Archives for May 2018

As Healthcare Changes, So Should Healthcare Reps. Here are the Must-Have Skills in the New Healthcare Market

The healthcare industry is changing as rapidly as the ER moves on a Saturday night.

Pushed forward by the many technological advancements of the past several years, we are now in what’s called the 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) is making this transformation happen, merging the digital and the mechanical into one system that can be remotely operated, or even allowed to manage itself automatically. Unsurprisingly, these trends push for the entire business environment to change; causing some coveted jobs and skills to become completely obsolete, or at least less valuable and relevant, in the process.

The Old vs. New

With this turning of the tides, medical device salespeople need to redefine themselves and change the way they operate or risk becoming obsolete. (ie. RepLess Sales Model)

In the not so distant past, medical device salespeople were hired in overwhelming part on the ability to sell (which makes sense right?). With the new tactics and strategies in place by medical device firms the look and feel of the medical device salesperson is starting to change.
No longer are the “Relationship Rep,” or the “Competitive Rep,” considered the top candidate. Are those qualities important? Of course, but not as important as they once were.
There’s an increased emphasis on metrics, data, and analytics, as well as the ability to pitch to CFO types.
These are skills the new Medical Salesperson needs to have.

Engaging Healthcare CFOs

Most salespeople are well versed in tackling the OR, but when push comes to shove, almost none of them are ready or willing to engage in an in-depth meeting with the CFO. Unlike the typical OR sessions, a one-on-one with the Executive Suite needs to address the financial concerns and priorities of the hospital and how your device will impact the overall revenue and expense forecast.

In an article by Health Leaders Media, it says that “CFO’s are feeling the pressure to trade in their spreadsheets for crystal balls, when what they really want is a good way to integrate long-range financial planning with the tactical cost reductions they are implementing every day.”

For salespeople to have a serious and comprehensive discussion with a CFO, they need to address pricing and reimbursement upfront but understand the entire market the hospital competes in. Salespeople with a better understanding of stakeholders and how their product or company can impact the overall strategy of the Hospital are the one’s who will get Full Access and never be told no.
If you or your company is only worried about the product being approved by the Value Analysis Team, you’ve failed before you’ve even begun.

Can the current salesperson look beyond face-value of the price and look further into the long-term relationship with the hospital? Most can’t, which is why RepLess or Rep-Lite Sales models even exist.

Analytics & Data Driven Decision Making

The next key skill set many medical device firms look for in reps is the ability to analyze data, understand their market, and make an informed decision based on numerous factors. Less and less Sales VP’s and Market Managers are impressed with the “I trust my gut,” approach to the market.
The stakes are too high for the companies that are depending on market penetration to trust the gut of the salesperson who’s been in the market for 5 years. These firms want their salespeople to partner with hospitals and surgery centers at the CFO/CEO level.
This partnership and relationship almost guarantee’s your product isn’t nixed the next time the hospital tries to “bid out” the service line.

Understanding the Market (Not Your Customers)

In many cases when a Sales Leader is interviewing a candidate for a sales position in a market the inevitable question about the market comes up. It usually is stated in some fashion like this:
“I see you’ve worked in the Phoenix market for several years. Tell me about the market.”
In the salesperson’s eyes, they think this is their time to shine about all the customers they know. And in many cases, it is. However, in the new Healthcare Market the customers are important, but what’s more important is where are those patients coming from and is there ample supply of patients for the market to grow?
The new Sales Leaders want to know that the salesperson they hire isn’t just plugged into the customer market, but the entire market. For example: Who are the largest Primary Care practices or docs in the market? Which docs influence the market? What underlying relationships exist where the company could gain an immediate foothold in the market?
These are the answers the Sales Leader wants to hear from the person they are interviewing. They want a salesperson who UNDERSTANDS the entire market.
Are you prepared for that?

Are You Ready to Transform Yourself?

