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

Strategy, Sales | May 9, 2018 | 4 mins read

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.


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

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