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Reaching the Apex of Value for your Customer

Navigating the world of Healthcare Sales is a significant task. Those who have lived it, know it.  I lived it for 15 years. There is a reason working as a sales rep in this industry can be so profitable. It’s a highly competitive market, sometimes a saturated market, and the product differentiation is minimal at best. So, how do you stand out as a rep among the pack? There are many tricks you can hide up your sleeve and you can always employ the tried and true tactic: entertaining your physician. Of course, that’s not necessarily unique anymore and due to the Sunshine Act, many actions require documentation which will be reported.

Creating Your Own Value

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Dr. Richard Ruff from Sales Horizons offers a multitude of online courses to help medical device reps gain skills which will (no doubt) give them an advantage in the field. Dr. Ruff even wrote an article on how sales reps create value and differentiate themselves from competitors. In the article, he talks about how sales reps need to learn to create value that is unique from the product features and benefits.

“…products have no inherent value.  Products possess features; they do not possess value.  Value is a relative idea that is all about fit – the fit between the customer’s needs and your solution.”   —  Richard Ruff

It’s refreshing to hear this perspective. This is also a true statement. So – how does one create this value? There is no question that training is key. Understanding your product, your market, your competition, selling strategies, and your customer base are all vital to the success of your business. But, let’s face it – all of the things we just mentioned are merely the price of admission. In today’s world, you MUST do those things just to have a conversation with a potential customer. You might ask, “But what about the companies that have 800 or 900 reps? Are they going to be given access to the level of training they need in order to break away from the pack and will the company pay for it?” No matter if you’re a self-employed rep or a rep in a crowd of hundreds, something is probably missing from your business puzzle.

An Old Angle; A New Opportunity

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What if there was an easier way to harness value for your customer? Pro-tip: there is a way, but first you must understand not only your customer, but a new perspective. You need to view value from the customer’s angle and not just your own. So take a step back from your sales sheets and numbers to see the big picture. Spend time learning to understand what your customer really cares about. Is it the product or could it be something else? What if you could identify exactly what your customer cared about and how to not only capture that, but deliver it? We know how you can reach that apex. Email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com to unlock your full selling potential with the world’s first targeted market development tool specifically for Healthcare Sales Reps.

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Think 5 Steps Ahead FOR Your Customer Physicians

Plan Tomorrow Today!

You know the old adage “Why leave for tomorrow what you can do today?” That goes double in the world of healthcare sales. No matter who your client may be, it’s important to plan ahead. These conversations are critical, but can be difficult to negotiate or initiate. As the sales rep, it is YOUR job to think 5 steps ahead for your physician customer.  In my device days we were preached to in training: In surgery you have to be several steps ahead of the physician! You have to anticipate his/her every move and be prepared whatever that move was.

So, my question to you is this: Is surgery the only place we (I) work?

Of course not!  Today’s healthcare sales reps are asked to do more than ever!

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Don’t Be In Trend; Predict The Trend

“The changes in healthcare are accelerating. The penalty for falling behind the change curve is irrelevance, that is, customers will replace you with competitors who anticipated and integrated change sooner and faster than you did. The take-home message, “You must remain relevant and to do that you must stay ahead of the change curve.”

This advice from author Jason Baker hits home for me in many ways. I have been the Sales Rep in his article – the top player in the medical device game, the heavy hitter….the king. That false sense of security can easily overcome reality because it is powerful and intoxicating. (A lot of us have been there)  You begin to think you cannot lose, but Baker speaks the truth – if you snooze, you lose. It’s as simple as the Tortoise and the Hare. Small changes set the stage for a giant shift in the market and you aren’t invincible.  None of us are…

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Heed Warning Signs

In the healthcare sales industry, it is vital that you pay attention to the signs around you (especially these days). You must have the will to keep getting up after every failure. I, myself, did this time and time again. I didn’t think there was any other way to work, but I finally figured out how to break away from the status quo. I cultivated my own path to success when I learned how to TRULY listen to my physician customers.  I would hear them talk about this or that which was impacting their business, but I thought, “Well, glad that isn’t me.” OR “That kind of stinks, I’m glad it’s not my job to do that.”   Then I said, “Well, what if I could impact that? I would be fixing one of their biggest problems or concerns.”

I found myself asking these questions:

  • What are they searching for?
  • What worries and concerns kept them up at night?
  • What can I do to address their concerns?

And when I did… the results are were nothing short of astounding.

Listen and Respond

If I could find a way to connect with my customer in a way which greatly differentiated me from the rest of the herd, I would be successful and so would the customer. After realizing what I had to do, I still needed to see the path before arriving at it. I needed to do my research and understand what the factors were that might affect my customer’s practice and, ultimately, my own business.  My advice to the other reps out there is to listen to your customers, monitor current trends in the market, predict future trends, stay informed, and challenge the norms. The worst thing you can do is get complacent. The second you fall asleep at the wheel, you fall behind. If you have questions like I did, feel free to email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com. I’d love to swap stories some time.

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What is Sales Acceleration?

What is Sales Acceleration?

Sales Acceleration is not some fantastical buzzword (Although, to us salespeople, it kind of sounds that way). It is a tested strategy that emerged from existing ideas and evolved from existing technologies already widely used by various industries including healthcare sales and marketing. (Sound confusing? It does to me. Think of it this way: Basically, people have used all kinds of different tools to try and help you guys and gals do your sales job over the years, but instead of giving you a 3-ring binder, they actually made software tools designed to help you sell more and sell faster. Your sales manager’s dream right? I know. Easy enough right?)

