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Do Millennials Get a Bad Rap?

Can They Make it in the Uber-Competitive Medical Device Industry?

Millennials.

They don’t buy American beer. They don’t play golf. They help others in need. They save more money than their predecessors. They aspire to a work-life balance.

Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but sometimes in the Med Device Industry, there is NO work-life balance.

Gen-Y, the upscale word for “millennials”, is impossible to ignore.

They are the largest population in the U.S. and get bashed, more so than other generations prior. “Millennials” or “Gen-Y” often equates to a slew of words including:

  • Arrogant
  • Narcissistic
  • Entitled

Let’s not forget “selfie”. There’s a constant debate whether these points are true, but what is true, is that millennials make up the majority of the U.S. work force. Which means, it’s just a matter of time before they make up the majority of your sales team, if they don’t already…

By 2025, they’ll make up 75% of it. It’s critical to understand who millennials are and how they think to recruit top talent to the medical device industry.

Which leaves two choices. You can continue to judge millennials, or you can focus on their strengths, of which they have many.

I know, I know… many of you sales managers out there have gotten very accustomed to the sales teams you’ve had in the past that had the mentality of kick a** and take names, but if you don’t embrace this group of up and comers you will find yourself on the outside looking in.

Think about it, these shapers of our culture are all millennials:

  1. Mark Zuckerburg – Creator of FaceBook
  2. Brian Chesky – Founder of Airbnb
  3. Matthew Mullenweg – Creator of WordPress
  4. Jessica Alba – Creator of the Honest Company
  5. Adam D’ Angelo – Founder of Quora

And the list could go on.

There’s a power in not settling for the status quo of how things have been run in previous generations, for not accepting anything but a workplace meritocracy, a stimulating environment where la crème de la crème of ideas win.

Medical Sales is Ideal for the Millennial Lifestyle (to a degree…)

The medical device industry isn’t for everyone. You don’t get to hit snooze three times before dragging yourself to work to clock in at nine, just to stare at the clock for the next eight hours. You must be sharp, have self-motivation to devour the day and bring solutions to your clients, even before they know they need them.

It’s stressful and there’s a high chance of turnover. On the same token, it’s the ultimate meritocracy – a work environment where the talented are chosen and advanced based on achievement.

You can’t fake numbers. You can’t fake cultivating authentic relationships with medical staff. Nor can you fake bringing value to physicians and nurses with the newest technologies on the market that can help them and their patients.

For some, a lucrative and equally competitive industry serves as motivation to push the envelope. The reward is work autonomy, making great money {far more than their peers with the same level of education in other industries} and living an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

Status.
Freedom.
Money.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Not everyone makes it as a medical device sales rep. Most crack under pressure and fail to deliver.  But, the ones that do, reap significant rewards.

Do millennials have what it takes to make it in the medical device industry?

Yes! I think they can thrive, as the med device industry is a culture and way of life that parallels what they are looking for in their work.

Here are eight reasons why:

1: THEIR PRODUCTIVITY INCREASES WITH A “FLEX” SCHEDULE

Gen-Y wants to slay the 9-5 mentality.

The argument is: flexible hours increases productivity, incentive and job satisfaction. It’s estimated that in the next decade, the 9-5 approach may be eradicated entirely.

Over 75% of millennials want flexible hours, something that is completely possible in the career of medical sales. Although a demanding industry, you have the power to dictate your hours. In fact, medical sales reps admit flexibility is one of the highest perks of their career.

You may have to get up at 5am and work throughout the day – on and off – until midnight, but the work autonomy is worth its weight in gold. You can make that yoga class and carve out time to catch up with an old friend over lunch.

Millennials know not to take work autonomy for granted, they know it’s okay for the lines that divide “life” and “work” to blend, and they feel comfortable when it happens because it’s up to their disposal when to shift from work back to personal time.

 

2: THEY SUFFER FROM WANDERLUST & TRAVELING A TERRITORY IS PART OF THE MEDICAL DEVICE INDUSTRY

As I’ve mentioned, millennials are allergic to cubicles, in fact, they travel more than any other generation. I’m kind of jealous to be honest…

Coincidentally, travel is fundamental in the medical device industry. Being out in the field is more common than being in the office. Truth be told, in all my years in the device business I don’t think I really had a ‘real’ office. The office is more of a place to check back in than to get the weight of your work done.

Traveling is inevitable in the medical device industry, especially if you want to be a top performer.

The numbers speak for themselves, the more a medical sales rep travels, the more they make. The highest earning medical sales reps travel 75% of the time.

Whether it’s visiting local hospitals and doctor’s offices – or hopping on a plane to meet a client five states over – it’s not stagnant work. Reps can dictate how much they want to travel, ultimately finding their specific balance between “income” and being present at home with their families.

