Archives for April 2018

Medical Device Sales: How to Win Business from the Doc Who DOESN’T Want Your Product

Having the door closed in your face is one of the many character-building experiences you have to experience in sales. While salespeople go into every meeting assuming the customer will decide to give your product a try, the reality is that winning over the competitive physician is the exception rather than the norm. It’s never as easy as it sounds…
We’ve all been there when a major physician’s office turns their back on you. They’re not interested in another meeting and are progressively shutting you and your company out of communication with them.
If the first harsh truth is that closing competitive customers is the exception, the second harsh truth is that you need sales to survive. It’s a sink or swim situation. Your business depends on growth to stay afloat, and without it, you are bound to be replaced by a smarter, more agile competitor.

So how do you grow your business when the biggest fish, or quite frankly any significant physician, won’t use your product?

Step 1: Understand the Physician you are targeting doesn’t have all the control

In healthcare today, specialty physicians depend and even rely on referring physicians to send them new patients (i.e. customers). It’s the only way they have patients to implant a particular product, write a certain prescription or request a certain diagnostic test or therapy.

The first step is tracking the circular flow of patients from one doctor to another. Where do they come from? Where do they go to? Realizing that the physician is in consultation with many other physicians about patient treatment will open up many doors for you.

In short… everyone answers to someone…

Step 2: Find the “Gate-Keepers” of Healthcare

In the general sales process, when we refer to the “gate-keeper,” we are typically referring to a person or entity that allows or blocks access to the target customer. You know… the nice person at the front desk who doesn’t ever just “let” you in…
In healthcare, the “gate-keeper” of the healthcare industry isn’t the nice person behind the front desk at your specialists office… it’s the Primary Care physician who controls the circular flow of patients.
These physicians are not so much blocking access to the target customer as they are looking out for the interests of the physicians they refer patients to. If you are selling a specialty medical device, prescription drug, or even a diagnostic, chances are you have never been to a Primary Care docs office! (This is where ALL of the patients come from…)
The fact is that you have missed a tremendous sales opportunity. Primary care offices are usually where decisions are made regarding treatment options for their patients, who wind up being referred to the specialty doc you are targeting. It’s a full circle!
It’s vital that you isolate Primary Care offices and approach them for a product demo as soon as possible. Most of the time, the PCP may have heard of your product but have no idea who it can help or which specialty physician to send their patient to who utilize these new devices or therapies.
But rather than track down and meet all 3,412 primary care docs in your territory, shouldn’t you just talk to the few that are feeding that doc who won’t sit down with you? The answer is Yes, and the solutions is right at your fingertips.

Step 3: Growing your business from the inside out

Once Step 1 and 2 have been properly undertaken, it should only be a matter of time before you start seeing some positive changes. What if a major PCP starts sending their best patients to your loyal physician customer instead of the physician who won’t meet with you? They would have made the change after realizing, thanks to you, that there are other, and sometimes better, options for their patients.
Suddenly, the tide begins to turn.
There’s always more than one way to skin the cat!

Step 4: How do you find those big referring physicians?

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… how in the world do I find out who these PCP’s are who control all the patients I’m looking for?
Well, first, you can always ask the competitive physician who won’t see you… (yep, you’re right… that’s a non-starter. I mean really… what physician is going to print out a list of their biggest referring physicians? You guessed it… non of them.) There aren’t many places salespeople can find some of the referring physician data. It’s typically reserved for the company who has a budget in the tens of millions. It’s certainly not an option for the small distributorship or individual rep… or is it? One of the significant draws to ProSellus is that it provides a lot of this data, all in the palm of your hand.
ProSellus will also show you who the busy primary care physicians are who have relationships with the specialty docs you can’t get in front of. Often, you’ll find it’s a local Ortho, Neurosurgeon, or Neurologist sending patients. The perfect candidate to set up a meeting with.

Conclusion

The world of Healthcare is changing folks.
If you can’t get in front of the “whale” in your market or can’t fight the consulting dollars your competitor is paying, you can just give up right? Your job depends on you finding a way to grow your market.
ProSellus is the tool more and more companies are turning to in order to shift the tide of competitive advantage.
Don’t get left out.
To learn more about ProSellus and our proprietary software platform go to www.prosellus.com

