Prospecting has dramatically evolved in the 21st century, and a big part of that has to do with social media. LinkedIn prospecting has become a way of life for many savvy sales professionals, embracing social selling. If that’s you, then you know how important it is to be active on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a user base of over 500 million professionals, including over 60 million senior-level influencers and 40 million decision-makers. With this large number of users, your ideal healthcare buyers are there, too. It’s a perfect opportunity to connect, educate, and build relationships.
While you’ve probably been prospecting on LinkedIn through traditional methods, how are you leveraging LinkedIn healthcare groups?
How important are face-to-face sales interactions in healthcare? Extremely important. In fact, there are probably very few highly successful healthcare sales reps that ever do business other than face-to-face. Why? Healthcare sales are all about relationships and typically relationships are developed, nurtured, and protected at a greater rate when they are done in person.
Top healthcare sales reps understand the difference between selling and relationship selling. Relationship building adds value to the sales process. Simply having a conversation with a new physician or purchasing department can reveal areas that need solutions and improvement. (Providers tend to seek solutions for patient care while healthcare organizations often seek means to ease the bottom line and maintain a standard of excellence in patient care.) Relationship sales also focus on eliminating concerns before a big purchase.
Shiela Kloefkorn from the Phoenix Business Journal sums it up like this:
Relationship selling is imperative if your product or service has a higher average selling price. Your prospects want to know that you’ll still be there for them after the sale if something goes wrong. To create that level of trust and faith, you need to build a solid relationship with prospects before you ever try to close a deal. These days, without a relationship, prospects are unwilling to risk buying an expensive product.
Now that we understand the value of face-to-face interactions in healthcare sales, let’s discuss what else you gain from these personal interactions.
Whether it’s good or bad, industry news does impact how you approach sales meetings with prospects. Because so much is happening in healthcare, each day can look different, however; it’s still important to be up-to-date on how the industry is changing and evolving so that you can be relevant to your audience that is likely needing to react to the next big story.
Healthcare sales is similar to baseball. With the right team in place, and the right skill sets, your business can come out on top. Whether you are setting up a distributorship, working on your own, or managing a group of sales representatives within a large organization, it is important to establish representation that covers the desired physician population, in the most efficient and cost-effective ways.
There are two methods that effectively address the sales territory map. In this first blog, we are going to pitch the organic approach. In the second blog, we will discuss running Carevoyance data analytics and territory alignment software. Combined, these two methods are a grand slam when deciding how to best represent your given territory.
When using the organic approach to develop a sales territory map there are many factors to consider. These can include the size of the territory, the number of sales representatives within the organization, the number of physicians within a territory, current established rep relationships, the value of products in a bag, and the dynamic of change. The list is as specific or as vast as needed to achieve optimal territory alignment — and it is not exclusive to these factors alone. Use these as a starting point (or reorganizational point) of consideration. Incorporate territory alignment software. Then continue to re-evaluate as change occurs within your sales representation, physician population, product portfolio, and sales territory map.
The role of the medical device sales professional is shifting and changing, mostly due to innovative technology. Instead of simply being reactive, you have the ability to be more proactive in a controlled manner that doesn’t eat up your time. The key to increasing touchpoints and segmenting leads? Sales automation software.
If you aren’t sure what you should automate, start here. This article will take you on a tour of what’s possible and help you decide what’s best for your business need. Ultimately, you want to automate medical device sales in an approach that ensures your prospects get relevant information, and the breadth and depth of your sales conversions increase.
If you’re brainstorming for content ideas before writing your next sales email to a prospective doctor or hospital executive, consider focusing on a current healthcare issue. Using current healthcare issues as the focus of an email is a great way to capture attention — after all, your potential clinical customers and administrative prospects are hungry for information. They need to stay on top of the latest regulatory announcements, research breakthroughs, population health trends, insurance and managed care news, and other healthcare issues that help them stay compliant and on the cutting-edge.
