marketing

Does Marketing Matter In Sales?

For Sales Reps…Does Marketing REALLY Matter?

Many people, including ProSellus Growth Engineers, place importance on the differences between marketing and sales. We have also talked about the relationship between the two. But…does marketing really matter for medical device sales reps? The short answer: you bet it does.

Enterprise Sales Teams and Mavericks…Listen Up

Regardless of the size of your sales business, marketing means more than pamphlets or social media ads. It means your entire brand identity and even how you interact with clients. In today’s modern age of 140 character interactions and algorithms that track mouse movements on websites, not only do you have to monitor your tone and diction, you have to be transparent, too. Whether you have a marketing team to support you or you’re flying solo and clocking in extra hours wearing a dozen hats, you’ve got to adapt and adapt fast.

 

Increasingly, sales and marketing tricks of the past like fear of loss, the “Jones effect”, or the impulse factor aren’t trade secrets anymore. To top it off, many consumers are more proactive than even five years ago. The immediacy of “Googling” something on their phones means that your clients could be 12 steps ahead of you in 30 seconds or less.

This also works in the reverse fashion: not only are consumers being proactive, but so should the salesperson. What does that mean exactly? How can you be more proactive as a salesperson? How about by being smarter? How about utilizing technology available to help understand who your customers really are (or should be!) and what THEY are searching for before they even know it.  Its called “behavior analytics” and there are many types (listed below) which is created from data all around you!  It is collected every time you do ANYTHING as a consumer, professional or business.

Wait…So How does Marketing Affect Sales?

You’re a discerning sales rep, so quick quips and industry jargon aren’t going to distract you from your objective. How does marketing affect your sales business? For individual sales reps operating their own LLCs or businesses, it can be the difference between a deal and a flop. Your personality is your brand and your brand is your business. Consider consulting several of our blog posts about developing a brand identity and voice. You can parlay this identity into your social media platforms, your web copy, and every other facet of your sales business.

For enterprise sales team that have marketing support teams beside them, the process is a bit different, but the variables are the same. You need the tools of brand development in order to implement them in your sales approach and process. Something as simple as a company logo can impact your ability to close a deal with prospective clients no matter how clever or charismatic you may be. Hey — the truth isn’t always pretty in the world of sales.

While branding, voice, personality and technique are all vital to help seal the deal, I cannot emphasize enough the crucial impact that data and analytics have to the success of both types of sales teams (Small LLC’s and Enterprise). Where does the data come from? Well, most marketing professionals should know where to access it. In fact, there are stacks and stacks of technology tools that offer data analytics (diagnostic, descriptive, predictive and prescriptive) available to both the marketing and sales professional. It’s all the rage and guess what, your competitor, you know the one that just poached your customer? They are taking advantage of these tools. This is indeed where the rubber meets the road with regards to marketing helping sales achieve quota. Marketing obtains the analytics and supplies the sales team with the data intelligence to help point them to the warmer leads and low hanging fruit. It’s a cyclical relationship. Boom – the family has finally found a way to work together.

Still feeling stumped?

ProSellus Growth Engineers is a company dedicated to growing your sales business using these revolutionary techniques – in a simplified way built for the sales rep in the field and the marketing professional in desperate need of some REAL leads. The future is already here, so you might already be old news. Email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s get to the bottom of your sales and marketing questions

Image of human hand pointing at touchscreen with business document

A New Look & Tool for a New Age: How Can ProSellus Help You?

You might remember some older blogs where we talk about the array of services that ProSellus Growth Engineers offers for medical device sales reps. But you have also probably noticed the website face lift we just implemented recently. As we preach, so must we practice. In addition, we have launched the first Sales Enablement Tool that combines both lead generation AND customer management in one. It not only will help the sales person, but the marketing person in the medical device organization. Technology is always changing and, based on user data and metrics, we can determine better ways to deliver the ProSellus experience & product to our current and potential clients. Let’s take a walk down the newly renovated memory lane, shall we?

So What’s New With Our Website?

New Look, Increased Growth

The first thing you’re bound to notice is the improved navigation toolbar at the top of the web page. Instead of the old navigatory buttons, we now feature the usual “Home” and “About” links, but we feature new ones, too. “Product” illuminates the plethora of ways that ProSellus Growth Engineers can increase lean efficiency, metric and data interpretation, user experience improvements, and profits while decreasing costs in money, stress, and time. “Pricing” lays out the available features and packaging while “Resources” links to our blog with numerous posts about all things medical device sales, thought leadership, marketing, and more. “Support” is pretty self-explanatory: We offer a toll free number with support services for any question you might have about your ProSellus services and business development. Following that, you can “Request A Demo”. All you have to do is fill out a quick contact form with information about your particular needs for a personalized demonstration of just how much ProSellus Growth Engineers can augment your business. There is also an insightful video featuring ProSellus client Dr. Michael Sprintz for those who would like first hand testimonies about the ProSellus solution.

