Product Differentiation in the Medical Space

May 13, 2016
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Medical product sales staff usually spend several months learning the products, studying health care topics and rehearsing how to sell. However, applying knowledge learned from training in the field is very challenging. This is especially true because health care providers expect sales personnel to demonstrate clinical proficiency and show how their medical products will add value while improving patient outcomes. Below expounds on how to increase product differentiation and the success of your medical product sales team. 

Medical product sales staff usually spend several months learning the products, studying health care topics and rehearsing how to sell. However, applying knowledge learned from training in the field is very challenging. This is especially true because health care providers expect sales personnel to demonstrate clinical proficiency and show how their medical products will add value while improving patient outcomes. Below expounds on how to increase product differentiation and the success of your medical product sales team. 

Understand and Compensate for Industry Challenges 
Over the past couple years, it has become more and more difficult to access health care providers face-to-face in their facilities. Those who do grant access will a lot less time and energy to sales reps. Medical product companies must understand and proactively counterbalance these industry trends. For example, today’s health care professionals are forced to see more patients every day, which increases their burden of returning calls, attending meetings and filling out patient charts. Because of the time pressures, sales reps must prepare lean and concise presentations that can be completed in only five to 10 minutes. Sales reps should keep in mind that physicians do not get paid to see sales reps, but when they see patients. Because of increased competition, many physician offices may see four to six sales reps per day with additional cold calls. Thus, sales reps must offer products with genuine value that meet the needs of health care consumers. 

Strategic Hiring 
Research clearly shows that only 26 percent of sales people are actually engaged in their jobs. Even worse, approximately 20 percent are actively disengaged. Improving employee engagement and motivation directly impacts profitability and productivity and indirectly impacts turnover rates. Regardless of the industry, the field of sales is a talent-driven profession. The best way to improve the collective talent of sales teams is to strategically hire the right people. This means that the skills and talents of job applications need to closely match the best sales people. This contradicts the traditional approach of hiring candidates based on their extensive experience or training. Consider working with supervisors and the leading sales people to draft a profile of the ideal sales person. Detail the targeted attributes and core competencies, then use these to objectively score job candidates. During the interview, give job candidates case scenarios that challenge them to sell things like a heart monitoring device or vendor neutral archive on the spot. 

Reduce Classroom Training, Increase Field Exercises 
During the training program, sales reps repeatedly rehearse the materials until they have them memorized, but once they are out on sales calls, many struggle to effectively function. Companies should consider minimizing classroom training and maximizing hands-on field training. One of the best ways is to pair a new hire with an experienced sales person who can act as mentor and field trainer. In the end, the individuals who will benefit the most from sales training are those who already higher performers with the right skills and characteristics. 

Embrace Social Media 
Medical product companies must properly develop a competitive social media presence. Popular social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, each offer unique ways to increase brand awareness and connect with customers. When it comes to medical products, companies are buying benefits that increase the quality and comfort of their lives. Use social media sites to allow existing customers to discuss their lives, share their stories and rate their purchases and the items they like. When customers share positive feedback on products and sales people through social media, they are contributing free content and increase brand awareness. Be sure to integrate content marketing campaigns with social media platforms. Content marketing will result in more access to qualified leads and more channels to sell products, but it will also lower the costs of acquiring and retaining customers. 

Finally, be sure to use big data technology to analyze and manage available internal information that can provide insight into sales trends and marketing initiatives.

 

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