The challenge for healthcare professionals in the digital age is that it’s hard to keep up. Medical technologies are advancing quickly with regulations in the healthcare industry constantly evolving. Keeping current with all the news healthcare professionals need takes time — something most of them can’t afford to spare. Moreover, with all of the information that bombards them on a daily basis, it’s difficult to sort through it all to find what’s worth spending time to read.
Serving up relevant healthcare news in an email can have real value to your customers. If successful, writing a sales email focused on a current hot topic from the healthcare industry may further benefit your marketing and sales department — with a better email open rate.
According to the AMA’s Physician Practice Benchmark Surveys, over 47 percent of physicians were recorded as practicing medicine in a private medical group in 2016. While physicians have been increasingly abandoning private practice in favor of employment by hospitals and health systems, doctors in private practice still make up a significant portion of the medical population and can provide sales reps with a sizable amount of business.
Typically, hospital deals require long sales cycles involving multiple stakeholders and many touchpoints over months (or even years). The rewards can be huge — long-term purchasing agreements, commitments to purchase expensive capital equipment, strategic buying contracts — but these sales take a lot of time and resource. Selling into medical groups or private practices can often be more straightforward and less complex, leading to quicker buying cycles.
MedTech sales is usually a long, involved process. To add even more complexity, one of your prospect’s key employees could resign mid-negotiation. Becker’s Hospital Review reports that healthcare organizations experience a higher-than-average executive turnover rate — 18 percent in 2017 — and tracks about 100 healthcare executive moves per month. Additionally, although healthcare executives usually give more than the two week notice that’s standard in many other industries, a significant increase in “effective immediately” healthcare executive resignations occurred in 2018.
If not prepared for this situation, your MedTech sales team could be left wondering what to do when a point of contact resigns and how to salvage the time and effort invested in their client relationships.
The days of the community hospital seem to be numbered, as more and more healthcare organizations continue to merge into mega health systems. The decline of the local independent hospital has been driven by a number of factors including evolving reimbursement models, requiring greater operational efficiency, and changing demographics leading to volume pressures on community hospitals.
With greater competition from larger facilities, financial problems have plagued community hospitals, further fueling the trend toward consolidation. But is bigger better? And, what does the new mega health system mean for medical sales representatives that sell their products and services into these larger, more complex entities?
If you run a sales team then you are all too familiar with the pressures of ensuring each sales executive is well-trained and equipped with the tools needed to their job.
Selling medical technology, healthcare service, or clinical equipment to doctors and hospitals requires a unique set of skills given the complex subject matter and the life-and-death situations many products and services can impact. As the healthcare industry faces pressures on cost and quality, clinical salespeople are in the line of fire. No longer can you hire based solely on a sales rep’s Rolodex and personal relationships with a network of physicians who have bought from him or her before. Today, healthcare sales processes involve a complex path involving clinical and business stakeholders carrying equal influence.
Given this reality, you may be looking for ways to build new skills within your sales team or up-level existing pockets of potential within the team. Medical sales training programs may be one avenue you are exploring. A quick Google search for “medical sales training” will bring up hundreds of programs, all promising to give you the secrets to identifying top prospects in your target market, executing a successful outreach, conducting persuasive follow-ups, and closing sales. In addition to sales basics, an effective medical sales training program should also be product or practice specific, equipping the sales rep with knowledge about the MedTech systems that they’re selling, how physicians use them, and the value they provide to the patient and clinician.
It’s vital that you do research and plan out the specific goals and outcomes you seek before investing your time and your team’s time into one of these programs, not to mention the direct financial expense to your budget. Carefully consider these options before you decide on a course of action.
Patient-centered care is more than a buzzword; it’s evolved from a theoretical strategy to an operational reality across medical practices, surgery centers and hospitals alike. For organizations to deliver on the promises of patient-centered care, there must be meaningful engagement. One tool to ensure this occurs is the Patient Engagement Framework, a model created as a guide for healthcare organizations. It allows them to develop and bolster patient engagement strategies by using e-health tools and resources.
The increasing focus on patient engagement is a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and related programs to ensure the US healthcare system is focused on quality, not just quantity, of care. The ACA aligns Medicare payments to improved productivity, efficiency, and quality metrics, including patient engagement and care experience.