While you might be saying – okay so the nice nav features and web pages – so what? Well I am here to tell you – it’s not only about that – it’s about the impact we are making on the market. If you notice on that website – we are growing – we have customer testimonials, and are gaining momentum. Folks, we are only getting started. For being on the market for LESS THAN A YEAR – we are proving to customers that their business can take off when they leverage our software – and you will see on our site that “Our Customers LOVE us”!

Now to the good stuff….

So, What’s New with our Tool?

Sales Enablement, Sales Acceleration, & Actionable Intelligence COMBINED

The ingredients of our “Secret Sauce” are top secret….but we’ll give you insight into the top  3 concepts ProSellus Growth Engineers leverages to adapt your medical sales business into the modern age and beyond. Two of them you may know about and the other one you MUST know about if you want to be a successful businessperson in the 21st century.

Strategies to “hack” sales are integral to any growth plan for a sales business (this means you, too, sales mavericks). ProSellus offers tools to enhance sales acceleration, transform data into actionable intelligence, and other sales enablement tools for every level. You might not use all of the tools we offer….oh wait, yes you will:

  • Robust search options and filters based on critical healthcare data
  • Forecasting, tracking and reporting of pipeline opportunities
  • Physician resource monitoring and organization
  • Physician and facility finder
  • Sales call and activity tracker
  • Territory and network linking
  • Mobile customer management

And so much more…

 

Remember when we asked “What if Salesforce and LinkedIn had a baby”

Grab your cigar…Here is THAT KID:

 

This kid will be the most successful person in the room. The services ProSellus Growth Engineers offers can be your all-in-one-tool to managing, growing, and understanding your clients and territory. We are a lead generator AND a customer management tool all packaged up and simplified for the on-the-go sales person. After all, when it comes to medical device sales, you can’t afford to fall behind. Email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s talk tools to enhance your business in ways you never thought possible.

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How to Make a Sale 2.0 (for the new age)

For medical device sales reps, the process might get a little stale. Establish contact, build rapport, make your pitch and close the deal. Rinse. Repeat. Pro-tip: if you aren’t closing every time, don’t sweat it (but you should be able to close 95% of the time – this is where proper targeting is key). ProSellus Growth Engineers are always searching for ways to improve and streamline the sales process, so what is the latest news? As it turns out, one of the biggest changes to the sales process has been the shift from selling a product or service based solely on its value in the operating room or patient room. Want to know more? Keep reading.

Bye Bye Broseph…Hello Data

About prosellusA long time ago, you used to be able to “schmooze” your way to victory. Of course, you still have to schmooze, but today, it’s known as “networking” and “resource management.” Despite the fact that establishing value means establishing a relationship, you cannot close a deal on pure charisma and physician wooing anymore. You have to incorporate something else into the sales process: everyone else.

Extending the sales process and your mentality beyond the operating room requires a stamina not many sales reps can develop. You have to engage beyond the physician and establish a connection with administration of the hospital or ASC, or Operating Room Coordinator. So while you may only give your elevator pitch to a physician or small group of physicians, those unfamiliar with general medical processes or devices may require a more thorough education….which means that you may have to educate yourself a bit more. Either way, it’s your product or service. You SHOULD know that thing inside and out.

Also – if you haven’t caught up with the latest and greatest on sales & marketing tools and tactics today – it would be helpful for you to understand how DATA can help drive you towards better decisions that you can THEN turn into deeper networking relationships. Folks, data is power and it’s all around us now. If you don’t know how to harness it – then you might as well go get a job at Starbucks.

Build Trust to Build Your Business

One of the biggest mistakes sales reps make is focusing too narrowly on one aspect of a product or service instead of the broader meaning of the product or service in the context of the market. If you are selling a new piece of equipment for the OR, how does it affect the patient? The nurses? The Chief of Medicine? The EMTs or the administrative staff? By showcasing the fact that you have taken the time to consider the perspectives of people other than YOURSELF and the PHYSICIAN, you will not only establish value for the product or service you are selling, you will establish yourself as an effective and trustworthy sales rep, thus increasing your potential sales market.

