The “Must Have” skills of the Medical Device Salesperson are changing… Are you?

Strategy, Sales | May 29, 2019 | 4 mins read

The healthcare sales 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’re now in what’s called the 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.

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. (i.e. becoming a victim of the “RepLess” Sales Model. And before you jump all over me for even mentioning the “RepLess” Sales Model, keep reading. Ignoring that possibility, no matter what your opinion is, is no way to continue thriving in this industry.)

In the not so distant past, medical device salespeople were hired in overwhelming part on the ability to sell (which makes sense right? That’s what you’re there for after all). With the new tactics and strategies in place by medical device firms the look and feel of the salesperson is changing… rapidly

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 the C-Suite (and if you think everyone has that skill set, just go have a 2-minute conversation with the “case coverage rep”).

These are some of the skills the new medical device salesperson needs to have.

Engaging Healthcare CFOs

Most salespeople are well versed in tackling the OR and working with physicians, but when push comes to shove, almost none of them are comfortable engaging in an in-depth meeting with the CFO. Unlike the typical OR session, a one-on-one with the C-Suite needs to address the financial concerns and priorities of the hospital and how your device will impact the overall revenue and expense forecast. (Not just reimbursement vs cost of device.)

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 market dynamic the facility 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 winners in this battle.

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 “Rep-Less” or “Rep-Lite” sales models even exist.

Data & Decision Making

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 the market, and make an informed decision based on numerous factors. (Not just does Dr. “A” do a lot of a certain procedure, therefore he is target #1)

Less and less Sales VP’s and Market Managers are impressed with the “I ‘know’ the market and I ‘trust my gut’,” approach to the market.
The stakes are simply too high for companies to depend on the “gut or field experience” of the salesperson who’s been in the market for several years. These firms want their salespeople to truly partner with hospitals and surgery centers at the CFO/CEO level, where the real decisions are made.

Understanding the Market (Not Your Customers)

In many cases when a sales leader is interviewing a candidate the inevitable question about the market comes up. It’s usually sounds something like this:

“I see you’ve worked in ‘Phoenix’ for several years. Tell me about the market.”

In the salesperson’s eyes, they think this is their time to shine about all the key 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 those patients coming from? Is there ample supply of patients for the market to grow? If so, at what rate? And for how long? Can this specific market support multiple reps?
The new sales leaders want to know 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. They want a salesperson who UNDERSTANDS the entire market.

Are you prepared for that?
Let’s take a look…

Step 1: Get Plugged In

The first step salespeople need to take 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!

The key here is PAY ATTENTION. These conversations aren’t for lip service. These docs can lay out the market for you. They are the gatekeepers of patients. Every specialist wants a relationship with the big primary care practices… it’s how they survive.

Step 2: Understanding the Finance’s

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 and it’s long-term benefits and pitfalls. Be prepared to take the conversation either way.

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. Try to understand their issues through THEIR eyes. This will only help you position your product or service.
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.

Conclusion

This may seem like a tall order, which is why ProSellus is here to help.
ProSellus provides the market analytics for your entire sales team, or individual salespeople, all in a simple-to-use mobile application. Never be caught on your heels again when talking about your market.
If you would like to learn more about ProSellus check us out at www.prosellus.com

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