Most salespeople will openly say they’re up for the challenge but do so with hesitance.
Let’s face it, change isn’t easy. However, faced with extinction change suddenly seems like an easy thing to do.
The first thing reps need to do is truly get plugged into their market. Start asking questions about referral sources. Go meet with these docs. The easiest sales call you’ll ever make is the one where you’re not selling anything. Go talk to the big hitters in Primary Care. They’ll tell you exactly where you need to be!
Next, talk to your company about Financial Proforma’s for CFO’s. Don’t ask for one so you can have it in your bag. Ask for one so you can UNDERSTAND the financial position in the market. Go meet with the VP of Finance at one of your hospitals. Don’t do it to sell your product. Ask their opinion. Ask them what keeps them up at night. Ask what direction the hospital wants to go in the next 3-5 years.
These conversations will help you educate your customers but more importantly, position you in a great place when it comes to meeting with the CEO & CFO of the facility you’re working in.

Conclusion

This may seem like a tall order, which is why ProSellus is here to help.

ProSellus can provide the market analytics for you or your entire sales team all in a simple-to-use mobile application. Never be caught on your heels again when talking about your market.

To learn more about ProSellus check us out at www.prosellus.com

Medical Device Sales: Are the Best Salespeople Teaching Docs How to Make Money? You Better Believe It!

With 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, another 4 years of residency, and another possible year of fellowship, there are at least 13 years of training physicians go through before they officially start practicing medicine on their own. That’s a whole lot of school!

During these years of training, one would expect that physicians know everything there is to know about how to become a successful doctor. Except for 1 tiny detail…
No one taught them how to run a business!
Now, in all fairness, learning how to operate a business successfully requires years of learning, and there are only so many years in a person’s life to spend on learning so many complex fields of study.
Nevertheless, this is the nature of the healthcare industry today and, for better or worse, many doctors need to know how to handle patient care and how to manage their business.
Period.

Running a Private Medical Practice

There are plenty of inherent risks when opening a private medical practice. Regardless of the variables and the specialty of that practice, one such undertaking is said to cost at least $100,000. It includes everything from contractors, equipment, other startup costs, as well as all payrolls and bills until a stable revenue stream is established.

David J. Zetter is a lead consultant at Zetter Healthcare Management Consultants and a member of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants. He said, “If you’re not independently wealthy, or you just have enough money to set out the cost to open but also need to have operating capital until revenue comes in, then you need a loan.”

As reimbursement declines and physicians are taking the financial hit on the chin, it’s no wonder there has been such an increase of consolidation within the healthcare industry.
Doc’s simply can’t afford it, and typically they don’t have the business chops to find additional sources of revenue to off-set declining reimbursement.

The Power and Influence of the Salesperson

Do the best salespeople teach their docs how to make money? You better believe it. (And you wonder why that doc you can’t flip from the competition is SO loyal to the rep who has an inferior product.)

Due to the nature of their business, salespeople are presented with an excellent opportunity to show their real value to physicians. As what we’ve spoken about until this point is a definite problem for most doctors. Salespeople can help by providing valuable insight on how to enhance revenue and manage their practice.
The ‘currency’ of the healthcare industry is, without a shadow of a doubt, physician-to-physician referrals. No private practice can ever hope to be successful if its patients are only those who looked them up on the internet.
Listen up salespeople…
If you’re as good as you think you are, I’m willing to bet you’re pretty well connected in your business. (ie. You know a lot of people.) Monetize those relationships!
Become the building block for your physicians. Introduce your docs to others and help them expand their network. The value this can bring is immeasurable.

Additionally, keep your ear to the ground. You’ll hear other reps or some of your physicians talking about “deals” they’re in. Whether it’s a new imaging center taking physician investors, or some other healthcare related business, introduce these ideas to your customers. Introduce All of these deals to your customers, let them decide if they want to be involved.

Become the GO-TO person for all things business related for your customer. You will successfully transform yourself from salesperson to business consultant, and 100% of the business is yours.

Conclusion

In the new healthcare economy selling a product, even a great one, isn’t enough. If you can’t become a trusted business advisor to your physician customer, then you’re just like everyone else spitting out clinical studies. Boring to your customer.
If you truly want to differentiate yourself and solidify your place in your market as the “Go-To” person… I challenge you to start approaching this business differently!

To learn more about becoming a consultant to your physician customers or to learn more about ProSellus, go to blog.prosellus.com

The Commodity of Healthcare Sales: Patients

Like almost everything in the world today, healthcare is a full-fledged industry. And like any other industry, it must run smoothly and be connected enough to offer its services to those who need it the most.
The name of the game is patient care, and the commodity of the game ar the patients themselves.