You might have heard of one of the major tools in almost every business’ arsenal: Customer Relationship Management Software (ie. Salesforce, Zoho, Insightly, etc)

“Salesforce.com pioneered the concept of renting customer relationship management (CRM) software instead of selling it. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or software in the cloud as it is so lovingly called now, has become the de facto standard that is disrupting the traditional software companies who still sell software in a box.” – Ken Krogue, co-founder of Insidesales.com

Customer Relationship Management tools like Salesforce and Insightly are useful in terms of organization. They’re very valuable when it comes to organization, however, when was the last healthcare sales rep you met that said, “I just love having a CRM to enter where I’ve been and what I’ve done all day! -OR- This just helps me sell SO much more!!!! I don’t know what I’d do without it!” Never, right? Of course, this doesn’t mean that CRMs are useless. They are 100% necessary to your operations, but the next logical step was to find a way to accelerate sales rather than just be more organized or efficient. Cue the development of the concept: Sales Acceleration.

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The Next Big Thing

Sales Acceleration tools are increasing in use everyday, but many people still wonder just what these tools do or what information they deal with. Listed below is a sampling of some of the cloud-based categories sales acceleration tools enhance:

  • Contract Technology
  • Data Visualization
  • Business Intelligence
  • Gamification
  • Presentation Technology, including Slide and Screen Share
  • Predictive Analytic Tools and Technology
  • Sales Intelligence Tools
  • Email (designed specifically for the sales function)
  • Sales Communication tools
  • Video technology
  • Social selling technology

 

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The Proliferation of Sales Acceleration

You might know from our previous blogs that change isn’t just inevitable, it’s natural to adapt over time. As James W. Phillips of Insidesales.com said, “Over the last 10 years, the sales industry has witnessed a disruption. Due to the innovation of Internet cloud-based business transactions and an upsurge in sales technology development, the sales profession is in a state of rapid modernization.” The chart above shows the overall expenditures on sales acceleration technologies. That will only continue to grow.

Now is a good time to hop on the train or risk getting left at the station. We’ve mentioned it several times in posts prior to this one; ALL ABOARD…the train is leaving. Don’t get left behind…

If you want to take to better understand sales acceleration technologies, email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com. Let’s start your ProSellus journey to increased revenue and more peace of mind.

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Why the WIN/WIN is key in Medical Device Selling

How does the Healthcare Sales Rep create a win/win relationship when trying to educate the Primary Care Physician in the community?

The Primary Care Physician (PCP) is the real “driver” when it comes to distribution of patients in the healthcare marketplace. These physicians are overlooked in many cases, however, they truly are the HUB of the “Hub & Spoke” model of patient distribution in healthcare. Also, think about the way healthcare insurance coverage is changing; more and more often we see PPO insurance plans disappearing with the entrance of more HMO type plans.  In HMO plans it is very commonplace that a patient HAS to have a referral from their PCP in order to see a specialist.  These docs really are the “Gatekeepers” of patients…

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Power of the Gatekeepers

The majority of patients see a PCP when an issue of some kind occurs. Those PCP’s then distribute the patients to specialists based on the issue.  Of course, there are variations of the example I just described; however, this example seems to be the most overwhelmingly common example of the Primary Care referral. So, what does this mean for you? How does this, or can this, impact you?

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Not Obstacles – Opportunities

There are a few problematic aspects of this process. Outside of making sure the patient gets the best care, there’s little to gain for the PCP by referring the patient. They simply lose a patient, potentially, by referring them out (or that’s the fear at least). Joe Hage of medicalmarcom.com considers himself a pioneer in the field of medical device marketing. A bonafide medical device sales person informed him of the challenges associated with establishing a win/win relationship with PCP’s. Creating referrals from Primary Care for the specialty product reps sell can often be seen as an obstacle. Any sales rep worth their salt knows that there are no obstacles: only opportunities. Two statements from the blog post highlight key facets of developing a PCP win/win relationship:

Joe Hage (to the device rep): So, if you are calling on interventionalists, who is creating primary demand for consults among primary care physicians?

Med Device Rep: Me. That’s a large part of what I do. Help create awareness within the referring community for my interventionalists.

– #MedDevice “Selling ‘Through’ Physicians”

This is a solid strategy and one attempted by many, just… without a solid strategy in place.  There are many questions unanswered.

So, what motivates the PCP? The specialist potentially gets a new referral, but what about the PCP?  All they did was lose a patient to another specialist right? Or no?

Game changer: what if they DID have something to gain? Better yet, what if it made complete sense for the PCP to refer?  What if it was actually BETTER for the PCP to refer the patient out? What if they never realized it, until of course, you taught them…? How would you be perceived then?

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More Questions? Get Answers

Your head must be swirling with questions.

  • If healthcare sales reps are actually doing this, how do they make sure they’re talking to the right PCP’s?  There are quite literally thousands; how could you possibly know which ones to call on?
  • And if you did, do you know how to create the win/win?
  • What is the win/win in this scenario?
  • How do you which doctor can influence your business the most?
  • What is that “solid strategy,” we mentioned earlier? Do you have one?

There are many unanswered questions. What would the referral community be like if you had the answers to all of these questions and more? ProSellus is the key to all these questions. Email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com to get answers to all of your Win/Win relationship queries.

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