Archives for February 2018

Medical Device Sales… How To Win the Game that Never Really Ends…

Salespeople in the medical device industry have a lot on their plate.

These salespeople have to find new customers, meet with them a ton, follow-up countless times with all stakeholders, (not just the physicians), attend surgery, sometimes follow-up with actual patients all the while making sure their product is always on the mind of the surgeon so when the right patient walks through their door, that reps device is what’s on the physicians mind. (dang… I was running out of breath saying all that. My middle school English teacher would not be impressed.)

This kind of work requires a focused approach from initial interaction to the first time the surgeon uses your product and beyond.

Indeed, more than most sales positions, the onus on a medical device sales rep is to maximize revenue from return customers all while competitors are nipping at their heels… over and over and over…

Medical Market Development Means Getting Data, When You Need It

The most important objective for the medical device salesperson is offering a product that solves a real problem for a doctor in the field. But the product itself is only half the battle.

The other half is building a community of customers that rely on your insight and utilize your products because they believe in, not just the product, but the salesperson too. The surgeon believing in the rep (I know this may sound completely crazy to people not in this industry, but the physician surgeons really do rely on a lot of these reps for advice in the Operating Room, or in more cases than ever before, their business acumen and market knowledge.)

The sales cycle of the medical device salesperson really isn’t a zero-sum game like many industries. Physicians have little switching costs. They can change products from month to month, day to day or even surgery to surgery. The salesperson really is fighting to grow their business, keep their business and defend their business on a daily basis. This industry truly represents a never-ending sales cycle.

So how can you go about winning that never-ending sales cycle? Here are some tips:

Isolate Your Target Group

Far too often, sales reps will set out on the road with tons of information and a perfect product that can totally solve a problem for a physician. They start going door-to-door in their region and hope to make a good first impression by ‘sticking to the script’ they devised beforehand.

This approach is proving far less effective than isolating your target group and formalizing an unique approach to each customer.

Maybe you should try using that nifty CRM your company spent 6-7 digits on and see if it uncovers information about the docs you want to call on but never have… negative ghost rider, it only shows information from current customers or past customers. AWESOME. So, here we are… back to old school again… Newsflash, it doesn’t have to be that way…

With the “non”-CRM ProSellus which provides individualized data points on each customer, such a honed approach is possible, all in seconds, all in the palm of your hand. So not only do you make a better first impression – you can also create notes about a customer and use it to inform your follow-up meetings (ie. What the doc likes, what they don’t like, who’s their scheduler, what days do they operate, what are past experiences, etc).

Never Close the Door on a Customer

Consistency is your bread and butter in the medical device sales industry. Consistency in communication, consistency in product design, and consistency in marketing approach. You never want to be in a position where you have ignored a customer for over 2 weeks, because it makes a poor impression and quite frankly looks like you don’t care.

Do you really want their business anymore?

Probably not if you never reach out with new product options or customer referral options. ‘Never close a deal’ must be in the back of your mind every single time as you make a visit to a recurring customer.

Keep Things Informal, Well kind-of…

The best kind of salesperson is more like a friend that is a business consultant than the average box-opening “sales person” (Don’t get me started on “box-opener’s” they’ll be the first victims of the Rep-Less Sales Model.) Doctors have workflow issues due to ineffective technology all the time. The only people that can help improve their workflow are medical device sales reps, who come in with innovative technology, experience and offer effective solutions. Why not make the most of that recurring relationship! It beats going out and fighting hard to earn new customers every month to meet your quota.

The key is building an informal relationship with your customer that goes beyond your product and walks into the world of business.  You are going out on the road and helping your customers solve business problems every day. This will get you MUCH further down the road.

If you’re an invaluable resource that creates value consistently, constantly showing new innovative ways to approach their business you will not be replaced. You’re simply too valuable.

And lastly, a few blogs back I wrote about the Rep-Less Sales Model; if you don’t manage your business like it was described above, I can assure you, you run a very high risk of being a victim of this model, and company’s are looking for any way to move to it.

If you’d like to talk more about winning the game that never ends or want to learn more about ProSellus the Healthcare “non”-CRM check us out at www.ProSellus.com

What Qualities Make a GREAT Medical Device Rep?

