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Question three at the Digital Marketing for Medical Devices Conference panel, “How does digital marketing help your sales organization deliver your key message?” (If you’re reading this in email, you’ll need to click through to see the video.)
Click for questions one (on ROI) and two (on patient outcomes).
Joe: Our next question is really at the core of this conference. How does digital marketing help your sales organization deliver your key message? And I’d like to start with Kelly.
Kelly: So I’m going to modify the question a little bit based on Greg’s conversation this morning, how does it modify your story or how does it advance your story versus the message?
If you look at digital marketing tools, they didn’t all show up at once and fully formed, right? They came on one at a time and they kind of evolved through time. And so, and chances are we all try something and then we try something else and then we try a new technique. And when you operate in the serial mode like that, you tend to think of these tools serially and you tend to think of them as independent events. Well, if you look at other types of marketing vehicles out there, there were some of that but there was also a kind of an ecosystem that’s been developed. So, who remembers WordPerfect? (Raises hand.)
Various: I remember.
Kelly: And was WordPerfect better than Word?
Joe: I thought it was.
Kelly: And as a tool itself, stand alone, virtually everybody said WordPerfect was better than Word. Well then why did Word win us? Okay, Word won because it had in the world’s first ecosystem and the first ecosystem was Microsoft Office. The second you try to paste a table from Excel into WordPerfect, you gave it up and went to Word. Not because the technology as so much better overall because that one simple thing you wanted to do.
So when you start thinking about digital marketing, think of it as an ecosystem of multiple tools by which you can have multiple ways to advance the story across those mechanisms. The other thing to think about is from an audience perspective. Yes, you can act of individual physicians but there’s also a technology out there that allows you to look at groups of physicians of working physicians and how they work together. So having an integrated approach across digital marketing, across integrated networks of physicians, gives you a much greater opportunity to be effective.
Joe: Thank you. Would anyone like to add?
Greg: Well, I was going to say, in the topic of just, you know, enhancing the sales forces with these tools. Obviously, we need to look at the bigger picture.
If we were just specifically look at that tactic and what it can do for us, I think there are several things that I’ve seen with mobile content management. One is that if you look down the road right now and all of a sudden you’re facing increasing margin pressures, and the sales channels is difficult to invest in them right? So how do we deal with that?
Some companies may hire fewer reps and have reps covering bigger territories or they may hire folks that are at a lower skill level. They may ask them to sell more. Whatever you do though, you’re going to be asking more out of your investment. And so, if you look at these tools kind of like the old Steve Jobs quotes of “a bicycle for the mind,” I see these apps as being something along those lines where you can take a rep whether they’re new or tenured, there’s going to be something about the products they’re probably not going to be able to know. So as a memory aid, as a tool to bring someone back on message, as a way to help them to access the right information quickly, and present it in when you have the opportunity. I think these are fantastic tools.
Joe: Fair enough.
Line: I just want to, I don’t know, ask you maybe a question because I think it’s great to have these tools, it’s great to have the eco-system that’s beautiful thought, beautiful mind, beautiful execution. But one of the things I feel we’re forced with the challenge for the lot is, we can have the greatest tools but it’s, are the sales reps really using them?
Greg: That’s a critical question. That comes back to the question of, do you have the metrics? So one of the things we’ve started to use more I guess it’s just the [Dopie DPS] [0:30:44]. So separate from having the full blown content management system. Which is clearly where everyone would want to be just as a stable app [Dopie DPS] [0:30:55] has been a great tool for being able to build our micro-content system at a very effective cost.
It has built in metrics here. It’s starting to just tip-toeing in the water but starting to measure your return on investment and make sure you’re getting that utilization of the tool, right? You want to make sure you are talking to your reps, observing your reps, but then also getting that unbiased data, right? Because they are going to tell you that they love your products, they would like you to have a relationship or etc. so what are they actually doing with these tools?
Our experience, with the content management is that it just absolutely blows away any tool we’ve ever provided them. Several come along the lines, “Okay, I’ve been in this division for 10 or 20 years, this is the best solution we’ve ever had.”
