Working in or leading medical device sales teams is not for the faint of heart.
You are called upon to be a masterful communicator, collaborator, orchestrator, and relationship-builder.
If you thrive in a fast-paced environment and have a knack for problem-solving, this may be the profession for you.
Here are 7 medical device sales tips that help top reps stand apart from their competition.
Be Prepared but Adaptable
“It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.” – Bear Bryant, Legendary head coach, University of Alabama.
Medical device reps are expected to juggle and execute multiple priorities every day.
The key to success?
Good reps map out their territory, understand each customer’s needs, and coordinate product logistics with local inventory managers and hospital personnel.
This planning helps reps track customer deadlines like scheduled surgeries or procedures, clear potential logistical issues (either at the source or the destination), and manage customer expectations.
However, the only thing constant in the life of a device rep is change.
Changes at your customer end can include:
- Surgeries or meetings being rescheduled
- Doctors moving hospitals
- New hospital staff or protocols (for example, COVID-19 protocols)
- Changing power dynamics
- New product launches from competitors, and much more
Most reps will also have to deal with internal changes in their own companies, like:
- Leadership changes at the head office or a local level
- Sales territories and incentives restructuring
- Delays in new product launches,
- Recent regulatory and compliance requirements
- Potential competition from new hires or transfers
- New sales training and certification obligations.
Apart from these changes, world events, natural disasters, or other events can disrupt you and your customers, like the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricanes, accidents en route to your sales call, and more.
Leverage Virtual Communication
Medical device reps have to be resilient.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many hospitals changed their protocols to restrict in-person meetings and cold calls. Many patients deferred their elective procedures, and hospitals focused on emergency and ICU services.
For medical device reps, this move was highly challenging. Many sellers derive a large portion of their income from commissions directly linked to sales. Additionally, while their customers worked round the clock to help their patients, good reps rose to the occasion. They found new ways to offer real value.
While nothing can replace an in-person meeting, resourceful medical device reps conducted remote meetings with their clients, hospital staff, and internal teams.
Check out our article comparing Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and the Bigtincan Engagement Hub and how each support sellers do their job.
You Represent Your Company, Not a Product
As a medical device rep, it is not enough to understand just your products and their prices.
To your hospital, surgeon, physician, or healthcare executive, you are the face of your company on the ground. The fact that you are your companies brand in motion is especially true for reps working for large medical device companies.
For example, you may be a rep selling knee replacement implants.
However, knowing your product well and getting it to surgery on time is the very minimum expected of you. Even if a product from another division in your company does not work as intended, healthcare professionals may turn to you for help.
Top reps know that saying, “that’s not my job,” is not an option. They go above and beyond to orchestrate wins for their customers – which are wins for the rep.
Review our article on the best Enablement tools from Content Management to Sales Intelligence to learn how to keep your sales team ready to win.
Never Stop Learning
High-performing sales reps are like professional athletes. They function in two zones – a performance zone and a learning zone.
In the highly competitive world of medical device sales, this can help separate good reps from great ones.
Good reps deliver consistent results.
However, great sellers improve their sales effectiveness by constantly learning about competitive products and services.
They spend time networking with other sales reps and those in the know in their own company to understand shifting market dynamics, new product launches, and more.
Working in medical devices means spending a significant amount of time visiting physicians, other healthcare professionals, and executives.
Learning about their challenges, including reimbursement changes, pricing pressures, and other challenges headed their way, and more can help elevate your game and establish a true partnership.
Most importantly, great sales reps evaluate their performance with a critical eye to drive continuous improvement.
Review our article on the best tools for training and coaching your sales reps to become the ultimate collaborator and orchestrator.
Build External and Internal Champions
Leading medical device reps know that they cannot make a sale by themselves. They build a network of champions to help them get things done and deliver a high standard of service to their customers.
Hospitals and healthcare systems can be large ecosystems, and it can be hard to keep track of every detail.
Building strategic relationships within the hospital will help ensure you anticipate your customers’ needs, understand their challenges, and help address potential issues promptly.
Additionally, no matter how big or small your company is, you will have to deal with competing interests within your own company for budgets, resources, and more.
Top reps build strong networks of influential internal champions in their head office. These departments often include marketing, customer service, and operations, where your remote contacts can help convey the urgency of your customer’s requirements for you.
Always Follow Through
‘Always follow through’ may seem like a basic sales tip, but reps can easily let commitments fall through the cracks.
As a medical device sales rep, you will wear many hats and spend a lot of time traveling to different hospitals and meeting many people. Often, you will have to catch up on messages or emails from your branch or corporate headquarters between sales calls.
Healthcare is highly regulated, so it is pretty standard for reps to take regular tests to meet compliance requirements. Additionally, there is often paperwork to submit, expenses to file, and other administrative work to do.
Whether you use a notebook, app, or other productivity tools, you need a reliable system to deliver on your commitments and build customer trust.
Think Before You React
Medical device sales is a high-pressure profession.
Your career depends on how you deal with rejection, stress, failure, anger, and fear.
High-achieving medical device reps know how to keep their cool when something goes wrong or having to deal with demanding or unhappy customers. Instead, they are analytical and keep moving the ball forward through the sales cycle to build relationships.
If you are a part of or lead medical device sales teams, we hope that these tips will make you, and your team, more successful.
If you have questions, contact us here.