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Learning the Market: A Beginner’s Guide

In this age of DIY and endless “How To” Guides, it’s no surprise that there are endless suggestions on how best to educate yourself about business. Market research has also never been easier and yet more difficult. With so many tools to extract all kinds of data, you can get overwhelmed or lost easily. Even experienced healthcare sales reps and Fortune 100 companies have struggled in this Wild West market.

Step One: Use the Tools That Work For You

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There are hundreds of data interpretation tools and analytics software in the world today. Instead of trying to parse through information yourself, you can benefit from these analytical tools. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran in the healthcare industry, you might still be operating on pen and paper (or the electronic equivalent: spreadsheets). While maintaining client information that way isn’t necessarily bad, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective and more time efficient to have that information at your fingertips?

LearningTheMarket3Let’s tap the brakes here for a second Tonto…

That entire paragraph above scares people like you and me.  Ditch my pen and paper? Are you crazy? The overwhelming majority of software tools that “allegedly” are supposed to, “interpret data or provide analytics and maintain client information, etc,” have either been SO complex or SO unintuitive that we salespeople toss them aside. They literally don’t get used, unless of course we are forced to use them.  Even then, the results are subpar at best.

So, how do you bridge this gap we healthcare salespeople have with technology?  Not always like the example above, but many salespeople are resistant to technology and resistant to change.  For example, here is a conversation I’ve witnessed many times between managers and reps:  “Why do I have to use this stupid tracking tool now? I’ve made my quota for years without it.  Do you not trust me to just do my job? Why is it that you guys (corporate and managers) think you’re helping us with your tools, when really you’re making it harder to sell.  How about this: How about you guys actually give the sales people a tool that actually helps us sell!?!?”

Shocking idea… I know…

Ok. I’m glad I got all of that out. I feel better now…

Sales Acceleration is a strategy that incorporates the three biggest facets of the digital age: efficiency, interconnectivity, and influence. To that effect, ProSellus is your all-in-one tool.

Step Two: Do Your Research

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Even though you don’t need to go to the library much anymore, you still need to hunker down and do your research on your current and future clients. Forbes suggests that it is the “key to success” which is exactly what we told you in our last blog. Another Forbes article offers tips to help better identify your target market, but the kind of research you need to do as a sales rep goes way beyond simply saying “my market are these buyers.” You need to craft relationships with physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physician staff and companies – and then maintain those relationships. This means that “research” isn’t just googling information about something, rather, it’s checking in on clients every month, asking about their equipment, and asking about their lives.

Step Three: Build Your References

This step might not be the most difficult, but it is the most important. Once you’ve built the foundation of relationships and developed steps to maintain them, you need to build a network of references. The only advanced mobile tool of its kind, Linx by ProSellus, allows you to manage your market in ways like never before. The unique part about this tool is that it is has social media platform-esque qualities combined with a customer relationship management system. The best part? It is mobile and simple to use. You want to harness your target market in all the ways we have explained above?  This tool is your answer.

Can You Influence Your Market?

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The next question is: who really controls the market? Is it even possible for someone to control the market? Here’s an idea: what if that person was you? Email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com to find the answers to these questions. In the meantime, check out our other blog posts for more ways you can improve your sales rep business!

 

 

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Your First Key to Success

No matter what industry you’re a part of, the biggest concern may not necessarily be the product or service you represent. Is it the people who work for the company? Maybe it’s the price point or barriers to entry associated with the product or service. In reality, it’s the market you serve. After all, they are the ones who purchase the product or service your company provides – no matter at what level you may be involved. We’ve already provided you with a few ideas on what tools can help you bring your Healthcare Sales Reps into the digital age. Now you just have to answer one question: who is the most influential physician in your market?

Quality vs. Quantity

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This is an adage you’ve heard often: “It’s about quality vs. quantity.” But what does that really mean for Healthcare Sales Reps? In an industry based on quantities and quotas, is “quality” even a factor? In a way, yes. Take a look at your list of physician customers. If you’re not already using the ProSellus Linx Software App with all that information at your fingertips, it might take you a minute. Once you’ve got it, identify the physician with whom you have the best relationship. Now identify the physician who provides you with the most business. What’s the difference? Now it’s time for the “nitty-gritty”: take a look at those two physicians in the context of the entire industry and ask these questions:

  • How do the numbers stack up?
  • What’s the scope of each physician’s business?
  • Has either physician referred you to other doctors and physicians?
  • What are the differences between the professional networks of each physician?