Data can also help you achieve this trust. I am not just talking “statistics” – I am talking using raw data to UNDERSTAND your customer BEFORE heading into the practice to make that pitch. Data would help you understand what the customer’s perspective actually IS. What if you knew who your top 5 pain physicians to call on in a day were? Think of how much more effective and efficient you would be if you knew and could plan it out. Think of how much less time would be wasted schmoozing the wrong prospects for your device. Making sense? Read on…

The One Thing You Need Most

If you follow the steps in some of our previous blogs about the sales process, you will achieve success (we practically guarantee it). Of course, increasingly, you may encounter THAT client: the one who asks for extreme discounts, preferential treatment or things you simply can’t provide – even if that just means your time…which is arguably more valuable than your knowledge of all things medical device related. Rather than 100% blowing them off, consider that word we mentioned earlier…you know….perspective”. Educate yourself with the data then try a different approach first.

“The key here is to understand the reasons behind the request. Is the materials manager asking for a discount because they are concerned about the impact of reduced reimbursement for the procedure? Or, is the materials manager primarily concerned about meeting their cost reduction goals? How would you know what their motivation is? The simple solution to this problem is to ask.” – PM 360

Remember all those blogs about establishing value through establishing relationships? Guess what: the biggest part of any relationship is communication. If you try to understand why this person feels entitled to or is asking for what you think is preferential treatment, don’t try to guess. Don’t try to “fill in the blanks.” ASK (relationship) and LEARN (data). You can improve your trustworthiness and potentially sell them on another product or service in one fell swoop. Boom.

Another big mistake many sales reps make? Not knowing what the heck ProSellus Growth Engineers does for their sales & marketing business. If you don’t know what actionable intelligence or sales acceleration are, you are in the weeds and behind the times. Email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com . Let’s talk shop, sales, and growth hacking. Show me your perspective.

Smiling woman in a car with tablet

ProSellus Announces New Sales Enablement Tool for Medical Device Sales!

We are proud to announce that ProSellus, Inc. has released a new fully loaded sales enablement tool, designed by healthcare sales reps for healthcare sales reps. This new tool includes a multitude of functionalities specifically designed to support the requirements of the always-on-the-go healthcare sales rep while making calls out in the field.  These functions include: targeted physician & facility searches based on tens of millions of healthcare data points; the ability to forecast and track sales revenue, build referral networks for physicians and facilities, track sales call activities with physicians and much more. I am personally thrilled to offer up this un-paralleled solution to my former medical device peers.  When I was a rep, we needed the ability to generate sales at lightning speed and there were no tools that enabled us to do that effectively. Now both sales and marketing professionals can access (EASILY) robust healthcare data in a mobile, easy-to-use actionable format that points them to the hot opportunities in seconds.

Do yourself and your team a favor and set up a quick demo here and now. 

Whether it’s targeting physicians based on specialty, prescriptions or procedures, ProSellus can serve up a targeted list, in any geography in the country, in a matter of seconds while a rep is in the field.  While this tool crunches complex healthcare data on the back end, it’s easy enough for a 12-year-old to operate. As a former sales rep for a major medical device company, I was given tools to use that were clunky, complex and difficult to use. Those literally were a waste of time and company money. This tool was developed as an alternative to those dinosaur applications and spreadsheets. It actually impacts revenue for the sales rep immediately and is simple to use. ProSellus carries similar features as a CRM tool but with less complexity and more intelligence. It’s like having a healthcare database expert on key things device reps need to know (and normally don’t have easy access to) in your pocket at all times.  It is also designed specifically for the healthcare sales industry, although plans to apply the product to other industries are in the works.

As always if you have questions, please email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com. You can also check out our two new eBooks: one for Sales Reps and one for Sales and Marketing Directors/VPs – to learn tips and tricks from the pros on how to  set your quotas on fire!

Get to hunting and don’t waste anymore time!

 

salesvsmarketing1

Sales Vs. Marketing: What You Need to Know

Many people, regardless of industry, often combine two vastly different concepts: sales and marketing. While these two often work hand-in-hand to achieve great things and impossible tasks, they are incredibly different. I’ve heard all of the analogies – from salespeople being the talkers and the marketing people being “the brains” to both of them being written off as swindlers. Guess what: everything you have heard is probably 100% wrong.

So let’s set the record straight. What is marketing? What is sales? How does understanding sales and marketing help the business of a medical device sales rep? You know the drill. Let’s get started.

Sales: More Than Just Closing Deals

We have all seen Glengarry Glen Ross and that infamous scene where Alec Baldwin’s tells everyone to “Always Be Closing”. But the sales techniques of the past (even from the middle 2000s and early 2010s) aren’t going to cut it in today’s world of big data and transparency.