 

3: MONEY MATTERS, BUT HAPPINESS TAKES THE CAKE

Millennials need money. They want money. To pay bills. To travel. To buy organic food.

This is great, because the medical device industry is a lucrative field. A sales rep can earn $100,000 on average, and there are many that make far more than that.

Millennials value happiness more than money. We’ve all said we would “cut back on work” to be home more and value our happiness, but these people LIVE by that thought process.

Nearly 80% of millennials would rather enjoy what they do than receive a heftier paycheck. And in the realm of work, happiness and enjoyment comes in the form of work-life balance. When millennials have work-life balance, they feel satisfied.

When millennials feel satisfied, they are productive and innovative.

This also aligns with the industry, because the power of this industry is that you can control your input. You dictate your own equation of what work-life balance looks like to you.

What a medical device rep gets out is what they put in, it’s an entrepreneurial way of life.

If they want to work 18 hours a day for that fatter paycheck, it’s within their control and it’s their decision. They get to decide their individual balance that fosters their happiness.

 

4: THEY WANT TO MAKE AN IMPACT & CAN DO SO BY ADVANCING IN THE MEDICAL WORLD

Making an impact.

It made number 3 on the reasons why medical sales reps enjoy their work.

It’s also a top outcome that millennials desire from their work.

In the medical device industry, they can make an impact by allowing patients access to better technology for their treatments, from patients suffering from a headache to those suffering from stage four cancer, and all patients in between.

Medical sales reps believe in the products they represent because they:

Millennials want to make an impact and they can do so through the products and expertise they offer physicians.

Gen-Y wants to feel as if they have a purpose in the cutting edge, as well as give back. They want to know and feel that what they are doing matters in the world and is bettering at least one person.

What better way to do so than with medical technology?

 

5: THEY THOROUGHLY ENJOY COLLABORATING

Millennials are seeking out workplaces that honor collaboration.  It’s on their list of top ten things they want in a work environment.

The medical device industry is built on collaboration with leading physicians, surgeons and nurses of all specialties. These medical leaders and medical sales reps are ultimately working together to improve the patient experience,  surgery, etc.

In many sales and clinical positions in med device today, the reps play a critical role and are looked at as “part of the team” when treating patients. How about that for collaboration?

It’s about meeting with leading medical professionals and figuring out a way to enhance their practices and what they offer. It’s being part of a team that is offering cutting-edge equipment to progress the medical world.

 

6: THEY FOSTER WORK RELATIONSHIPS

It’s no coincidence that medical sales reps report that the relationships they cultivate with their clients and with the patients they serve is the number one reason they love what they do.

The need for relationships is in our DNA.

Millennials know the power of authenticity when it comes to working relationships. They won’t just take your material product and go sell it door to door at physician’s offices. Millennials are more likely to sell your mission and to believe in the product they are offering their customers.

Product knowledge and being informed prior to a purchase is key to Gen-Y. They will know your product, they will be prepared to answer any questions from potential prospects, not in an aggressive “greasy sales guy” type of way, but in an “I’m offering your practice value” way.

Millennials put the spotlight on people, not the cut on commission that is going to hit their account. Trust me, when it’s the other way around, meaning commission is first on your mind, it’s obvious to your customer and a big turn off to them.

The authenticity millenials cultivate in their working relationships and friendships has shown to increase their productivity.

It’s this type of mindset that leads to excelling in the medical device industry.

 

7: THEY WELCOME FEEDBACK FROM THEIR HIGHER UPS

As a medical sales rep, your manager will always give you feedback to how you are ranking in your territory.

This constant flux of feedback drives millennials to give their absolute best. Don’t confuse feedback for admiration, that’s not what it’s about. Gen-Y wants to keep tabs on the score, they want to know how they are doing and how to improve. Over 70% of millennials are satisfied with their work when they receive frequent feedback.

SALES MANAGERS! WE’RE TALKING DIRECTLY TO YOU: WHEN WE SAY FEEDBACK, WE’RE NOT TALKING MICRO-MANAGEMENT OR BELITTLING. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT BEING A LEADER, A COACH, A MENTOR. MILLENNIALS ARE VERY COACH-ABLE.

 

What I mean is, Gen-Y is loyal to a place of work where a sense of rapport exists enough that there is that open sense of communication and transparency.

In medical sales, you won’t always see your boss in the office, it’s heavily built on text and email communication – because of the distance between management and sales reps. This e-feedback works for millennials as they are accustomed to check in and reply via text and email.

 

8: THEY HAVE TECHNOLOGICAL PROWESS & THEY KNOW THE POWER IT HOLDS

Millennials adapt to new technology twice as fast as others. That comes as little surprise, as they grew up with technology at their (literal) fingertips. They also know that data doesn’t lie. Selling to them is a science, with a specific working equation, evident in data.