And things that are hard to ignore some of the feedback and the results have been really good as well in terms of just blowing away our original forecast numbers. We’ve seen the growth of the economy category and we are at 40%.
So we’re seeing those kinds of returns but I think there is a multi-point strategy, I think which we are observing that return and learning from it as well.
Joe: If I may I’d like to ask the audience, do any of you have an example to share with us, about a time that you were concerned about salesperson adoption, and you overcame that, you have success stories to share?
Audience: Before I address your question, I’d like to just offer an observation. I think that Kelly was on to something and you didn’t say it as specifically as I think he could have and that is, one of the best ways for marketers and sales to work together is for the marketing department to view the sales force as just another channel in a multi-channel marketing strategy.
And Mike alluded to it earlier on as a split personality being responsible for both marketing and sales in the dark side, is that the sales force will be the largest and most expensive element of the multi-channel strategy, just by definition: Thousands of people out there and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
And so when you get into this ROI discussion you can co-opt the sales budget into the marketing budget and start to have some statistical analysis. Aberdeen Research did a research study recently about ‘The effect of mobility on the sales force’ and it’s a very simple metric. Companies that support mobility and digital tools in the hands of the sales force are 75% more likely to hit sales quotas than those who do not. It’s a very… Pardon me.
Joe: I think that bears repeating. Would you repeat that?
Male: So companies that support mobility in their sales force are 75% more likely to hit their sales quotas that those who do not. That’s Aberdeen Research.
Jitesh: And basically I would just like to add here on as for the adoptions and so on. I think, trying to show to the sales person that there’s actually an advantage in using these tools and this can be proven, right? Because you actually can see if use of, I think you can monitor which your website actually goes with these tools because you know that they have actually done some presentations or they have used the data tool and you can actually obviously look at the sales data the end right?
So you already know it’s a very easy outright accurate sales solution and these are the type of reps who actually use the digital aids, and because of that, the adoption rate at a physician level or the sales increase by this margin. Now that’s a message which is very clear to sales people, right? So you did something, it increased something by this much. So you put those metrics out there and your adoption rate will skyrocket.
Kelly: I used to be a sales guy. There are three or four simple rules. (Laughter)
There are three or four simple rules. First, make it easy for me to use what we’re going to do, okay. Number two, appeal to my rice bowl. Show me how this is going to impact going forward. Number three, don’t tell me something that I should know, unless it’s in an insightful way that, “You know this and this builds on what you already know, okay.” And I always forget the fourth one. (Laughter)
Joe: The fourth one is remember the other three. (Laughter)
Audience: I had a quick question, everyone keeps talking about reps and will they use it and I was just wondering how many of you involve reps throughout the creation. I mean I’m talking top-tier rep, a medium tier, you’re seeing are you creating something they’ll use or creating something you think they’ll use.
Greg: So with the apps that I showed we absolutely had a team of reps and regional managers who would walk through the exact scenarios they would use them and how they use them and lots of great feedback. For example, in the earlier phase we actually looked at doing a little bit less marketing so I’ll make it more company-to-company comparisons because that would have been more efficient and easier for us.
And the comment there was, well, we’re up against this company and I showed two products they don’t currently use. I’m going to get side-tracked in this conversation.
It’s a number of different feedback loops to development of these apps. And quite frankly probably the best ideas we’ve had, came directly from sales. You always have to think about the intent or what they are trying to do rather than the specific solution you might offer. I think that’s key in making sure you hear the feedback correctly and use it correctly but tremendous effort.
Michael: I think you have to and also they have to be part of the rollout process as well. Because that’s who, that’s ultimately a source that’s going to come out and prove this out.
Jennifer: Those are, this is Jennifer Saul from Idexx Laboratories. Those are all excellent points but we found out that we actually underestimated the learning curve for sales reps with the technology. I think right this morning you had mentioned that your sales force was able to kind of pick up and run with it. But we’ve actually found that our journey has been much longer than that. And we’ve actually had to put in a series of learning tools and steps to help them overcome the technology to embrace the content.
