Medical Design & Outsourcing - Interview with Marcia Coulson on Selling Customer Satisfaction
Marcia Coulson is the president of tubing, fittings and bag port manufacturer, Eldon James (Denver).
Coulson has been with Eldon James for 31 years since the company’s founding in 1987.
After selling real estate for 15 years, Coulson was looking for the opportunity to sell her own products. In 1987, she purchased a few molding machines and five molds from her parents and set up a small shop in Loveland, Colo. As the business grew, Coulson diversified and saw product potential in the pharmaceutical, life science sector and later in the food and beverage market. In 2007, Eldon James’s PVC-free tubing product line was introduced. The company has since doubled in size over the last 10 years.
MDO: What first drew you to manufacturing? When did you first know you wanted to be in the industry?
Coulson: Real Estate is a service industry and you need to be very good at sales and customer service. I believed if I could take what I had learned from real estate and apply that to my own product line I would be successful. I grew up with manufacturing in our garage and was not intimidated by the thought of manufacturing.
MDO: What are some of the barriers women face in today’s medtech industry, if any?
Coulson: I have never felt barriers. If you know your product and you understand why the customer needs your product you can present the facts. Once you have shown the industry you have what they are looking for the doors open.
MDO: Describe your biggest leadership challenge. How did you conquer it or resolve it, or what was the outcome?
Coulson: Finding good employees is my biggest leadership challenge. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. We are expanding and the market is very tight. We continue to be very selective and only hire the best.
MDO: Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
Coulson: Treat your employees and your customers well. People work with and for the people they enjoy. Customers buy from companies they like.
MDO: In your opinion, what more can be done to promote greater participation of young women in the medtech industry today?
Coulson: Women naturally want to help people. We need to show them that medtech manufacturing is playing a huge part in helping people. It’s the small accomplishments we make every day that have a huge impact on the industry.
MDO: What career advice would you give to your younger self?
Coulson: Make sure you manufacture a product. If you are selling someone else’s product you have to out-service all other salespeople. Be sure you manufacture a product you believe in and know that you manufacture the best quality and then offer the best service.
MDO: Why is it important for companies to be more inclusive and have more women in charge?
Coulson: Women often offer better customer experiences. They often soften the sales approach and make the customers more comfortable. Women are very detail oriented and multi-task better than men.
We’re just launching the new products and our customers’ reactions are so positive and fulfilling,” she said. “It feels like a perfect storm right now … we’re blessed that now is the best time.”