Healthcare Consolidation and the New Age of Selling

In recent years, the healthcare industry has been undergoing a general shift towards consolidation. Rather than let independent physician clinics go their own way, hospitals swoop in and buy ones that are struggling or choose to no longer be in limbo based on reimbursement rates to stay afloat.
The cause of this trend is a double-edged sword. The fact is physicians have seen declining reimbursement for clinic visits, surgeries, etc. for the past two decades. This is why you see physicians looking for ancillary forms of income to boost their personal revenue.
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has done little to improve the situation for physicians, as preventative care is now free for many. Some clinics are so close to the fritz that a choice has to be made: either stop the practice altogether or join the employ of a hospital.
Giving up independent control of how a clinic operates is never an easy decision for a physician to make. Hence the double-edged sword.
Hospitals, for their part, are willing to come to the rescue because it means a flock of new patients. So, it’s a win for the hospital – but is it always a win for the physicians?
healthcare consolidation

Salespeople Must Adapt to the New Hierarchy

Given the evident limitations of the physician in a hospital, the salesperson must find a way to adapt. If they can’t get in front of the decision maker as quickly anymore, and that decision maker doesn’t have the influence they once did, a new approach is needed.
A new sales approach should take a holistic look at each potential client. Rather than seeing it as one person you need to convince, a salesperson should look at all the personalities at play and have a strategy for each.
To develop convincing strategies for each decision maker, the salesperson needs to become more analytical, more business-minded (Think like them!).
In many cases partnering with their surgeons to put together a plan that not only benefits the patient and surgeon, but the hospital or medical facility as well.

There is safety in numbers

There’s a lot of truth to this!

Individual surgeons may have been stripped of their original power, but a group of surgeons requesting a specific product be available is an entirely different thing.
Even in situations where the product may cost more, no CEO or CFO wants to take on a group of surgeons. If the surgeons ever decided to walk, that CEO is in a world of trouble. There is simply too much revenue generated by surgeons to lose a handful of them to a hospital competitor.

Circle the Wagons

We’ve talked many times in our blog posts about selling in the new age and partnering with your physicians to help generate referrals. This is your opportunity to take that the grand stage and have your surgeons fight for your product.
In a world where your end-user customer has less and less leverage you need to take advantage of every bit of leverage you can create… and folks this is the ultimate leverage in healthcare: patients.

Conclusion

The healthcare sales industry is at a pivotal place where the big players are consolidating power and negotiating hospital system-wide contracts. Sales reps need to realize that small players are being swallowed up, and along with them goes traditional selling strategies. What are you doing to change your approach to selling in the 21st century?
To learn more about non-traditional selling strategies or to learn more about ProSellus go to blog.prosellus.com or email me directly at scottwalle@prosellus.com

The Changing Face of Medical Device Sales: Selling Beyond the OR

In case you haven’t noticed, the role of the medical device salesperson is changing quite dramatically.

Selling used to be all about creating a personal connection with the physician, who has traditionally made all the big buying decisions. Salespeople would buddy up with the physician and forge a relationship in the operating room that extended to fishing trips, sporting events, and birthday parties for the kids. Nurturing the relationship with the physician customer was, in some ways, the be-all-end-all of the seller’s strategy.

Today, the strategy of an effective salesperson is far more multi-faceted. The opinion of the physician is one of many links in the sales funnel chain, as key players have entered the decision-making process.

Salespeople need to consult with, and appeal to, the:
  • Surgeon support staff
  • Materials/supply manager
  • OR nurse manager
  • Other management stakeholders charged with running the clinic, ASC or hospital

An expanded list of stakeholders can be troublesome for the majority of salespeople because the reality is most are still relying on the buddy-buddy relationship model, except their “buddy” doesn’t have the influence they once had. (Think: Victim of Rep-Less Sales Model)

But when faced with declining sales and commission, in a fiercely competitive industry, how do salespeople transform from “Product Consultants” to full “Business Consultants”? How do they know who the biggest fish are in the market and what drives them?

Strategies for Selling Beyond the OR

Salespeople need to take a step back and shift their perspective of the industry. Healthcare is a business just like any other, except healthcare deals with real patients and their lives.
This is why healthcare salespeople need to be flexible. They need to keep the patients they serve in mind, while at the same time foster a new business approach to their craft.

Here are 3 strategies to consider when aligning your new sales approach:

1. Be Flexible in Your Plan

Have you adjusted your outreach efforts to match market trends? Research shows that doctors are very open to digital communication or in-person meetings, just not both. If you are not consistent and flexible in your approaches, client retention rates will start to fall.

2. Tailor Presentations to the Needs of Each Stakeholder

Relying on a generic pitch when presenting to a hospital administrator is not going to cut it anymore. According to a recent study, 51% of doctors say they already know the information being presented to them. The same goes for administrators, who have more time to keep up with industry news. Position your presentation about your product and how it will impact the entirety of the physicians and hospitals business.

3. Invest in Your Team

If you are using a conventional CRM, chances are it’s not compatible with the demands of the industry today. Salespeople need to be the first to know about clinical studies, research, physician records, and hospital spending patterns. An advanced tool like ProSellus will provide a higher level of data about physicians and hospitals in your region, offering crucial insight into opportunities for increased sales.

