The workforce is continually changing, and companies must adapt and adjust accordingly. The medical device sales industry is no exception to this. Now more than ever it is crucial to hire and train top talent. When it comes to medical sales the sales representatives require a different level of training than sales representatives from other industries. A well-developed hiring and training program is critical when building a high-performing medical sales team. Your company’s success is only as strong as the performance of your sales reps.
Hiring and training employees can be a large undertaking and can often leave companies with the question of where to even start, but cracking the code to creating a more effective sales training process doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. You can be successful at hiring sales reps and create and inspire a team of medical sales reps who meet and exceed sales objectives, now and moving forward.
Ensure You Are Hiring the Right Sales Reps
Eric Mongeau, a recent guest on the Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast and National Sales Director for Aeroflow Sleep, believes that there is a direct correlation between how well a new rep fits into a company’s sales role and the strength of the customer relationships that are built. This philosophy is the basis for Aeroflow Sleep’s medical sales rep hiring strategy, and can be used across the medical industry to solve the question of how to hire sales reps. Hiring sales reps that fit well within your company is just the first step in building a successful hiring and training strategy.
Optimize Territory Planning
A second thing to take a look at when it comes to hiring sales reps are your sales territories. Evaluating the state of your sales territory planning and making the necessary improvements will help determine just how many sales reps you need to hire and train. This is especially true if the size of your sales team has changed since your territories were last mapped out.
Having strong and effective territory coverage is going to be key to the success of your medical device sales model and assure that you are hiring the right number of sales reps to get the job done. The territories need to be separated so that your reps are evenly distributed throughout the field, their territories are keeping them busy but not stretched too thin, and that they can have meaningful interactions consistently.
Of course, if you are going to redesign your territory planning for optimized effectiveness, don’t try to do it blindly. Base your territory management strategy on your team’s sales data to make informed decisions on how to map out your reps’ territories.
Develop an Effective Product Training Program
Once you have mastered hiring sales reps, these reps will need to be trained. Every medical device sales rep should know the product like the back of their hand. Prospects and customers are looking for in-depth product knowledge from your medical device sales reps. So, the better training your sales reps receive on what they are selling and how to sell it, the more likely they are to close the deal. According to a report from Salesforce Training, providing top-quality sales training will improve the performance of a sales rep by 20% on average.
So, you should double down on the effort you put into your medical sales rep training, both in onboarding and continued training, to continue to see the highest return in sales. In most cases, successful training for your new reps will take place over their first 90 days. This ramp-up period should involve a mix of:
- Deep product knowledge and regulatory training
- Sales tool onboarding/training (including CRM onboarding, etc.)
- Cross-training with the customer service team, clinical team, providers, etc.
- Sales coaching
- Shadowing in the field with a sales leader/trainer
- And finally, on their own, with 30-60-90 day check-ins.
A good medical device sales rep will be able to educate customers on your product(s) and customize the product offering to each prospect’s or customer’s needs and goals. Take the time to properly train your reps with effective sales skills and up-to-date knowledge, to allow them to confidently reach customers with increased success, be the trusted expert, and close more deals.
Training Reps to Make the Most of Customer Visits
Your medical sales rep training process should also include training them on how to make every second count when it comes to going to in-person visits and when they are in front of that prospect or customer. It shouldn’t take multiple visits to do what can be most effectively done in one visit. So, optimizing visits will be an important part of your medical sales reps’ training
There are several components involved in doing this, including:
- Optimizing multi-stop routing - By ensuring your sales reps have the fastest route to get from one stop to another they are spending the least amount of time on the road as necessary. Allowing them to focus on selling and making the most of their time.
- Ensuring reps are prepared - A successful medical device sales rep will be walking into a visit with the needs of the prospect already in mind, all of the appropriate sales material/supplies that the prospect or customer will want to see, and a clear explanation ready of how this particular device will benefit the prospect. So, make sure your reps are totally prepared. They should also be able to showcase products and devices in a creative or hands-on way, allowing customers to fully experience what they are anticipating buying.
- Maintaining detailed notes - Each time a rep leaves a visit with a prospect or customer, they should have detailed customer notes regarding what was discussed, new opportunities that were uncovered, etc. This will ensure that valuable business relationships can be formed where your reps are offering customized solutions.