As a MedTech professional, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with all five stages and how you can contribute to your prospects success at every step.
You may be baffled at why sales emails to physicians don’t get better click-through rates. Consider this possibility: You aren’t making it clear what the physician should click.
The centerpiece of sales emails to physicians needs to be clear calls to action (CTA). Devising email CTAs that get results for your MedTech company, however, is a skill you need to develop — and novice email marketers are prone to making some common mistakes.
Long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) work hard to differentiate themselves through the level of quality care they provide. Not sure what differentiates a LTCH from the more common general acute care hospital? While LTCHs are certified as general hospitals, these facilities focus on treating patients with more complicated conditions, requiring longer times to recovery.
Patients treated in LTCH typically no longer require the extensive diagnostic and intensive care delivered at general acute hospitals but require more care than can be delivered in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility or the home. Given the complexity and cost of treating these types of patients, administrators who run LTCHs are motivated to understand, measure and continuously improve the quality of care delivered to their patients.
Your MedTech system may deliver promising solutions that significantly impact a LTCH’s ability to maintain and improve the quality of patient care at their facility. Aligning that value proposition to each prospect’s unique situation should be part of your message during the sales process.
Including information about your technology in your email marketing to physicians can help build awareness and get the message across that they are market leaders in progressive, innovative, and quality patient care. However, before they can use your MedTech system to enhance care and convince physicians that they are the right choice for their long-term care facility, you have to convince both your administrative and clinical buyers that your MedTech system will deliver value to their organization. Here are four ways to communicate your value-add through your marketing and sales processes.
Your MedTech company’s success is directly tied to your clients’ success. The healthcare organizations benefiting most from your systems or services need to maintain an adequate patient volume — and adequate revenues — to operate and continue to use your products. Patient leakage (i.e., patients seeking care or receiving referrals outside of a healthcare organization or outside of an expected catchment area) can threaten your clients’ ability to maintain volumes which impacts their viability, and in turn, could create a negative impact on your bottom line.
According to a study by referral management platform Fibroblast, 87 percent of healthcare executives consider patient leakage extremely or very important, although about one in five healthcare organizations do not understand where and why leakage occurs. In addition, 43 percent of healthcare executives say they’re losing more than 10 percent of annual revenues due to patient leakage.
Understanding where patients come from — and where they go — will provide valuable insights that you and your clients can use to make business decisions that lead to greater patient volume and greater profitability.
Whether you attend as an exhibitor, for education, or to advance your business, medical technology conferences offer great opportunities to network, stay current on industry trends, and inspire your team. Among the many MedTech conferences you could put on your 2019 calendar, these 10 stand out as the best investments of your time and resources. Make sure to register early – and don’t forget to book your hotel!
Imagine your team has been iterating on an innovative idea for a new MedTech device. So how do you decide if commercializing that product will result in ROI for your business? Costs to develop MedTech products can be significantly higher than in other industries, which makes commercializing a new product a high-risk proposition. To ensure your team makes a smart, informed decision for your business, start by estimating the potential market opportunity.
“Market opportunity” is defined as a need or demand in a market that a company can capitalize on by introducing a new product or service. You should be able to express market opportunity in terms of numbers, not just by describing trends. For example, it’s not enough to say that a current product on the market doesn’t work well enough so surgeons will want to upgrade to the new device. Instead, you should be able to determine the size of the market in units and dollars and how much market growth (or decline) that market will experience in the next few years — which allows you to calculate the revenue you could expect to capture with your innovation.
To develop a clear picture of a new product’s potential market and calculate market opportunity, follow these four steps.
MedTech salespeople are understandably so focused on their day-to-day sales activities and quotas that they often miss opportunities to improve their knowledge, skills, and networking opportunities. The most proactive MedTech sales professionals tend not to wait until they are seeking a new job opportunity to connect with thought leaders and read up on trends in their profession, but it’s challenging to find the time to participate in, much less seek out associations and networking groups.
Not to worry. We’ve compiled a list of sales associations and networking groups that medical technology salespeople should know.