Quantifiable Influence

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Similarly to how companies are utilizing “influencers” on social media, you can make your most influential physician customer work for you. You can also do this without having a “robust social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc campaign.” All you need to do is incorporate the win/win relationship strategies we’ve discussed and get some simple information from your most influential customer. Customer testimonies come off as “hokey” in cheesy infomercials, but they’re still one of the most effective strategies in marketing. Not only can their endorsement increase your sphere of influence and customer base, it increases your reputation.

Added Bonuses

Your most influential clients can help you in other ways, too. In the process of identifying your most influential customer, you can better understand your overall market, as well as specialized markets. Basically, identifying your number one client helps you perform a more targeted market analysis. With the new data you’ve gathered, you can craft your sales pitches and marketing materials to better fit your target market.

Want to Confirm Your Thoughts?

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Performing your own market research is a paramount tactic for any sales rep, but you’re still subject to bias and human error. With so many tools at your disposal, it can be difficult to know which ones will work best for you. Email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s discuss the implementation of your first key to success.

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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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The Holy Grail of Sales Acceleration – Part 2

In our last few blog posts, we talked a great deal about how the world is changing. Missing this train would leave you stranded while your competitors flourish exponentially. We also discussed up-and-coming software tools related to sales acceleration, actionable intelligence, and how companies were purchasing these tools for its salespeople to augment the sales cycle in the most important way:  speeding up sales and increasing sales altogether.

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Numbers You Can’t Ignore

Speaking directly to this point for sales reps in the field (especially in the healthcare industry), you may or may not be familiar with some of these sales acceleration tools, but the business of sales enhancement tools has exploded into a big business. The kind of “big” that makes you ask: “How much money are companies spending on these tools?!” The answer: almost $13 Billion. Yes, you read that right – $13 billion. That’s big with a capital “B”!

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Get In the Know

Insidesales.com, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and many other sources have taken notice of the rapidly growing usage of sales acceleration tools across various industries. In 2014, companies were already spending over $2,280 annually on sales acceleration tools per sales rep.  Folks… that was almost 3 years ago. Imagine where this is going.

“The sales acceleration technology category encompasses a large collection of innovative technologies that do not fit neatly under the umbrella of marketing automation or CRM. By definition, this emerging category is devoted to accelerating sales — enabling companies to turn their leads, prospects, and opportunities into paying customers faster than ever before.” – InsideSales.com Chief Marketing Officer Mick Hollison

The money spent by companies investing in sales acceleration technology directly correlated to bigger deals, increased revenue, faster sales cycles and higher close rates. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this information directly from the Insidesales.com report:


Bigger Deals:  Companies that close the biggest deals spend nearly twice as much on sales acceleration technology as the average company spends.

Faster Sales Cycles: Companies with the shortest sales cycles spend 28% more than the average sales communication and intelligence.

Higher Close Rates: Companies with the highest close rates spend 17% more than the average company on sales acceleration technology.

Increased Revenue: The top 50 percent of companies in terms of revenue spend almost twice as much as the average company on sales acceleration technology.

Become an Early Adopter

Earlier in this post, we said that companies spent an average of $2,280 per rep annually for sales acceleration technologies in 2014. Projected budgetary numbers for money dedicated to sales acceleration tools for 2017 are nearly three times that! If you want your sales team putting the competition in the dust, it’s time to start looking for the tool to REALLY help your field salespeople get ahead.

Check out the ProSellus Linx Software Solution here and email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com to incorporate the next tool to revolutionize your arsenal. After all, the more you invest in your field salespeople, the better the results they deliver.

 

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Sales Intelligence 3.0

Sales Intelligence 3.0

What if I told you that you could forecast and control your revenue more accurately, increase your upsell / cross-sell numbers, more easily maintain your contacts and their information – all with one word? With the exponential advancements in technology and the advent and popularity of various social media platforms, change has become part of our every waking moment. Globalization has also played a part in this phenomena and, regardless of industry or age, the world, as we knew it, has changed. By the way, that word we mentioned, ya’ know, the one word that would enable you to do all the things listed above…

That word: change.

Teach Yourself New Tricks

If you didn’t notice this transition over the course of the last 20 years, you’re not alone. Even the millennial generation has to play catch up these days! From your company’s perspective; look at the differences in your new hires today versus days or years past. What do you notice about them? Are they more well-read? More outspoken? Dare I say: distracted? Maybe they utilize techniques we’ve never even considered before. Maybe that’s a good thing.