Sales reps today have to work even smarter to maintain and expand their territory. By utilizing groundbreaking and growth hacking strategies like sales acceleration, you can use actionable intelligence to grow your business. So, what is sales in the modern age? Is it just a series of numbers on a spreadsheet or a signature on a dotted line? Kind of, but it’s more about data interpretation and synthesis than it is meeting quotas. It’s also about utilizing the latest technology available to the masses and keeping up with the “Joneses”. If your career is in sales, and you do not stay up to speed with mobile tech – you are losing out.

The best way to look at sales vs. marketing is to consider sales the “Brick and Mortar” or “Practical” aspect of this relationship. You’re focused on hard statistics and timelines like sales numbers and fiscal quarters. Even moreso today, with big data playing an increasingly large role in how we conduct business, salespeople and medical sales reps are focused on numbers. The closest and simplest analogy would be the STEM department in your average university.

Marketing: Not Just Facebook Ads & Commercials

Let’s piggyback on that last paragraph. If your sales team is like the STEM department, what would that make the marketing team? If you guessed the social sciences and arts, you nailed it. In the same way that a society can’t function without its engineers and doctors, you need artists, writers, designers, and researchers to come full circle in the world.

The marketing team crafts the message that the sales team represents. Whether you are offering a service or a product, you don’t just have a Powerpoint of bulleted lists of why someone should be interested. You have engaging copy on marketing materials, online web ads, LinkedIn blog posts, or even in-person campaigns. Of course, individual sales reps have to pull double duty on this one; there is no “marketing department” to bounce ideas off or “HR department” to depend on for administrative help.

Regardless of the scope of your business, you need to always be ahead of the trends while still employing current strategies. One of the most popular marketing techniques today is selling a mindset or lifestyle instead of products or services. Brand loyalty hinges upon transparency and relatability of a company significantly more brand legacies. This is the point where sales and marketing come together.

Want to be a Great Sales Rep? Master Sales AND Marketing

Combine concrete numbers with creative problem solving solutions and you have a recipe for success. Your next question might be, so which came first – chicken or egg? Truth be told, that doesn’t matter. What matters is how your sales and marketing strategies work with each other toward the ultimate goal of success. You can’t make sales if your marketing doesn’t produce leads and you can’t turn leads into sales if your sales reps aren’t taking those leads successfully down the pipeline to close. Some have tossed around the term “smarketing”….but I have a better suggestion: sales acceleration.

What if there was a way you could marry sales and marketing into one software tool? Meaning, what if there was a tool that both generated qualified leads and then helped sales close the deal AND maintain the account? It is possible. Right now – sales lives in CRMs, and to a certain extent, marketing does too, however marketing also lives in marketing automation platforms and a million other types of platforms that cost thousands of dollars and turn your “tech stacks” to high-rises with confusing ROI’s.  There is no reason why sales and marketing should work within different technology platforms when they can work hand in hand.  

Sales acceleration strategies can streamline sales and marketing team processes for startups and enterprise level businesses alike. You don’t need tons of different specialists or software and programs anymore. Your all-in-one-tool for growing your business is right here with ProSellus Growth Engineers. Email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com to discuss the future of your business and be sure to read more about sales acceleration, growth hacking, and other medical sales reps tips on our blog.

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10 Things All Medical Devices Reps Should Learn in Training

Training sessions are often rehashes of what we already know, but, improving sales strategies should always be on your goals list. You don’t need to spice up training or even make it more complex; you need to focus the message and distill key elements from it. Basically – trim the fat. Here are 10 things all medical device sales training programs need in an easy to access list from ProSellus!

Start With The Basics

#1 and #2: Client Schedules & Mobility

Your first concern when crafting a new training program for medical device sales reps: respect for client schedule. After all, without your client base, your business wouldn’t exist! Listen to your clients’ needs, understand their needs, and be firm, but flexible. Next….you have to consider something mostly everyone takes for granted: mobility. The best part about smartphones is that you literally have a computer with you everywhere you go. You can access email, send texts, Skype people, and even access documents on your phone (and locate the nearest Starbucks). Can your training program work anywhere at any time for anyone – including you?

#3 and #4: Transparency & Snackable Information

Third up on the list is something many companies from “Mom and Pop” shops to massive corporations practice: honesty and transparency. Forbes argues that both of these factors are increasingly important in conducting any client based business. If you want to make sales acceleration techniques work best for you, ProSellus Growth Engineers recommend this path, too. Fourth on the list? Digestibility. And yes – information works just like food. Have you broken information in your training program into bite-sized pieces? Pro-tip: doing so allows trainees to more easily and effectively process information. It also gives you breathing room.

Protocols? Specialties? Vernacu-what?