Physician referrals are what keep this game going, as it were, creating business relationships, increasing revenue, and saving lives.

Think of it like this… any engine needs fuel to run. If you have fuel in the engine, you go, if you don’t have fuel, you don’t. Whether the doc is an individual private practice physician or the largest Healthcare System in your market. If there are no patients, there is no fuel.

With no patients, everything comes to a screeching halt.
This is where I challenge all the salespeople out there to stop and think about their business a bit differently. You’re told to sell your product based on what the customer needs and wants. Have you ever stopped for a minute and REALLY talked to a customer about what they need and want, irrespective of your products? Most haven’t.
The overwhelming answer every time I spoke with a doc: patients.

So, how do patients get to a specialist? For one, they can look for a specialist over the internet which happens a lot. In many cases though insurance programs create a barrier for the “self-referral” so many times the patient is referred by another physician.

Studies indicate that doctors receive over 45% of their patients by referral, usually from other physicians. This trend in the healthcare system is indicative of several factors: increased specialization, a lack of time for complex cases, and a fear of lawsuits for not consulting an expert.

In the end, patients need specialized care, and in many cases that means a referral to a specialist… but why are they referred to THAT SPECIFIC SPECIALIST?

Physician-To-Physician Referrals

Physician-to-physician referrals are, in a sense, the lifeblood (the fuel) of the healthcare industry, acting as a currency in the day-to-day transactions that happen in the medical world.

Common sense would say referrals should be based solely on the patient’s needs and the skill/reputation of the physician that the patient is referred to. But, since healthcare is a business, logic doesn’t always apply, or maybe it does, just not the way you always envisioned it.

What we’re saying here is this: Most patients believe when they are referred to a “Specialist” they are referred to that specific physician because they are “best in class.” And in some cases, that’s correct. Unfortunately, the reality is, this isn’t usually the case.
In many cases patients are referred to specialists who have some sort of a relationship with the referring physician. That may mean that a reciprocal referral relationship exists or maybe the recipient of the referral sends patients to the referring physician’s MRI Center or some other investment. Whatever the case, it seems most referral relationships in Healthcare are part of the circular flow of commodities cycling through the system.
There also seems to be an interesting relationship between primary care and specialist physicians. On the one hand, specialists are better paid than their counterparts. It’s primary care that has the most versatility and autonomy.
They are the Gatekeepers of Healthcare. They are the ones who refer patients to specialists, and its specialists that need to keep primary care physicians happy, especially those in densely populated and doctor-saturated metropolitan areas.

The Solution

It shouldn’t come as a surprise doctors are actively looking to form and maintain these physician-to-physician referral streams – they are the currency of the medical community. With the right tools at their disposal, healthcare salespeople can intervene in this previously-mentioned exchange and act as intermediaries to facilitate the creation of secure, reliable, and long-lasting physician networks.
The best salespeople in the Healthcare Industry aren’t salespeople at all… they are brokers, deal-makers, relationship managers and above all else they understand physician referral patters. They understand where the patients come from, and most importantly to their business… where they need to go
Designed and created by the best salespeople in the industry for salespeople, ProSellus is a mobile sales tool developed after years of selling medical devices in the field. Its emphasis is efficiency and effectiveness, by providing salespeople with everything they need to help their physician partners build and expand their business.

In a sense, ProSellus is not a tool that sells medical products. ProSellus is the tool that catapults you, or your reps, from being the average salesperson to the most coveted asset that has ever walked through the customers door.

By making you an indispensable part of a physician’s practice and turning you into the most valued resource the customer has, ProSellus makes your job of selling medical devices a walk in the park.

Conclusion

Technology is completely changing the way companies conduct their business. Technology applies equally as well in the healthcare industry. Instead of focusing strictly on the sales of today, ProSellus empowers its users to create the business opportunities and loyalty of tomorrow.
If you would like to learn more about ProSellus request your demo today or feel free to reach out to me directly: scottwalle@prosellus.com

Medical Device Sales: Non-Traditional Selling Strategies (What do you do when you have an inferior product?)

The traditional sales training you received at your first company, or subsequent companies, was either feature and benefit-driven, or in many cases… non-existent.

