cultivate a “growth” mindset, just like Carol Dweck calls it in her book. We need to constantly encourage change, evolution and transform the “judge-and-be-judged” into “learn-and-help-others-learn”.

At the same time, I have learnt that the fundamental business laws are universal and strategies don’t get lost in translation. The team you have alongside you is also a key-factor. When you have the right people doing the right jobs, you can achieve the highest levels of performance.

Marketing is a fast-paced, intense field. What skills or personality attributes do you believe are necessary to succeed in this industry?

Heribert Kailbach:  You should not immediately run with every idea which comes into your head.  Each and every idea needs to be backed-up, analysed and explored. Certainly, you mustn’t lose sight of the major market trends and, sometimes, you can even be the one anticipating a positive trend.

A good example here is introducing smartphones to the market. Even though this started happening in the late ‘90s, only in 2007, thanks to the “Apple era”, did they become widespread. We have replaced standard PCs with laptops, tablets and other gadgets which have radically changed the way we live our lives, either professionally or personally. According to statistics, 19 smartphones are sold every second, this is exactly why I believe it is important to be not only a marketing person, but also a co-creator.

Who is your greatest inspiration in life, and how have they influenced you personally?

Heribert Kailbach: The birth of my two children and the happiness to see that they are healthy has inspired me the most. From this you learn you can't control everything; sometimes you also need a bit of luck.

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