There’s no escaping the reality that MedTech sales are getting harder in the new era of value-based healthcare. Hospitals and their health system parents are getting squeezed financially. The same reality applies to larger medical groups, ACOs, and just about any other healthcare provider business model.
As the pressure is increasing for the healthcare industry to make more careful purchases, mergers and rollups that are increasing the size of IDNs are giving these larger organizations more negotiating leverage, and not just with payers.
This means that MedTech companies also feel the financial pressure. Price sensitivity (always an issue) is more acute than ever, and value-for-price considerations are a major focus for the customers of MedTech companies in their evaluation of medical technology purchases. Further, product life cycles in the MedTech market are longer, and differentiation between competitive products is more difficult and less driven by features of the technology. Decisions to purchase refurbished equipment are increasingly driven by price considerations and what is “good enough” rather than best in class.
In this challenging business environment, how can a medical technology company scale its sales model to help increase sales system efficiency and hit company sales targets?
The MedTech industry is having another active M&A year, fueled by new technologies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) broadening their portfolios to provide new products to the markets they serve. Mergers, however, can create uncertainty for your customers. They may have heard horror stories of how doing business with a company can change after a merger. Perhaps they’ve even experienced firsthand a decline in customer service or product quality — and in the MedTech space, neither of those is acceptable.
Your sales team is the strongest and probably the most influential connection you have with your customers. Here are five tips that can help sales reps retain current customers and, ideally, even close business with prospective customers during a merger.
The most successful businesses don’t rest on their laurels, and they never get comfortable. Even if you have a great product, it can only take you so far within a given target market before your growth begins to flatten.
MBA students and marketing majors learn about market development as one quadrant of the Ansoff Matrix in Marketing 101, but it’s important for salespeople to understand and contribute to market development as well.
Market development directly affects sales success, and salespeople are on the front lines with the customer - daily. That close connection to the customer makes sales representatives very valuable in identifying new market development opportunities.
The sales process is increasingly complex for customers and suppliers in many industries, including medical sales. Mapping your sales cycle accurately can help simplify the sales process and shorten the sales cycle for your sales team and your customers.
How complicated has the process become? Here are some eye-opening, assumption-challenging statistics:
The following aims to provide your sales and marketing teams with a good road map for simplifying and abbreviating the medical sales cycle by properly mapping it for your company and your products.
What does accelerating sales mean?
Here at Carevoyance we think of sales acceleration as successfully engaging more prospects, progressing more deals to the next meeting, and, of course, making every meeting count. All these steps accelerate you to the end goal which is closing more deals.
Every sales person obsesses over closing more deals. You've got a couple of options here when it comes to accelerating sales and closing more deals --> you can work harder or you can work smarter.
Since there are only so many hours in the day, we are big fans of working smarter!
Let's explore how you can work smarter using data and technology as a strategy to accelerate sales.
Selling to doctors used to be more straightforward than it is today.
Reps could drop by the practice office with lunch or snacks in hand, and catch the doctor in between appointments to chat about the latest products or technologies. Not surprisedly, the MedTech and Pharma industries historically relied on interpersonal networks with individual physicians to execute transactions and drive growth of their technologies.
It's surprising how rapidly and drastically processes for purchasing medical technologies have changed over the past 10 years. Access to physicians is way down as more practices, clinics and hospitals control the flow of sales reps through their halls.
In addition, rather than simply placing orders for products based solely on a physician’s preference, hospitals and other facilities are assessing value across all purchase categories, looking for reductions in costs or an improvements in outcomes.
The changing dynamics is especially true for more expensive products like imaging equipment, surgical robots, surgery assistance tools, complex medical devices and health information technologies or services.
Let's start with a short quiz.
In which of the following scenarios should you incorporate email as part of your marketing strategy?
Congratulations for landing the meeting with the hospital c-suite, physician leadership or perhaps an influential purchasing agent. The bad news? The hard work of selling your medical product or service has just begun!
Not to worry, we've put together a guide of how to up your game during the sales pitch using data to help you tell your story.