Typically sales training, even at the best of companies, is clinically driven. What does that look like in practice? You spend all your time learning about the product, a little about the businesses you are selling to, and then you’re taught how the product works. (In no particular order)

Here is the hard reality when it comes to selling 100% clinically. If you sell 100% based on clinical evidence and rely on the, “my product has all the evidence to prove it’s better than my competitor(s)” strategy and then the doc says, “I agree,” what are you going to do when your competitor actually has a better product? You’re done. Game over. Your customer will simply say, “you sold me on your product being the best… it’s not anymore… so I’m going to switch to your competitor…”  Done deal. You’re out. How’s that taste?


During all of this clinical training, it may have dawned on you that you were not receiving any sales STRATEGY. The closest traditional sales training gets to cultivating strategy is breaking out in role-play at a district or regional meeting. Which don’t get me wrong, is very valuable. Maybe a couple of associates share insight from their experience about what to say, or not to say, at certain times or what kind of tone to take in meeting with a reluctant client. But where is the REAL strategy? What are the proven methods to use when approaching a potential customer? And how can they be adapted to fit the unique needs of each client?
Where are you learning which KOL’s (Key Opinion Leaders) in your market ACTUALLY influence many others in the market? You’d be amazed how far a loyal doc who has influence over others can take you…

The reality is this: Most business leaders don’t know what your reality is…

Most business leaders are so far removed from the nitty-gritty world of sales that they don’t know what it takes to win over a customer. They can look over reports, strategize on long-term business maneuvers, and manage a diverse group of people just fine. These are, after all, the areas of expertise for a manager and business leader to excel in. But when it comes to sales strategy which actually takes place in the field, in front of the diverse customer base, in many cases they know as little as the receptionist. (Sorry if that stings for some, but let’s face it… it’s true.)

The point is: everyone has their area of expertise, including those of us in sales. And it just so happens that the winners of today are 10 steps ahead of industry norms and traditional sales strategy. In each company, there are over-achieving salespeople hungry for success who deploy a unique strategy that will never make it into an industry survey or list of top 10 sales strategies.

Some call it being the “Alpha Salesperson” which can’t be taught… true or no?

The Alpha-Salesperson

Alpha-salespeople are the ultra competitors. They typically figure it out on their own, just get out of the way.
They are the people who see a potential opportunity and work tirelessly on every angle until they capitalize. Like a painter filling a canvas, a natural born salesperson will follow their intuition with each client because they trust themselves to make the right move, at the appropriate time. This proactive approach means they have found novel ways to drive referral relationships to their implanters and build lasting relationships with clients based on trust and results, not always based on clinical evidence or features and benefits.

So what is one proactive sales strategy deployed by the winners of today?

Finding ways to recruit patients who are candidates for your procedure or therapy into the hands of your surgeons. There are numerous ways to go about this strategy, depending on the type of procedure, product, therapy, etc. you sell.

To give an example: let’s say you work in the ultra-competitive Neuromodulation market selling Spinal Cord Stimulation.

As one of several SCS systems on the market you’ve got your work cut out for you when selling to the fast-growing pain management space. These docs have more options now than ever before and with systems selling over $25,000 per case, reps are fighting for every single one.
One of the ways is to perform research for your area of coverage with a Healthcare Hunting & CRM Tool to determine which physicians have the highest concentration of patients who could benefit from your procedure. And we’re not talking about the pain docs, we’re talking about the Gate Keepers of Healthcare, the Primary Care Physician (along with several other specialties).Next, I would partner with my implanting physicians, Hospital and ASC marketing teams and put together a strategy to capture those patients. After all, with ProSellus you can finally see who they are…!In many cases these docs (the referral sources) don’t even know about your product or how it can help their patients. Maybe you should take your selling road show outside of the feature and benefit parade and start talking to the actual source of these patients.

Folks, this is just one example of one product in one specialty.

This applies to the ENTIRE Healthcare Industry. If you are tired of finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack at your company it’s time you start doing something different than what hasn’t worked in the past.

Conclusion

As you can see, non-traditional selling strategies are truly the key to success in the medical device sales industry. To learn more about Non-Traditional Sales Strategies or to learn more about ProSellus, visit us at www.prosellus.com