- Prompt and effective follow-up - A big part of making the most of a sales visit is by ensuring that everything the rep did while they were there doesn’t go out the window the next day. If the deal was not closed at the visit, your reps should promptly follow up with a prospect or customer to thank them for their time, ask if they have any questions, and what the prospect may need now to be able to make a final decision.
Encourage Digital Customer Engagement
One of the biggest changes in the business environment recently is the increase in digital customer interactions. So, along with optimizing in-person visits, you also have to support digital customer engagement more effectively before, after, and in-between visits. Your sales reps will need to be trained on all of the digital information and tools that are available to them to share to prospective customers.
Make your medical product/device content robust and quickly and easily shareable. Make virtual demonstrations possible. Make digital customer communication easy both ways. Doing these things will show your customers that your business and sales process can easily adapt and create the right customer experience when needed.
Effectively Track Activities & Data
As with any type of sales effort, you can’t improve upon what you don’t know. So, tracking activities and other sales data will not only help keep everything organized, but it will serve as a gauge to measure your team’s productivity and effectiveness. Visualizing activity, goals, etc will also motivate your reps to strive for even better results.
Having a bird’s-eye view of your team’s efforts through the activity and data tracking will also allow you to pinpoint exactly where in the hiring and training process you may need to make some changes or how effective your process is.
Make Collaboration Easy
Easy collaboration of information between your sales reps is critical to ensuring sales effectiveness and a good customer experience in the medical device sales industry. Not only are current and detailed customer notes important for the current rep who is building the relationship, but they are also critical in a situation where that customer is being transferred from one rep to another.
Some situations where this can happen are when you are onboarding a new rep as you slowly start to expand your team again or a customer is being transferred to a different rep as you restructure the sales territories. Either way, the detailed history of previous interactions and other notes should be able to be shared in an instant between reps. This then allows the new rep handling the prospect or account needs to be able to quickly and easily get caught up on where everything currently stands.
There may also be situations where multiple reps need to collaborate on efforts with a large customer. When collaboration within your team is streamlined, your reps can be even more effective.
Get Your Reps Certified
A continuous commitment to excellence and sales rep training creates the best sales professionals and can increase employee retention. So, look at having your reps complete a medical device sales certification. One example is the Registered Medical Sales Representative (RMSR) certification from the National Association of Medical Sales Representatives. Completing a sales certification like this will help elevate their skills, experience, sales strategies, and knowledge within the medical device sales industry itself.
Completing a sales certification specific to the medical realm will not only prove beneficial to their sales effectiveness but will also show prospects and customers your team’s commitment to what they do.
There are also a variety of valuable sales certifications that are not industry-specific that your reps can look into to further their quest for continuous improvement.
Embrace Sales Technology
Sales technology can help you and your team implement all of the hiring and training strategies we mentioned above, all while making everything much faster and seamless.
To pinpoint exactly what types of sales software will be the most effective for your team of medical device sales reps and your business, you first need to pinpoint where challenges are coming up. This means challenges for both your sales reps and your customers. Where in the sales process are your reps feeling like they are not as effective? Where does the customer buying process start to feel difficult?
Then, you can look at the options in sales technology from the perspective of determining which ones will help alleviate the challenges. The last thing you want to do right now is overload your team with a bunch of new sales software, especially if it’s not all necessary.
A mobile-first tool like Map My Customers, purpose-built for outside sales reps (like a medical device sales rep) will help check multiple boxes at once. Giving you and your team a powerful platform that will take care of all of your automation, visualization, tracking, sales data organization, reporting, and mapping needs. Enabling your team to succeed no matter what the sales environment looks like, and allowing you to gauge how effective your hiring and training process is.
Set Your Sales Team Up for Success with Truly Purpose-Based Hiring & Training Practices
Implementing truly purpose-based hiring and training practices within your organization can make all the difference when it comes to your overall sales and company morale. Thoughtfully plan out who you are going to hire, how well they will fit within the organization, and how will you train them to really hit the ground running.
By following what we’ve covered above, you can create a first-class hiring and training process for your medical sales team. For more on this topic, tune into the in-depth conversation with Aeroflow Healthcare’s Eric Mongeau on the Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast from Map My Customers. In this episode, you’ll get more insight into ensuring that your hiring and training efforts are hitting the mark. Plus, how showing the value of using an outside sales CRM, like Mapy My Customers, will help solidify the new reps’ success moving forward.