Marsh Davis: a Friendly Face
For Dechra senior territory manager Marsh Davis, proper education on dermatology products has led to a successful sales career – and lifelong friendships among industry stakeholders.
Marsh Davis has been a senior territory manager with Dechra for the last decade. She’s been in a sales role in the industry in some capacity for 37 years, and before that was a veterinary technician (both companion and equine).
When Davis got her start in sales, new product introductions almost always led to an open door and a conversation with a veterinarian. “The doctors really wanted to know about what was new because there weren’t that many new products back then.” Veterinarians were limited in the ways in which they heard about new products. This was before the internet, social media and digital marketing. There were no emails or virtual continuing education opportunities. In fact, CE wouldn’t become standard practice for a few years.
Now when reps call on veterinary clinics to talk about new products, they must be able to show the features and benefits worthwhile to the veterinary teams, not just spew out information, Davis said. “It’s important you can show them what’s important.”
With information comes education, and Davis said she thoroughly enjoys that part of her role with Dechra. Clinic education is a fundamental focus of the company and its reps. “Yes, I am in sales, but if I can educate well enough about what I have, and show the need for it, the sales come with it.”
With lunch-and-learns, dermatology sessions are particular favorites of Davis. She doesn’t focus necessarily on the products, rather educating veterinarians, technicians, assistants and even receptionists on topics that they can then turn around and teach pet owners. A pet’s skin is the largest organ of their body. There are many differences between human skin and pet skin that pet owners may not realize. That’s where the veterinary team can really help in explaining details such as how pet skin differs from human skin and why human shampoos are too acidic for pets.
The lessons are simple but impactful.
A personal touch
Davis works hard to create positive, impactful interactions with her clients – even when she can’t meet with them face to face. For instance, as soon as Dechra’s sales team was allowed to go back out in the field during the pandemic, Davis put care packages together in little white bags with the Dechra logo for her clients. She would stuff the bags full of product information, pens, sticky notes and candy. Whether or not she was able to meet with the veterinary team, she would leave these care packages for them as her calling card. Her clients came to look forward to these personal gifts. “It’s funny, little things like pens and sticky notes and a handful of candy, just made them feel better.” To this day, her clients still look for those bags when Davis visits.
Sometimes, the conversations come to her. Over the years, Dechra managers from across the organization have sent new reps to Davis’ home in Virginia to work with her. Davis and her husband live on a horse farm with a suite attached to their house. She will host them at the farm and walk them through how she conducts her lunch-and-learns and product demonstrations. “I let them try the different shampoos that we make so they can see how they smell, how they lather, and the results they get,” she said. “It’s fun to have them come back and tell me how they’ve used some of the ideas we discussed with their clients.”
Davis is willing to invest in those new reps because so many people have invested in her career. She can list off dozens of reps among distributors who she has worked alongside in their territories and watched grow their business or move on to management roles within their organizations. She recently hosted a party for one of her longtime distributor partners who retired in April.
“We’ll often have veterinarians, practice owners and reps out to our farm for barbecues,” she said. “Things like that are fun. The people you work with and for become your friends, not just colleagues. I do think that’s important.”
Just as important to Davis is maintaining loyalty to her distributor partners. If a distributor rep has taken her into a clinic, she won’t go back into that clinic with a different rep. “That clinic won’t see me with one person this month and another person the next month. They see me with the original rep or by myself. I think the distributors really appreciate that, because they don’t feel like I’m going to try to get another distributor in there. I don’t play those games.”
Not even with family. Davis has a niece who works for a distributor, and she’s already told her that they won’t be going into a veterinary clinic that Davis has already visited with one of her other distributor partners. “Loyalty has probably been one of the keys to success for me in working with distributor reps,” she said.
Life on the farm
In her free time, Davis and her husband take care of a lot of four-legged children – nine horses, five dogs and two cats.
They buy young thoroughbred horses before they go to the racetrack and train them for fox hunting. Indeed, Virginia is known for its fox hunting (Davis said there are more than 27 hunting clubs in the state). The Davises are part of a club that hunts from September through March. Their club has about 80 Fox Hunting Hounds that are crossbred from the American Fox Hound and the English Fox Hound, which is the Virginia state dog.