No matter how you bake them, they’re some pretty different cookies from when you and I started in this business.  Fortunately, this means they bring an entirely different mind-set – an analytical mindset – a mindset that is being embraced throughout the healthcare industry and beyond.

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Adaptive Innovation

Anyone who has been in the healthcare sales industry for more than 15 years worked in this field when we utilized tried and true strategies and tactics to push our customers into the direction we wanted them to go, and it worked! We might be a bit older compared to a lot of folks, but many of those classic tactics are widely utilized today, but in an evolved variation on the original approach. Think of it like the Apple iPhone – think of how many revolutionary iPhone innovations have been consistently delivered time after time again. They listen to their consumer and adapt to their needs. The bar is always pushed higher.

The tools available to companies range from predictive sales technology to ever updating customer management systems and digital information dissemination aides. That was a bunch of fancy words, but what it means for you is that you must create your very own new version of the iPhone. Incorporate all the tools available to you and boost your sales, increase your client base, and give yourself some breathing room in one fell swoop.

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Actionable Intelligence

One of the greatest changes to have taken place in our industry is the access and availability of data and analytics. Whether you’re monitoring your contact list, tallying sales numbers, or checking your Facebook page, insights and metrics play vastly larger roles in our day-to-day operations than ever before. So, how do you best incorporate all of this “big data” into your sales call, sales strategy, or sales tactics? Many people ask me the 3 same questions regarding this overwhelming influx of information: “What can all of this data do for me? “Can it really help me sell more?” “Where do I even begin?” The first step to adapting and improving is asking those questions.

What Can You Do?

As many people are discovering, this industry has changed. Your physician customers have changed and your new teammate who just got hired has changed. Swimming in data and new technologies, it might be time for you to look at things a little differently, too. It’s a big scary new world out there, but instead of ignoring it or balking from it, harness the power of Big Data for your business. Let me help you answer those big 3 questions. Email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com, or go check out the Prosellus App to see how you can make Actionable Intelligence work for your business.

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Social Media Meets Customer Management

What if LinkedIn and Salesforce Had a Baby?

Are traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM’s) tools a thing of the past?

Already…?

Really…?

That was fast.

That’s the world we live in today: a world of social media and heightened interconnectivity. Emerging as a “thought leader” in any industry seems impossible since markets and audiences change seemingly overnight, but when you create an entirely new approach to sales strategies, it’s easy to stand out.

According to Howard Burton, CEO and Founder of RingDNA.com, the CRM craze of the last 10 years has produced an outcry for a more comprehensive tool. He talks about the need for technologies and strategies included under the genre “Sales Acceleration”.  These technologies do exactly what they say they do: accelerate your time and efforts into sales. Every company with a service or product wants to increase sales margins and add new sales leads. The trick now is this: how to acquire these sales in less time?  Technologies which fit into the sales acceleration category are designed to do just that.  These companies take on many different looks, for example: faster/better email platforms, lead generation tools, and role-playing tools (just to name a few).

But, the 2 keys to Burton’s article are the following:

  1. CRM tools aren’t enough. “And while customer relationship management software has done wonders in recent years in storing client data and improving collaboration, it just doesn’t do enough to influence the outcome of deals. Sales acceleration tools can bridge the gap between sales intelligence data and customer calls, by providing representatives with the right data in a useful context – during sales calls.”
  1. Keep a Competitive Edge.  “Demand for sales representatives is up, according to the Bridge Group.  And companies are recruiting less experienced sales reps as a result.” “According to data from the TAS Group, 67% of reps don’t hit their numbers.  Sure there will always be all-star sales reps and underachievers. But these days technology can help far more reps perform like A players.”


Without question, the world is changing.  As much as we may love how things have always been, it’s time to start changing to keep up with our evolving industries or get left behind. So, the question you have to ask yourself is this: “Is my healthcare sales company doing all it can for its sales reps? Are we providing tools to help far more reps perform like A players, even if historically they haven’t been?”

What is your healthcare sales company doing, outside of CRM, to make sure your sales reps have the most impactful data, in a platform your reps will actually use during sales calls – all at their fingertips? Is there a way to merge the connectivity of LinkedIn with the customer management of Salesforce?  If you are at a loss for answers, email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s talk about how ProSellus can transform your sales growth today.

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