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

Strategy, Sales | May 29, 2018 | 4 mins read

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

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