#5 and #6: Documentation & Word Choice

HR (or human resources) gets the fun job of parsing things like employee handbooks along with administrative duties such as hiring and firing. Of course, if you’re a self-employed sales rep, you are your own HR department, accountant, chauffeur, etc. Adhering to documentation protocols might seem like it comes second fiddle to closing deals, but if you don’t practice good documentation, it could come back to bite you in uncomfortable places. Notice that I didn’t say a more common phrase that starts with “bite you in the…” there. That brings us to our next point: vernacular. That’s just a fancy word for the types of words you use, but it can drastically affect how clients interact with you. Consider the connotations of words and not just the dictionary meanings. Can you tell me the difference between “plot” and “plan”? The difference is probably a sale versus. a fail.

#7 and #8: Strong Sells & Specialization Knowledge

Our seventh piece of advice might seem counter-intuitive, but trust us – it makes sense. You need to avoid strong sells. It’s the 21st century. Everyone has internet access, curiosity, and common sense….or all of the above. No matter how much of a smooth talker you think you are, there will be clients who disagree. Read the room and have your facts handy. Speaking of facts, knowledge of adjacent specialties to a client’s industry and where patient populations come from will impress current and potential clients. It also works hand-in-hand with sales acceleration techniques. If you’re drawing blanks when we say “sales acceleration techniques”, keep reading.

Make Sure The Bow Looks Nice

#9 and #10: Repeat-ability & A Secret Weapon

What’s the last part of any gift you give? The bow! The ninth step to complete any medical device sales reps training package includes a key step: repeat-ability of training. You want complete strangers to be able to understand 100% of your training, but you also don’t want to expend every ounce of energy you have during training all the time, every time. All medical device sales training programs need to be easily repeatable, portable, and wrapped up in an attractive package that has evergreen information. Hint: “evergreen information” is information that never gets old and is always useful – like this list!

That brings us to number 10: ProSellus. Email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com for more information on how our tool can enhance your business, improve efficiency, and put all that big data to work for you. In the meantime, check out our other blogs like Improving Your Bottom Line in 3 Steps or Learning the Market: A Beginner’s Guide

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Is Technology Rewriting the Marketing Handbook for Medical Devices?

The World of Marketing Is a New Wild West

You might have noticed a trend in all of those seemingly innocuous Facebook and Instagram ads you see every day: they relate to your recent searches. Marketing companies have been using curated ad campaigns for individuals for a few years now to better serve potential clients. Instead of seeing a random ad for something odd like the best preschool in your neighborhood, marketing algorithms will curate ads specifically for you. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. It’s the new gold mine for sales.

 

No Followers Allowed; Leading Is The Only Option

Here at ProSellus, we talk a great deal about the life of medical device sales reps, as well as the changing industry with which we have to keep pace. But we also talk about the future. The truth is, the future is now. This article, written by the founder of Shift Thinking, unpacks the reality that technology has catapulted the medical industry into the future.

Not only are we seeing extreme advancements in medical technology, but the way we, as sales reps, can harness data for our own business growth strategies. Again, we work ourselves ragged maintaining and expanding our territories and cultivating relationships. However, in order for us to be the badass, successful reps we know ourselves to be, we have to keep up with, if not anticipate, technological changes and how they sway the market. This also means – yep, you guessed it – we have to adapt our marketing & sales strategies along with this. I don’t mean keeping up with the latest demo of a product or marketing collateral on your mobile device type of advancements – I mean adapting your thinking to outside of the box. It’s not difficult, actually when you get it – it’s a light bulb moment.  Keep reading.

 

What’s With the Sanctimonious Tech Talk?

You might be thinking, “My business runs mostly on relationships and my reputation. I don’t need to keep up with this Pokemon GO crap.” That’s where you’re wrong…again. Pokemon GO utilizes a budding technology in the medical industry: augmented reality. This is similar to virtual reality, but utilizes the user’s current world and adds virtual elements to it.

“…these virtual experiences can be delivery across a variety of platforms: on websites, sales laptops, mobile devices and high-definition touch screen appliances. Sales & Marketing teams can present any time and anywhere…”

The beauty of harnessing augmented and virtual reality technologies for medical sales reps is that you can make your business that much leaner, efficient, and effective.

Embracing Data Can be Quite Simple Actually

3D Technology, other interactive technology, and Big Data also play a vital role in this movement from products and services to mindsets. Changing the way people approach purchasing medical devices requires knowing what the focus of the industry is now: storytelling. Your clients care about things like: their patients, costs, emotional labor, etc. New technologies require new perspectives. Your job is to market these perspectives thereby instigating the correct value proposition which leads to a sale. Can you keep up? There is an entire world of data out there that can help you understand what your customer cares about. How do you access it?