What Qualities Make a Great Medical Device Sales Rep

  • Diligent.
  • Positive.
  • Engaging.
  • Convincing.
You know the normal ones… and then there are these…
  • Innovator.
  • Strategist.
  • Ruthless Competitor.
  • Out-of-the-Box Thinker.
The second 4 are adjectives that describe the “rainmakers” in the medical device sales industry. They are often misunderstood. Sometimes perceived as arrogant. Sometimes the marketing department doesn’t like them because they don’t fully embrace the message marketing wants distributed. You know the people we’re talking about… they stick out.
There is one thing though that everyone notices about these reps. You can always see the “wheels” turning. These reps never stop thinking of ways to differentiate themselves, and many times it’s not to differentiate themselves from competitors as much as it is that they just want to be several steps ahead… of everyone.

Like any commission-based work, the ledger of your success is measured by the amount of time you put into it and the connections you build in the field. But these medical device reps don’t take it a step further, they take it a mile further (for example, they help build physician referrals to solidify their base of business and lock out competitors).

As a medical device sales rep, you are responsible for doing your own research, making the in-person visits, closing deals, and following up with existing customers to make sure no opportunity is left untapped. Even though prospects are bright for 2018, the competition is still so fierce that failing to be a Leader in your sales strategy means losing customers. So, no, it’s not the product that is holding you back – it’s the approach you take to your work. There are multiple characteristics that separate a great medical device sales rep from an average medical device sales rep, including:

An Ability to Make the Most Out of First Impressions

Making a great first impression might sound like an old adage you could apply to anything in life. That’s because it is.
It is especially important in the medical device sales industry because customers make decisions quickly and take ages to change their mind. The Rainmaker’s in this business do their homework (ie. what product(s) does the physician currently use? Does this physician see every rep that offers a free lunch? Is it worth my time? What competitors does this physician, or has this physician, done research or consulting work with? And these are just a few…)

A sales rep worth their stripes will know how to get their point across quickly, know what is important to the physician clinically and in business while showing their product off effortlessly. What does that mean in practice? It means prolonging your first presentation until you are fully prepared. It means doing the hard research to find out exactly what the customer or prospect needs, including the history of the hospital and its stakeholders. It means developing a set of contingency plans so that when you walk into a sales presentation you can engage the customer at different levels and make it hard for them to say no. They create the environment where the potential customer has a really hard time saying no. This seems like it could take forever right? Maybe not…

Knowing How to Stay One Step Ahead of the Sale

Foresight is key in the industry because opportunity is precious. A great sales rep knows they need an excellent medical device sales tool like ProSellus at their disposal to isolate targets and map out interactions with key players involved in the sale. They also know to contact all parties involved beforehand to ensure the deal goes through. Connecting with other manufacturers, distributors, and various parties at the hospital during the discussion stage is a great way to push the deal along and keep everyone on the same page.

Also, part of staying ahead means solving roadblocks and creating value on the way to success. A great sales rep knows how to open doors and influence key stakeholders to ensure nothing gets held up in the transnational process. Your Rainmaker’s create an environment where NO is never the final answer.

A Thorough Follow-Up Plan

The follow-up plan is your insurance. All too often, sales reps take a flimsy approach to the follow-up. As most of you know, selling your product is only part of the deal in this business. The service required to keep customers happy and coming back to you is paramount. A great sales rep is the one that is thinking several steps ahead, that means clinically and sometimes, equally as important, in business. They are viewed as the true experts in the market. Keep in mind… I didn’t say expert only about their product… I said the entire market.

Lastly, if you would like to talk more about the Qualities to that the best Medical Devices Salespeople posses or if you’d like to hear more about the ProSellus Healthcare “Non”-CRM, feel free to check us out at blog.prosellus.com

The Rep-Less Medical Device Sales Model: Can It Work?

