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8 min reading time
At the MedForce Summit yesterday, we hit upon a real pain point for every sales professional in the room. Paraphrasing here,
“Our sales force can talk features and benefits. But effective sales has gone beyond that. Now we deeply need to understand our customers’ pain points. We need to know the latest healthcare reform affecting them. We need to know how to talk with Value Analysis Committees.”
The pain: Many companies struggle to educate their sales force on all these aspects. So I asked,
“How does your company prepare your sales personnel with the education they need to represent you well?”
Rick VanSaun, Varian Medical Systems: “We are turning to outside consultants that specialize in healthcare reform to educate our sales teams about hospital customer challenges on outcomes analysis, asset utilization, and care coordination.”
Tony Mattair, LifeCell; an Acelity Company: “We have sales sit with corporate accounts and health economics to learn the evolving needs of our customers. We also produce customer-facing collateral based on these insights around patient presentation, procedure, product and outcomes.”
For today’s discussion, are you facing this challenge too? How are you dealing with it?
What’s working? What isn’t?
SALES TRAINING IDEAS
7-Step Sales Process training with test and certification at http://medicaldevicemarketingsummit.com – Your instructor has his own medical device company and includes GE Healthcare and many others among his sales training customers. Mike can also come to your office to train your whole staff.
Get your team signed up for free http://tigi.net content. My friends Gunter Wessels and Sam O’Rear know healthcare reform pain points better than anyone I know. Their name came up yesterday at MedForce – Varian’s Rick VanSaun uses them!
FREE UDI WEBINAR THIS WEDNESDAY
It’s the last one we’ll do before the September 24, 2016 deadline for Class II devices.
All who register will get the video replay, slides, and transcript.
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Make it a great week.
P.S. Consider MDMS, the Medical Device Marketing and Sales Workshop, in August. http://medgroup.biz/MDMS
Really tough challenge. Its a farmers v. ranchers thing. During our sales force training we ask each trainee to answer the? ” What does the customer want? ” and then use Why? Why? Why? to try to get to underlying need. Works sometimes to slow them down . . . but most sales professional’s self image is tied to numbers and their closer personality eventually kicks in. We find it more efficient to let the Strategy team listen in and synthesize the message intp a message tree that the sales team practices practices practices.
Modesto (Mo) Casas I would be interested as well, if you are willing. [email protected].
In my opinion, it is a challenge to ask a sales professional to be both a clinical and a healthcare economics expert. Towards the end of my time as a device sales rep, we were beginning to really see the transition from primarily needing to show the clinical value to the physician as our primary sales strategy to the need to show the clinical and financial value to the hospital VAC. We would often bring in our healthcare economics and national accounts team members to support those meetings. Now in my role as a consultant, our clients see the same challenges and often ask us to help them navigate the VAC process for new product introductions to reduce the burden from the clinical sales team.
Yes, Modesto (Mo), email me at [email protected].
Modesto (Mo) Casas
Completing the thought:
No wonder sales people are always so stressed!
Modesto (Mo) Casas
Successful companies do 3 things very well
I come across this problem with my clients who sell complex hardware or software products. Most technology companies are founded, built and managed by technical managers, often giving technical knowledge a heavy weighting in the hiring process, including sales candidates.
The successful companies do 3 things very well:
Joe – I can share my Practical Solution Selling primer with anyone who might be interested. Write me if you are.
Here is a link to a what paper I might recommend: From Physicians to IDNs: Building the Medical Device Sales Force of the Future (http://signorelli.biz/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016WP-From-Physicians-to-IDNs.pdf). It is a huge challenge.
Hi Joe, it’s been a while.
Joe, great question! Like you found at the MedForce Summit yesterday, here at CMR Institute, we also find that many sales organizations are challenged the changing landscape including how to get a seat at the table with Value Analysis Committees. It’s critical that the sales team really understand customer needs and pain points. Market access is a huge area of focus for us at CMR.
We work with healthcare leaders at the frontlines of these issues to develop training material that offers real-world insight for sales teams. For example, one company worked with us to train their sales force through a program of role-based, blended learning modules that allowed them to distinguish themselves from the competition and sell more effectively.
As a free training resource, members of this group can create an instant market access training plan at our website to begin the process of addressing this very issue.
M. Kelly Murphy
Sounds like you need to talk to a nurse!
Ana Paula Guimaraes
I faced this challenge and I believe we need a sales force with different skills to address the value equation. That’s how I did it with great results.
Finding the customer’s pain points is key to maintaining an open door with your customers. It comes with time and, for me, personal interaction. By meeting with several customers over time you begin to get the data you need. you can identify certain issues that are central to all your customers. These are their pain points. Customer A told you this. It likely holds true for Customer B and C. At that point you assume this issue is a problem and you come into meetings talking about it. And have possible solutions for it that include your product. The customer thinks you are great because you know their problems before they verbalize them.
This is where sales management comes into play. From someone who has been a footsoldier, management and business owner this on the responsibility of the higher ups. If you have competent sales people then work a plan in advance. Schedule meetings and discuss with your sales team short-term and long-term goals. This is very important when bringing in new product lines or revenue streams.
Just as with features and benefits, different pain points exist at different levels, depending on what impacts them the most. Lab technicians will have different pain points while hospital administrators will have perhaps similar but more far-reaching pain points.
The secret is to understand the entire process for a particular area of the hospital, and then how that area of the hospital interacts with the entire hospital itself. That experience is not easy to come by, and The analytics involved to solve those problems become more complex as the overall hospital workflow is incorporated into a solution.
The main question is, are companies willing to invest the time and money required to train there field staff personnel? I would say in most instances no, they are not. We continue to work in an environment that is transactional and not strategic. Sales quotas are generated and must be met in the age-old top down performance matrix.
Analysts forecast blood gas and electrolyte analyzers market size is to exceed USD 700.4 million by 2023. Increasing number of emergency cases due to growing incidences of chronic diseases, and surge in demand for point of care analyzers are pivotal factors driving global blood gas & electrolyte analyzers market size.
(Additional comment) Until companies take a more strategic look at long-term performance rather than quarter by quarter, the ability to provide insightful solutions to a customer’s pain points will continue to be ignored.
It requires more involvement on the part of marketing too. It’s marketing’s job to identify core user needs, create products/services around those needs, help build sales processes that effectively educate and inform customers, and to help train the sales team. Often people are just missing the marketing (product management) component.
Joe, I agree with you about having more involvement from sales with the “other” departments at hospitals. Essentially, this is now a business meeting and, as a sales person, you need to understand what is going inside any hospital. This would be similar to selling a piece of capital equipment, where you would be required to sit down with a committee to get the sale.
Joe, you couldn’t more accurate with your communication. Today’s providers are focused on Fee for Value, digital and population health. Products need to deliver evidenced based medicine improvements that can translate into improved HCAHPS, less re-admittance and lower cost! High quality healthcare for less cost and improved outcomes!
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