There’s no question that COVID has impacted a lot of things over the last year and a half. Medical device sales is no exception to that. The challenges can be felt throughout the industry. In-office/hospital sales visits were halted in most places for a while and companies were battling shortages in the production of device components. And now, as more places have reopened, your team itself may be looking different these days as well.
Many teams have had to cut down on the number of sales reps or have had to reorganize the team. This may be the case for your team as your business battled against the effects of COVID. But, after a decrease over the last year and a half, the medical device market is expected to recover and grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% from 2021 and reach $603.5 billion in 2023 (from $456.9 billion in 2019). So, now is the time to transform your strategies and make the necessary changes if you want your business to continue to flourish.
But, cracking the code to a more effective medical device sales process doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. You can be successful in sales leadership post-COVID and create and inspire a team of reps who meet and exceed sales objectives, now and moving forward.
Adapting to a New Sales Environment
Over the last year or so, sales teams have seen their territories grow larger as their teams have gotten smaller. Many are also still dealing with increased restrictions on in-person interactions or reduced access to the medical decision-makers reps need to be in front of. But, these factors don’t have to be crippling to your reps’ sales efforts.
You have to be ok with change. Adapting to the “new” sales environment will be a huge part of your team being successful in the current medical device sales industry. This may mean making a few tweaks here and there or even creating a whole new sales process that fits the adaptations your team needs to make. Either way, it's critical that you and your team remain flexible so you can tailor your sales strategy to the current state of the market.
Look for where you can pivot on strategies in this current sales environment to ensure your team will still be able to capitalize on opportunities, prospect effectively, and help grow your business.
Ways To Ensure Your Team Succeeds
But, to continue to be successful, it will take more than just adapting to changes in the sales environment after the fact. There are some proactive steps that you and your reps can take to ensure your team can get and stay ahead in 2021. These strategies include:
Double Down on Ensuring Your Reps Are Experts
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 reps. So, the better your team is trained 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 sales training, both in onboarding and continued training, to continue to see the highest return in sales.
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 arm your reps with effective sales skills and up-to-date knowledge, allowing them to confidently reach customers with increased success, be the trusted expert, and close more deals.
Optimized Territory Planning
One of the first things to start with is evaluating the state of your sales territory planning and making the necessary improvements. 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. 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.
Making the Most of Visits
Your reps have 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 team’s sales effectiveness.
There are several components involved in doing this, including:
- Optimizing multi-stop routing - By ensuring your 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 be promptly following 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.
Allow For Digital Customer Engagement
One of the biggest changes in the business environment since COVID 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. Plus, your reps may run into a situation where a prospect or customer cannot meet in person.
Make 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 Tracking 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 sales process changes may need to be made.
So, your reps should be able to easily track sales communications, visits, and other activities, as well as their deals and sales goals. They should also be keeping detailed customer notes to help build the customer relationship more effectively.
Making 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.
Getting Your Reps Certified
A continuous commitment to excellence and learning creates the best sales professionals. 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.
Technology Can Help Optimize Your Medical Device Sales Process
Sales technology can help you and your team implement all of the 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 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.