(Let’s take a break here for a second, I need to vent… Data? Really? Me, as a sales rep, am supposed to use Data? Like Google? I Google docs all the time; the results usually leave me with more questions than I originally had. Sure, my company knows how many widgets my doctors implanted or prescribed and that’s helpful, but every time I get data from the Marketing team I can’t read ANY OF IT! Why can’t you get me this “so-called” valuable data in a format that I can actually do something with?!?! We typically just delete it.  We don’t use Excel or CSV, especially in the field! It needs to be easy if you want me, or us, to use it. Why is that so hard to understand? Ok. I’m done with my tirade.)

Now, how do you access this data? We can show you how and we have the technology to help. The light bulb went off for me and now we are giving it to you.

Sales Strategy is a Mindset…Time to Giddy Up

Being a medical sales rep is a little like being a cowboy in the wild west: every day is a new adventure. You have to adapt to the unforgiving heat and the cold, cold nights. Technology is your best bet on thriving so says Mark Bonchek:

“…digital innovation and technology is revolutionizing this by equipping Sales & Marketing to create compelling experiences, increase audience engagement, and build credibility and context.”

Technology and data are the key to getting ahead as a sales rep and as a sales manager. What if you could have all of this in your pocket while you were out in the field? If you are ready to transition from cowpoke to bona fide cowboy, email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com. Let’s begin exploring how you can incorporate new technology and metrics to bolster and enhance your medical device sales business.

 

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A Word of Advice for Creating YOUR brand

A Brand is Way More than the Logo and Packaging

In our last post we talked about changing your mindset to sell your product, or at the very least the mindset of your customer. We talked about how current marketing techniques are targeting specific things to make you think differently about products. For example, we spoke about Fitbit and how it not only sells an activity tracker, but it sells a “healthy lifestyle”, which obviously isn’t in their product. Fitbit is, in fact, building an image and inciting an emotional response that buyers associate with when they see the Fitbit brand.

So, when it comes to you, the medical sales rep (or quite frankly, the marketing team who work with the reps and are trying to determine a way to help your reps sell more) what “lifestyle” or “brand” are you trying to create? Is it the brand of, “My company ‘XYZ’ produces the best, safest, most effective widget?” Is it the brand of, “Our company created this market and we built the device to treat this market, therefore WE are the best, period?” As a medical rep or the marketing professional trying to put your reps in the position to win EVERY time, what brand are you creating or influencing?

I want you to take a hard look at what you sell, what products you support and deep down evaluate the following questions:

  1. Do your customers actually care what “brand” you’re currently trying to sell them?
  2. Do your competitors walk into your customer’s’ office after you leave and spin a similar story?
  3. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, your customers are tired of the same old thing?

Then, why don’t we try and actually sell a brand that transcends competition? A brand that stands out among the rest – truly.

Bringing Value and Creating a Brand go Hand in Hand

At ProSellus, not only have we created an intuitive, dynamic tool which helps reps crush their number, but we also work with sales teams in helping them incorporate a new way of selling. I ask all of the reps we work with a very straight forward question:  How do you bring value?  Interestingly enough, the answers I typically receive are similar to these:

  1. I’m on time…
  2. I have all of my equipment…
  3. I’m prepared for the case…
  4. I’m an “expert” in the OR…

Now, are all of these answers important? Of course they are.  You can’t even do this job if you don’t or can’t do the things listed above, however I’d say bringing value is much bigger than that.

These answers are nothing more than the price of admission to the game. As a rep in this industry you HAVE to do these things. They are the bare minimum!  If you think your competitors don’t do AT LEAST the same thing, you’re absolutely wrong!

So, if all this time you thought you were bringing a ton of value to your customers and they just couldn’t live without you – you are wrong. You’re doing the minimum, and your business is only a knock on the door away from being snatched from underneath you. So, how do we create a brand around bringing value?

I mean, if YOUR brand was that you bring value, and that value is often times unachievable without you, what have you actually created? You’ve created a brand that is irreplaceable – that’s what you’ve done. (This is where we all want to be… irreplaceable!)

Creating the Brand, Selling the Mindset, Changing the Game

Maya Angelou, a famous poet, memoirist and civil rights leader has a quote that I think exemplifies what we are trying to do with creating our brand, selling the mindset and changing the game: 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou 

People will never forget how you made them feel… THAT my friends is what we are trying to create! Your customers are begging for someone to come into their office and talk about something that actually matters to them!  And it’s NOT your product, I don’t care how revolutionary it is! They want you to paint a picture for them about how THEY can achieve THEIR goals.  They don’t want to hear about YOUR goals, or YOUR product or how YOUR company wants you to sell their product. They hear that all day, every day!

