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 biggest factor to consider when developing a sales territory map is the amount of physical space you are covering. For direct organizational representation, typically the territory is the entire United States, but increasingly, the representation is focused OUS as well. Distributorships can have territories as small as one physician or can be tailored to specific states or regions. Since the client is ultimately the physician, choose representation that is close enough to answer physician requests when needed.
Can your organization afford to increase representation to develop new territories or are you in the grassroots stages of a startup? Though it takes time, patience, and some money, consider increasing your sales force. Hiring representation to develop new relationships can be extremely lucrative to any organization. If that is not an option, align your sales reps in the areas that demand the most attention. This may force you to take a closer look at your current sales team and organizational goals. This article from Entrepreneur offers useful tips to organize an efficient sales force.
Though this may be really obvious, align your sales force in the locations that provide you business. Your physicians, hospitals, and surgery centers are your biggest clients. Consider relocating or realigning some of your best representatives to cover the map where your business is most concentrated.
Relationships are the cornerstone to any successful business and selling effectively to maintain these relationships is key. Treat your reps and their established relationships with care. This is the steady business that keeps you operating. If you are looking to increase your portfolio, protect the business you have and hire new reps for the expansion. Don’t give your competition the upper hand by stretching your sales force too thin.
The quality, novelty, and sometimes even the amount of products you represent have a determining factor in aligning your sales territory map. As a small distributor, you may be focused on the one niche product in your bag, but you should also consider picking up other products within your specialty that could add ancillary sales (or dropping those that don’t generate any interest). Diversify when you can justify the risk and expense.
Bruce E. Jacobs discusses this balance. Though his article is dated, the information on determining product performance factors is still relevant.
Determining performance measurements for products in the portfolio requires you to define the minimum level threshold of performance each SKU must meet to remain in the portfolio. Typically, these measurements are not defined. Performance measurements that should be considered may include:
Every organization experiences change. Physicians move, surgery centers open, sales representatives leave, companies are merged or acquired; the list goes on and on. Change is inevitable and most of it is positive. So when considering how best to align your sales territory, keep an open mind as to how your organization will adapt to change.
Take a moment to look at your organization organically from a different perspective. Listen to your clients’ needs. Organizing a sales territory map is about filling the bases that will drive home your organizational goals.
Learn how territory alignment software works for your company in Representing Your Sales Territory: Part Two, Analysis.
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Sarah Pike, M.B.A., is a freelance marketing copywriter based in San Diego. She enjoys writing about business, fashion, food, healthcare, leadership, motivation and technology.