In particular, ProSellus generates the kind of information needed to understand physician relationships with their internal team as well as their physician referral relationships.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what networks your targeted physicians are already plugged into?

Conclusion

These 3 strategies would drastically change the salesperson’s approach to each customer, or potential customer. ProSellus, an advanced tool designed to be a “Non-CRM” for medical device sales reps, does all this in the palm of your hand.
To talk more about the Changing Face of Healthcare or to learn more about ProSellus check us out at www.prosellus.com

The Rep-Less Medical Device Sales Model??? How to avoid being the next victim…

As a healthcare salesperson, the threat of losing customers is always there, simmering below the surface. You want to give customers everything they need to make the most of your product, but you also know that we have entered a world where manufacturers and hospitals will make the move that resembles less-reps if given the chance.

However, the threat of being dropped in favor of rep-less sales model should not be disheartening. It should encourage you to be a better salesperson by reflecting on your approach and finding ways to improve physician targeting and offer better value to each customer.

The Traditional Approach to Medical Device Sales

In medical device sales, there are absolute “bare minimums” salespeople have to achieve.

For example, you need to finish the year, quarter, etc., reasonably close to your sales targets. In striving for this goal, you wind up providing product demonstrations for customers, nurturing new targets via phone and email correspondence, and using some sort of software system to target physicians in your area.

But aside from hitting your sales targets, what kind of value do you offer customers?
The traditional medical device salesperson would say they provide value by:
  1. Being on time
  1. Being prepared
  1. Being informed about the finer details of a surgery
  1. Always having all products needed
  1. Being “Johnny on-the-spot” during the case

While these qualities may have cut it in the past, in 2018 they are considered the bare minimum requirements of the job. (I train and work with healthcare companies of all shapes and sizes. You’d be amazed when I ask what value they bring to their customers and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “I’m on time. I’m prepared. I have all of my implants. Etc.…”) If you can’t offer more than the 5 simple things above, you may as well pack it up and find another job.

Those 5 things, that many salespeople believe is providing value, is the bare minimum. It’s simply the price of admission to a very expensive game.
If this is the value you or your salespeople bring, then you do have something to worry about when you hear rumblings of a rep-less sales model.
Period.

How Can You Differentiate Yourself?

The reality of today (and the future) is that hospitals and manufacturers are looking at cost-effective alternatives to the direct sales rep model. If you want to avoid becoming a victim of the rep-less sales model, you may want to try the following:

  • Identify the most critical services each customer wants. It’s not good enough to be the salesperson who the office likes or is just “good” in surgery.
  • After working with the same customer for a some length of time, you should know what it is they value. Is it an ability to call you with any questions they might have? Great, then keep yourself available.
  • Or is it the fact that you offer them affordable product solutions to issues they did not even know they could solve? Even better. That means you are listening intently to their problems and staying on top of product development in the industry.
  • Bottom Line: the M.O. should be to find nuances in the customer relationship that competitors don’t notice, and exploit that.
  • Look for a unique service you can provide that customers cannot live without. How can you show your value beyond the traditional model? It all depends on the needs of the customer and the insight you have in the industry. It also means looking outside the traditional purview of a salesperson and offering solutions to other operational issues.

How To Offer REAL Value to a Customer: Patient Outreach

A rep is only as successful as the customers they keep.
If a physician is not adding new patients, their business death is an impending reality. Not to mention if they’re not adding new patients they have no patients to prescribe a pharmaceutical for, provide diagnostic tests to, or implant medical devices in…

Patients are the lifeblood of any physician practice. (And I don’t care if their practice has been purchased by the hospital. They NEED patients to survive. That will never change.)

They are the commodity that keeps the physician practice alive. If they are suddenly hard to come by, then everyone on the supply side is going to lose out.

An engaged salesperson should realize patient outreach for the physician, hospital, clinic, etc., is in the best interest of everyone involved. If the salesperson can influence where patients go, it means they enjoy significant influence in their region and can offer their customers unique value that no other salesperson can. (And quite frankly, this is what keeps the lights on.)

A physician will quickly realize the immense value of a salesperson who can bring in new patients and offer cutting-edge products for testing and surgical procedures.

Conclusion

Finding pockets of real human value in the sales process is incredibly important in this day and age – otherwise, you risk being replaced by some kind of rep-less or less-rep model that puts a premium on dollars, not you or your relationships.

If you’d like to talk more about not becoming a victim of the Rep-Less Sales Model or how to truly deliver value to your healthcare customer, check out what we do at blog.prosellus.com .

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