And that started with just simple tutorials and then what we actually did was we took the high performing sales reps who had been using that technology for a specific period of time and videoed them giving the demonstration on how they were able to integrate this technology into their sales processes to improve their own individual performance. So that we were able to provide a pure learning environment to encourage people to adopt the technology. And those are some tactics that we actually found really ramped up the learning up significantly to get us where we needed to be.
Joe: Thank you for sharing that.
Jitesh: Can I quickly, That’s a great point that you’ve brought up. But one of the things which I have seen personal also helps is reps like to use things which they use in daily lives. And so if a technology or a tool is already familiar, so I’m talking about devices like iPads which is pretty much prevalent out there or iPhone either of those devices. So if you’re actually trying to use these devices which are more intuitive and they’re already using it in daily life, if you just extend that a little bit, I think the adoption could be a little bit better.
Greg: I can’t remember if i made this comment to the group or this was a side discussion so I apologize if I am repeating myself. We haven’t had to do a lot of training for the technology interface. We really tried to design it to be as intuitive as possibly. There was a few folks who may be able to get that and they are light a little bit but the vast majority were just fine and we helped the folks who need some extra help over time.
But where we focus a little bit more in training is more in using the information. Because we’ve now provided them with more information than they’ve ever had. And so how do you think about really being more clinical and extracting this value? It’s one thing to provide people with the answers, it’s another to take it to that next level and really help them think about the ‘So what?’ Selling at a different level because you’re really giving them new capabilities.
Dominic: Hi, this is Dominic from Johnson & Johnson. Just to add to that (and I think this is a great conversation).
We recently deployed from one of our franchises a few apps, an iPad, sales orderings, and things like that. I think it’s working with the field, really understanding the challenges in the field of your point before or around what has value right? And also those, the overall, the goals basically.
And if you, I think if you understand the field-level challenges and design it outside the end-user perspective. Like in this example, we have 90% adoption in the first four weeks because of the efficiencies it adds to them. Saving more, 50% of their time for a sales rep on a daily basis from sales, you know, the commitments and the orderings and things like that. So I think that’s a very important point.
And that happened because marketing, sales, IT all ended up on a field trip really understanding day-to-day challenges and then involving them in the build process too. Following Agile, that’s the technology we followed, and really engaging them through and having those channels opened for them to get feedback. As we deployed some pilot users in the country and get feedback on the continuous phases of what’s working and what’s not.
Joe: Thank you. And we’ll have this be the last comment on this thread.
Brian: Yeah, I am Brian McEntee from Edwards. So we’ve been talking about the carrot. We’ve been talking about the return getting reps engaged and all those sort of thing. Has anyone encountered ‘Big Brother Syndrome?’
“We are going to measure and we are going to see who is performing well and oh, we’ll also see who’s not doing so well,” and the fear that kind of spreads from that.
Gail: We’ve had that experience. We started a process that, it’s a very, just a quick thing like a, it’s like a Yammer project. It wasn’t Yammer but it’s the same kind of concept.
That they would just tweet what happened, what they did when they were at the hospital or whatever. And they wouldn’t do it because they knew that the people that were watching were paying attention to what people in the C-Suite’s so they just never did anything for that very reason.
They used to, “We don’t want you all watching over our shoulders.” You have to be very careful on, and I just asked Greg another thing to that, I was wondering if you all have experiences. You know with all the off the-shelf applications and the fact that they’re so easy to build. And we also run the risk of us not providing the apps that the reps have created them on their own and then they’re out of our control. And that in itself is a regulatory nightmare right there. And so you all might want to be aware of that. (Laughs)
Joe: Before I change subjects, I’m curious, how many of you in this room have ever been at a company that adopted salesforce.com? (About half.) I’m curious to know how many of those of you had salesforce not get adopted by sales? (About 10 percent.)
Okay, Interesting, thank you. Great discussion.
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