Medical sales are hard. Plain and simple. You are selling complex, expensive solutions to sophisticated buyers that could impact clinical outcomes and patient safety.

And if that wasn’t hard enough, factor in the devastating consequences of halting all non-emergency procedures for the past 6 to 8 weeks. For the remainder of the year (if not longer into 2021) the new normal will be severely limited operating and capital budgets. But that doesn’t mean hospitals and physicians won’t buy medical technologies and equipment. But it does mean the buying cycles may be longer or put through additional scrutiny as the health system attempts to do more with less resources.

The role the physician plays in medical equipment or device purchasing decisions continues to evolve. The ultimate decision maker may no longer be the doctors themselves, but physicians will always have an important seat at the table. Even with these changing buying dynamics, it’s still vital to build relationships with the physicians involved in these purchasing decisions, in addition to forging relationships with hospital executives.

How Are These Relationships Going to Be Built Going Forward?

Gone are the days of stalking a medical office waiting room, hoping to snag a few minutes of the physician’s time in between patient visits. The physician barely had time before and certainly won’t have time for a pitch where your sales rep rattles off all the amazing clinical benefits of your technology or services. Doctors will be heads down working to make up for the lost volume and delayed medical care over the past few months.

Wining and dining a physician is currently impractical given social distancing and the pandemic’s impact on healthcare and the restaurant and entertainment industry.

Visitor access to hospitals is also severely limited today and will be for the foreseeable future. Many hospitals have restricted access to the most necessary employees. While the physical interactions may be limited, the strategies and tactics your sales team needs to adopt and deploy to be successful aren’t actually any different post-pandemic than they were pre-pandemic. Imagine how quickly the sales cycle will accelerate if you engage prospects with insightful analysis of their practice, their market, and their opportunity; and then give them advice and guidance on exactly how to be more successful with your technology – not just clinically but in terms of business and financial outcomes as well.

If your sales process doesn’t include a strategy for engaging and anticipating the financial needs of a hospital and health system buyer or decision makers, then your sale is dead in the water.

Using Data-Driven Content in Your Medical Sales Pitch

It may be a somewhat unfair generalization, but for the most part, marketers LOVE data – while sales reps have little time or use for most data. But if data can be packaged into user-friendly, powerful presentations and information that is valuable to customers, then sales teams can use data as a tool to develop and strengthen relationships – and to advance sales.

Planning great content for each sales meeting with hospital execs and physician leaders is equally, if not more, important than the actual meeting. Without a focused agenda, the right content, and a maniacal focus on progressing the relationship to the next step, you’ll be wasting everyone’s time.

Of course, your sales team will still need to convince doctors and hospital executives on the clinical value and outcomes of your technology. However, your sales team needs to be able to translate features, advantages, benefits of your product or solution into economic value.

You can do this, first and foremost, by understanding the needs of the different constituencies within the buying organization (think hospital CEO vs supply chain manager vs physician leader). Show the physician how you can help their medical practice make money or show them how you can help them convince their hospital administrators that this is a revenue generating endeavor worthy of a facility’s investment.

Use data and analytics about their local healthcare market to personalize the pitch. Healthcare markets are extremely regional. The competitive dynamics in a densely populated urban area on the East Coast looks nothing like a rural catchment area in the West.

Here’s a checklist of the type of information you’ll want to present to your prospect:

Analysis Tips & Tricks
Competition in the local area as measured by market share for your relevant patients
  • Market share could be defined based on procedures, diagnoses, or other factors.
  • Start with a 20 mile radius for most urban areas and expand to 50-75 miles for rural areas to define a competitive market.
  • Show how competitive shifts are creating an opportunity, or a threat.
Where patients originate for relevant care and where those same patients are treated
  • Analyze patient origination by zip code or county so your buyer knows exactly where target their marketing and outreach efforts to grow their service lines 
Cases lost to the competition
  • Analyze if patients are leaking between healthcare providers, meaning they were seen by one provider but ultimately got their care elsewhere. 
  • This helps the doctor and hospital understand missed revenue opportunities and level of loyalty.
How patients travel through the healthcare system
  • Analyze the treatment pathways to understand which types of providers interact with the patient at different steps in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery journey.
  • Buyers expect to drill down to individual physician relationships to understand referral patterns and network access.
Existing formal and informal care networks
  • Analyze who is already treating your patients in those areas where patients originate from, and where they send those patients.
  • Buyers need to understand where to invest marketing and physician outreach efforts to maximize on the patient opportunity while keeping a budget.

How to Scale Data Driven Medical Sales Content

Understandably, adopting data driven sales content can feel daunting. For many medical sales teams it will be a big shift if you’ve historically been reliant on personal networks, pre-existing buying relationships, and in-person visits.

Perhaps you are worried about the skills level of your current sales team and how easily they will adapt to new processes and gain the competencies needed to deliver a financially focused sales pitch.

In order to pull off a data-driven approach, you’ll need to invest in two areas:

Clear and Accessible Data & Analysis Some teams subscribe to a data analysis service, focused solely on delivering these analyses, much like the service and tools we deliver here at Carevoyance. We have developed technology that makes it possible to generate presentation-ready analytics for each prospect in just 3 clicks of a mouse. Other teams have a dedicated marketing resource who pulls together various data sources, analyses the data in excel or a business intelligence tool and then creates powerpoint presentations. Either way, use technology that will make sure the data and analysis production is simple and consistent.

Training Strategy You’ll want to develop talk tracks for how and when the sales team leverages this information. Objection handling guides will also help the sales team anticipate and manage those inevitable “gotchas’ that may arise when presenting financial analyses to healthcare buyers.

Your sales team can leverage the insights afforded by these analysis throughout the entire sales process.

Some teams use the insights as attention grabbers in cold email and phone outreach (“did you know your hospital is losing 300 knee replacements patients per year to the competition”). Other teams make use of the data to create return-on-investment calculators to show the breakeven point and financial upside from an investment in your medical technology or service.

Ultimately the clinical data and outcomes on your product will seal the deal. However, during the initial phases of relationship building, it’s actually more effective to NOT sell your product. Instead, focus on how to help. Initially, your prospect doesn’t care about your product or technology…. Physicians and hospital executives care about their patients, their competition, their business. The sooner your sales team realizes this dynamic and shifts their mindset, the more likely you are to meet your revenue goals.

If you’re looking to revamp your medical sales process and take on a proven consultative approach, contact Carevoyance. Their CEO, Anatoly Geyfman, has been elevating MedTech sales and would love to talk through your goals.