So, instead of selling them something they hear about all day long, what if you sold them something they craved? And what if you were the only person selling it? Could you possibly change the game? Would you possibly change the mindset? Would you now have created such a brand that you (and your company) were known as: The Problem Solver, Different than Everyone Else, Understands the Need, Understands the Market or Totally Gets It?

All of these are better than, oh, the “xyz” rep is here. He/She is in the lounge waiting to see you. And your customer says in their head: “I wonder what line I’ll be told today about how this product is in some way different than it was the last time the rep was here?” Or instead, “what lunch did they bring me today to stand out?”

Wouldn’t you rather the customer to say in their head: “Great! I’ve got several questions to ask ‘John’. I hope he doesn’t have another case after lunch, I may want him to stay for a bit while we talk…”

There IS a way you can stop the madness of this hamster wheel and break free to WIN. I did it myself, and we have built the tool needed by the very folks I sold both side by side with and against. If you would like to chat about how to start creating your value and brand meaningful enough to break away from the herd, email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com.

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Lifestyle Brands Are Onto Something: Sell Mindsets, Not Products

You’re a medical sales rep. You know certain “tricks of the trade” when it comes to marketing, in fact, you might even think that “marketing” is simply a support group for your company that doesn’t really help you sell – I mean they don’t even know the customers like you do, right? And you certainly can’t put your marketing people in front of a customer to help “seal the deal” right? (If any of you know me personally, you know this is the way I’ve thought for years!)  If you think that, you definitely don’t know all there is to know. If you think a bit more critically about the current ads you see on social media, you’ll see that they are not only curated specifically for YOU, but also they aren’t just peddling products or services. In fact, they are hitting on a deeper psychological level for the consumer. Take a closer look at these brands. Notice things like Rapha, Hollister, Ray Ban, and others? What are they selling?

If you said “bike stuff, clothes, and sunglasses,” you’re wrong. Take an even closer look. They are selling lifestyles. Nike, Tesla, or any cosmetics company – all of them are lifestyle brands. Increasingly, brand loyalty isn’t built by just having great products; it is built by creating a mindset for market bases. It’s about tapping into that deeper psychological level for the consumer and selling a feeling that induces brand loyalty.  Now, as a medical device sales rep, are you doing the same thing these ads are doing? Are you creating brand loyalty? (Hint: A lot of the time, YOU are the brand.) Or are you just selling your products on the features and benefits that differentiate from the competition?

If you’re just selling features and benefits… you’re missing the boat…

Change Your Outlook… Improve Your Business

Aside from pressure to hit quota, lack of time, and increasing competition, one of the major problems with how many medical sales reps approach their business practices is their own mindsets.  Many reps focus on a commodity mindset thanks to all those outdated sales techniques and traditions drilled into us in training or trial by fire. We are intimately familiar with the benefits of whatever devices we represent and how we are better than the competition, but our clients are, at the end of the day, numbers to us – and most of the time we miss valuable sales opportunities due to our myopic view of selling.  (A lot of us are SO worried about making “the number” we miss opportunities to create “the brand” that can ensure you’ll never be worried about making the number again.)

Excusing the sales acceleration techniques we discuss often around here at ProSellus, medical device sales reps need to adapt their mindsets and approach their physician customers from a different angle with a different pitch. That “feeling” or “lifestyle” being conveyed through those marketing ads I discussed can also be communicated through you – and in such a way that those other factors I listed above (competition, quota pressure, etc..) won’t be a problem anymore. I know, sounds crazy right?

Okay….So How Do You Sell a Mindset Anyway?

Aside from pressure to hit quota, lack of time, and increasing competition, one of the major problems with how many medical sales reps approach their business practices is their own mindsets.  Many reps focus on a commodity mindset thanks to all those outdated sales techniques and traditions drilled into us in training or trial by fire. We are intimately familiar with the benefits of whatever devices we represent and how we are better than the competition, but our clients are, at the end of the day, numbers to us – and most of the time we miss valuable sales opportunities due to our myopic view of selling.  (A lot of us are SO worried about making “the number” we miss opportunities to create “the brand” that can ensure you’ll never be worried about making the number again.)

Forbes lists a few brands for you to study, but you don’t have to look much further than your own Instagram or Facebook feeds. Medical industry related brands include things like Fitbit or even Aflac. With a Fitbit, you are not only buying an activity tracker and gadget, you are buying your way to better health. With Aflac, you are literally paying for peace of mind or….a more peaceful mindset. Are you picking up what we’re putting down yet? So how can you adapt your own selling approach to build this advantage over the competition? It starts with understanding what it is your customer physician cares about and then curating that value specifically for them.

