Finding 'Synergy' With Service Providers

December 17, 2020
Eliza Cabana

Synergy Aesthetics is redefining the product sales model by filling the role of COO for the midwestern aesthetic practice.

One of the biggest challenges a private practice owner faces is filling his or her role as both a physician and a business owner. Many product companies and service providers offer support, but one company is reinventing the way third-party providers work with the aesthetic practice.

Synergy Aesthetics co-founders, Joshua Schoenbart and Brendan Sheil, say their product sales model is less about selling products and more about filling the role of chief operating officer (COO). But Synergy’s not for everyone. They provide their services to a select region they say they know well—11 states across the Midwest: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“We really try to be very comprehensive… on the solutions front, and we’re continuing to refine that and build greater models focusing on marketing perspective, to allow these customers in the Midwest to know that Synergy isn’t just a product company," says Schoenbart. "We are not a distributor. We are not just that third-party 1099. We really are ingrained not only with our manufacturers, but we provide incremental value to our customer base as well.”

The Synergy Model

Driven by the desire to understand the aesthetic practice and fill an unmet need, Schoenbart and Sheil took to the roads themselves.

“We started traveling a significant amount in our first year, co-traveling with our reps and asking a lot of questions,” says Schoenbart.

Notably, their reps are full-time employees.

Looking at three specific areas of focus—practice management, education, and marketing—“We really identified some sizable gaps in the market,” he says.

Across all 11 states and market segments, Schoenbart says they heard similar responses to questions about inventory, education, and marketing:

‘Oh, I'll have to look at my books. I don't think we track that.’

‘We always have to take a week out of our schedule to go to Chicago or somewhere and we're paying thousands of dollars to sit in an auditorium, and it's not really working well for us.’

‘We're so inundated with our patients, I can't really think about social media, or my front desk staff is helping with that, but it's not very consistent.’

These insights ultimately helped to take their product sales model to one that more closely fits the role of COO, filling the need for aesthetic physicians without the time, acumen, or confidence in leaving critical practice growth management responsibilities to someone else in the practice.

Another thing they learned from their research is that in the Midwest, “They all want to be the best you can be, just like if you're living in LA in New York or Miami,” says Sheil. “But how they go about their choices and decisions and what they value is slightly different.”

Ideas into Action

Merz Aesthetics (Greensboro, N.C.), partnered with Synergy to take over the entire midwestern area.

Acknowledging Merz’s small U.S. share of market, Synergy believed it wasn’t a product issue but a consumer- and customer-facing one.

Also part of their portfolio are CAREstream, America’s Pro-Nox Device, and Neauvia North America’s Zaffiro, and NPURE devices.

In terms of what they’ve achieved for Merz in the Midwest, results have outpaced those nationally and Merz has extended their initial contract with Synergy into a multi-tier, multi-year agreement.

“... it's proving that manufacturers can work together through a third party,” says Sheil. “That's a lot of Neauvia’s products are going to help us get Merz products in the door. A lot of CAREstream products are going to help get Neauvia’s products in the door. And it's that we control that message through the front door to that consumer and to that health care provider and we figure out all the leverage points which benefits every manufacturer.”

NEXT: Practice Management and Growth Guidance