If you’re in the medical device industry and you haven’t heard about company’s, or your company for that matter, trying to go “rep-less” you’re either living under a rock or don’t want to face the reality.
Buckling down to close a big sale or grow your existing business in the med device industry is hard work. It takes countless interactions with physicians, hospitals, ASC’s and other stakeholders before they are convinced of your product or service. These meetings often happen over weeks and months in the form of emails, texts, calls, and in-person demos, LOTS of in-person interaction. (Did I mention LOTS of in-person interaction?)
The Personality of a Sales Rep is Intangible
A lot of sales reps like to think it’s their captivating personality and rhetorical acumen that gets them a sale or converts a competitive customer in the end. At least this is the attitude of your conventional sales person – the one who bets they can sell anything under the sun because they are just so dang convincing. (And let’s face it folks, most sales managers want salespeople who believe they can walk on water, no matter the situation. These rainmakers believe so much in themselves that failure never enters their minds. These are the people sales managers love to hire…)
[prosellusbanner]
It’s a theory that many people come to because of the nature of sales in the medical device industry. No software program had been devised that could generate more convincing results than the tried and true sales rep model, and so the intangible value of a medical device sales person has stuck throughout the years. And quite frankly, let’s face it, if it was easy everyone would do it!
Until now, that is. Today there are so many impressive medical referral management systems and CRM’s on the market that are “believed” to isolate leads and produce targeted marketing material on an individual level. Indeed, the emergence of truly effective CRM’s begs the question: can manufacturing companies save tons of money by cutting their sales reps and making it work with a medical referral management program or CRM?

The Financial Value for Companies

A rep-less medical device sales model would look something like this:
  • A manufacturing company hires an expensive digital marketing agency and begins putting together a lead-generation strategy for new and existing customers. The price would be lower because no salesman is taking a cut, the bargain being that they wouldn’t have to close as many sales without a sales rep as they did with a sales rep because of the cost savings. (Pretty straight forward, right?)
  • The cost savings could either be realized by the company as higher profits OR the company could pass-on some of those savings to its customers creating a more competitive pricing strategy at the customer level. Therefore, giving the customer what they want: cheaper prices. (And in the end completely devastating reimbursement from CMS, which kills the product or therapy in the long run… awesome.)
  • The physicians they target can read up about products and learn as much as they can about specs virtually. Companies would also offer more frequent labs/training seminars for physicians. They would have to request shipment of a free demo or ask any questions they have with a tele-sales rep and make a judgement based on these experiences. (If you work with surgeons you are probably rolling your eyes right now, thinking, “yeah right… I can totally see my docs doing just that. Sitting behind their computer listening to some bozo over the phone teach them how to operate.” But, virtual medicine is a reality these days and robots do surgery, so don’t think it’s impossible.)
  • The manufacturing company would hope that their digital content is accurate enough to answer most of the questions a physician might have, or customer/technical services can fill the gap. (Big gamble)
This might look okay in theory, but in practice it does away with the most important intangible in the medical device industry: trust between a manufacturer and a physician or hospital. If you ever wondered why building industry relationships was an important feature of the job, you just got your answer.
In most situations, the salespeople in this industry aren’t just Joe Schmo’s who sell a product and walk away. In more instances than recognized these reps are IN the operating room offering feedback and support about products to the physicians. In addition, these reps provide support, service and value that can not be achieved through a “virtual” assistant. This is something that can not be replaced.

However, there are products sold by many medical device reps that are considered commoditized. We’ve all heard it, “A screw is a screw, is a screw.” These are the models where rep-less sales territories are considered first, and in some scenarios considered efficient.

Another example is a very recent interaction I was privy to. A customer of ours was considering a rep-less model for one specific hospital in a major market, but the reality was that at some point they were going to HAVE to use a local salesperson to support the customer. Again, the model didn’t work.

Software Should Not Replace Sales Reps, It Should Help Them

It might take a little while for the company to realize it, but hopefully they will understand the true value of a sales rep AND the true value of a specialized Healthcare CRM. Marketing and sales need to integrate better, not replace one another. The fact is that software cannot replace the intangible human qualities of a sales rep because it is the emotional support and physical presence of an informed representative that is so valuable to a physician. They want to be able to meet in person and develop a bond of trust with sales reps.
At the same time, sales reps need a specialized Healthcare CRM designed specifically for them. Many company’s try the “Big Box” CRM’s and find they aren’t specifically built for their industry and leads to failure. Sales reps need to use a customized CRM that hunts and actually brings them to potential customers and offers insight into these doctors that is meaningful, insightful, and right on point. That’s why they need to use a Healthcare CRM like ProSellus, which allows you to filter by speciality, build solid physician networks, and track the status of your leads – all from your mobile device while you’re out on the road or desktop while you’re in the office!
Lastly, this topic can touch a nerve with many in this industry. We’d love your feedback or experience from attempts to make this model work.
To learn more about how you can avoid being a victim of the “Rep-Less Sales Model” check out ProSellus at blog.prosellus.com