“Lifestyle brands implement a strategy that is the complete opposite of “A.B.C.” Their marketing doesn’t explicitly imply the selling of their product; rather, it’s about figuring out creative ways that their brand can enhance their consumers’ way of life.”
Forbes on Lifestyle Brands

By marketing mindsets instead of products, you are doing the opposite of the adage “Always Be Closing”. Your first question might be: “I’m a SALES rep. If I don’t make sales, am I doing my job?” Nope. This strategy should be an ADDITION to your arsenal, but not a substitute for any other tool. Your job requires tenacity, adaptation, and versatility. Rise to the occasion!

Don’t Fall Behind…

For more brand study, consult this Business Insider article or email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com. Let’s talk all things marketing, medical sales, and revenue. Or are you okay with staying in that same old mindset? If you are, better beef up that resume.

 

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How Can I Become A Thought Leader in Medical Device Sales?

Many self-proclaimed gurus and experts will sell you all kinds of tools, fancy words, and ideas that amount to bupkis. As a medical device sales rep, you know how to determine a good value proposition from a swindle, so how can you transform this savvy into leadership? As ProSellus approaches a huge milestone, our team began to ponder: “How do you go about becoming a thought leader in medical device sales?” Is it all about following the “right people” on LinkedIn and sharing, linking, or reposting things?  Is it solely about letting your work speak for itself? As with most things, the ProSellus team found that it’s somewhere in between those extremes.

First Step: Have Patience & Fortitude

Everyone expects the first step to be some huge declaration of philosophy or self, but that’s not the secret sauce guys. Just take a look at a very brief snapshot of how Bill Facteau transformed Acclarent:

“Under Bill’s leadership, Acclarent went from concept to acquisition in 5 ½ years, raised over $100M, created jobs for approximately 400 employees, grew revenues to $100M and became profitable.”

It took 5 and a half years yes, but look at all of those results. Folks, it takes time! Develop your business identity and hone in on what goals matter most to you. Diluting your vision is the biggest misstep you can make on your journey to becoming a thought leader in any industry. You might also want to list thought leaders you admire or want to emulate, as well as an action plan with long and short term goals.

There are many people who’ve been in an industry for years and think they “know” it all, but the reality is, unless you go further than your peers, you’re not really learning more right?  I don’t mean further as in, “being promoted,” or “climbing the corporate ladder.” I literally mean you need to learn more about your business than everyone else.

Instead of knowing about your business, learn how other businesses impact your business and vice versa.  If you have an innate knowledge of the flow of business and how yours will be impacted, you have tremendous insight most others don’t even know to look for.  NOW you can speak at an entirely different level than your peers.

Now, THEY begin to look at YOU as a thought leader because you understand the business in much greater detail.

Next Step: Focus on The Message

Developing a consistent and resonating brand and message is tricky enough without the added stress of trying to become a thought leader. One unfortunate aspect of this journey: sometimes, you’re just not meant to do it. We can’t all be Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Steve Jobs once asserted that the most important thing he created was the company Apple – not the iPad or the original Macintosh. A true thought leader doesn’t concern themselves with the product or service their company represents. A true thought leader knows that the message is what matters and how that message interacts with and impacts others.

Of all places to expect advice on how to develop powerful messages, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (literally….NACCHO) offers great, straight-forward advice we just can’t ignore:

  • “Communicate clearly to the audience”
  • “Specify your request”
  • “Provide a reward that your audience cares about”
  • “Make the reward believable by providing evidence to back it up”
  • “Use vivid and appropriate images”
  • “Choose the right moment”
  • “Choose the right messenger”
    – NACCHO Media Outreach

How do these platitudes apply to the medical device sales industry? GREAT question. Your audience is obviously your clients – WRONG. Your audience is your fellow salespeople and other medical device sales experts. For certain messages, your audience may even be the medical device companies themselves. Be sure to check back next month when we further explore this list and how it applies to medical device sales thought leadership techniques!

Final Step: Rethink, Not Repeat

The final step (which you do repeat often) is not about repackaging a message using synonyms and new graphics. It’s about approaching your message from an entirely different angle. By seeing how this might affect a different audience or how a different audience might view the message, you gain more understanding. Then, you can communicate the message more effectively to a wider variety of people, thus expanding your market.

Want to know more? Email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s talk thought leadership, sales acceleration, and all things medical sales. What can the ProSellus Growth Engineers do for you?

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