Thermo Fisher Harnesses the Power of Analytics to Increase Sales

Intuitive data visualisations bring game-changing insight into customers’ buying habits, and free up 16 hours per month of employee time

When you sell a huge range of products to many different types of customer, knowing precisely who is buying what, when – and why – can hold the key to success. With state-of-the-art analytics from SAS, major pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher gives its sellers eye-catching data visualisations of customer purchasing history, helping to maximise the effectiveness of sales efforts. The business now has a much more detailed knowledge of where and why certain products are selling (or not), and can access this information immediately. This has led to significant time savings now used to further support sales efforts.

Sales teams are delighted with SAS Visual Analytics, because they can grasp what the data is telling them instantly and intuitively – this saves them around eight hours per month of studying spreadsheets.

Aaron Linnell
Business Intelligence Manager, Thermo Fisher

Bidding farewell to blind selling

"We sell tests to clinics, laboratories and other healthcare organisations to help them detect whether a patient has an allergy or autoimmune disease," says Aaron Linnell, Business Intelligence Manager at Thermo Fisher.

"In the past, we compiled and distributed spreadsheet-based reports containing aggregated figures from each sales team. The reports did not give sellers enough detail to show them exactly which customers were buying what products. We had no way of knowing which kits were selling well to one region, market or customer but not to another, so we could have been missing out on golden opportunities. Creating and updating the spreadsheets was time-consuming – particularly since different sales teams required different reports. Additionally, we wanted to improve the service we provide to our customers by only targeting them with products they are likely to buy. We began searching for a way to tap into the hidden value within our data to maximise sales and automate processes."

Seamless transition to a cutting-edge solution

Thermo Fisher decided to deploy SAS® Visual Analytics, and partnered with CSP Labs Ltd, a recently recruited SAS Partner in the UK. CSP Labs provided a complete solution incorporating sales, installation and ongoing support.

"SAS Visual Analytics ticked all the boxes – including slick dashboards and clear visualisations – and featured a wealth of functionality beyond that," remarks Linnell. "For example, we had been separately looking for forecasting software, but SAS® software came with this functionality built-in, so we only had to purchase one solution. CSP Labs completed the deployment in rapid time using their Quick Start programme. The consultants from CSP have worked closely with us throughout, helping us to load our data, perform explorations, and build those early reports and dashboards which not only transferred the know-how but also enabled us to hit the ground running."

Harnessing the power of big data analytics

Today, Thermo Fisher uses SAS Visual Analytics to analyse 650,000 rows of sales data from the past five years. Critically, sellers are able to see which customers purchased what items, sliced by region, date, product or any other dimension or combination. Users can select subsets of data for closer examination, and visualise the findings in a variety of formats to help highlight exceptions that may represent sales opportunities. Staff can also remove anomalies – such as a spike in orders due to a merger between two laboratories – that could skew the results, gaining a crystal-clear view of the business. "With SAS, we can analyse and visualise enormous volumes of data effortlessly," comments Linnell. "I have never encountered a solution as staggeringly powerful as this one."

Unlocking ground-breaking insights

SAS Visual Analytics has replaced a mountain of spreadsheets and days of data collation with a single, automated system. More importantly, the software enables sellers to develop a true understanding of who purchases what, so as to maximise the effectiveness of sales efforts.

Linnell elaborates: "SAS enables us to challenge longstanding assumptions by understanding what the data is telling us. For example, aggregated sales data could only show us that an allergy test was missing sales targets in the Netherlands, but we did not know why. When we scrutinised the data with SAS, we discovered that the shortfall was actually caused by disappointing sales of a product that was previously sold alongside it. The increased detail allowed us to address the matter effectively."

Putting valuable information at sellers' fingertips

"Sales teams are delighted with SAS Visual Analytics, because they can grasp what the data is telling them instantly and intuitively – this saves them around eight hours per month of studying spreadsheets," remarks Linnell. "Now, they can focus on building fruitful relationships with our customers, and selling products more effectively. Our customers benefit too, as they are only informed about products likely to interest them."

In addition, switching to the powerful SAS solution unlocks a one-off saving of 24 days spent manually compiling reports, plus avoids 16 hours per month updating them. Thermo Fisher now dedicates the time saved to developing new ways to support sellers. "Having a wealth of analytical functionalities at our fingertips dramatically improves our ability to pinpoint areas for improvement in our business," continues Linnell. "As a result, we expect a return on our investment in the SAS solution within the first six months."

Ready for the future

Building on its early success, Thermo Fisher plans to use the SAS solution's predictive analytics functionality to work out which products will sell well in each market, and adjust future product launches accordingly. Linnell concludes: "SAS Visual Analytics provides exceptional insight and predictive capabilities that help Thermo Fisher thrive in a highly competitive market."

Thermo Fisher Scientific logo


Thermo Fisher struggled to identify which customers purchased precisely which of its hundreds of products. Without a detailed understanding, the firm was unable to target sales efforts effectively.


SAS Visual Analytics


  • State-of-the-art analytics deliver unprecedented insights into customers' purchasing habits
  • Fact-based analysis of customer preferences enables staff to sell more successfully
  • Intuitive visualisations save each seller eight hours per month studying spreadsheets.
The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.