Gen-Y knows that most emails are read at a specific time, under a specific word count, with a specific subject line and format to the message. The point is, they follow the research trends and apply what works to prospective leads – they aren’t picking processes out of a hat.

Before meeting with a potential customer, a millennial has seen their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, etc. and understands their personal vibe and philosophy.

Any millennial knows that before meeting with a client, the prospect has also checked them out online as well as the product they are interested in. And they’re right, greater than 50% of a prospective clients decision is made by hopping on google and scoping out the scene, before a face-to-face meeting.

Millennials understand the power of branding LinkedIn and Twitter consistently to further drive the value that they offer in terms of what they do and why they do it. Selling themselves socially comes as second nature to Gen-Y.

In the medical device industry, a physician has checked out the company, rep and whatever research there is on the new device, before the rep appears at their office with a suitcase and a dozen bagels.

It helps to have a consistently branded social media stream, as it strengthens first impressions even prior to the first face-to-face meeting. Social Media and information doesn’t intimidate Gen-Y. It’s clear that they use their technological savvy to their advantage.

The bottom line is this: all the tools you’ve been trying to get your reps to use for years… millennials will use them, but only if they are valuable to their business.

They understand data and crave more of it, but in the fast-paced world of med device, the company needs to catch up to the millennials. Companies cannot continue delivering data and expecting data in old, dinosaur-esque files like Excel and CSV.

Those tools are fine if you spend 90% of your work time behind a desk, but that isn’t the reality for most of your reps.

THE TAKEAWAY? URGE MILLENNIALS TO GET ON BOARD

Foster a work environment that appeals to the millennial mindset and they will be inspired to offer priceless ideas that can take your operation to the next level.

If you can offer Gen-Y the opportunity to make an impact, to find a sense of purpose, reasonable pay and the freedom for them find a healthy work-life balance, then you are on your way to attracting top millennial talent and thought leaders.

Talent that wants to live and experience the best of life, as well as create something impactful in their specific industry.

Loyalty is something that will have to be earned with Gen-Y, it isn’t accepted at face value.

How will you earn their loyalty at your company?

What are you or your company doing to create an environment for millennials to not just survive but THRIVE? Is there a way to merge the “old school” way of doing things with the analytical mind of the millennial?

If you are at a loss for answers, email me at scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s talk about how ProSellus can help your team EMBRACE and EMPOWER the millennial generation.

 

Medical physician doctor  woman over blue clinic background.

How Does Thought Leadership Work in Medical Device Sales?

What Makes A Thought Leader in the Medical Device Sales Industry?

Becoming a thought leader — regardless of industry — can be a tricky path to walk. You can’t just say what works for your brand and your business or practice. You have to consider the grander industry at-large, too.

Specifically in medical device sales, there are a few ways in which you can incorporate thought leadership into your current processes and shift your focus from micro to macro.

Start With Your Motivations

Photo Credit: https://www.ted.com/topics/motivation

We all want to be the best medical sales rep out there. Putting up strong numbers. Closing the most deals (aka ALL of them). Building the most robust relationships over a large territory. But becoming a thought leader requires a complete shift in focus and motivation.

Instead of considering the best ways to increase YOUR numbers, you have to think about how all sales reps can improve. Similarly, if you want to establish your voice as a “North Star” of medical device sales, you have to remove a bit of yourself from the message you want to convey.

But not too much; Steve Jobs didn’t become Steve Jobs by watering down his ambition and vision. Of course, people don’t respond too well to unfiltered and unfettered greed. That’s where item number two on the list comes into play.

Think About the “Ripple Effect”

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That’s one of the laws of physics, but it also applies to thought leadership strategies. If you interact with a fellow sales rep in a negative way, they might carry that energy into their next sales meeting. It could cost them a client.

This might not affect you, but if you are looking to become a leading voice in medical device sales, you NEED to care about how your actions affect others. Ultimately, your attitude and tone mean just as much as the words you use or the overall message you impart to other people in the industry.

 

How to Get People On Board

The biggest challenges for someone transitioning into thought leadership in medical device sales are visibility and engagement. Though normal brands struggle with getting enough shares on LinkedIn, thought leaders need even bigger ROIs to make the kinds of impact necessary.

When we here at ProSellus started seriously positioning ourselves as thought leaders, we didn’t want to half-ass it. We pushed ourselves with a robust content schedule, researching topics and articles, interviewing our own customers and talking to other sales reps in the industry. We knew it would take time to build up clout, but we can now say that we are — definitively — one of the top healthcare startups with a distinct voice and message.

I always close every blog telling people that they can email me, Scottwalle@prosellus.com, at any time with their questions. I mean that. One of the most important factors in the ProSellus journey to thought leadership has been our connection with medical device sales reps and professionals. We live and breathe the message of our brand and the services we offer, too.

Thought Leadership isn’t quite the opposite of business success; it just takes into account the “human” factor that we so often forget in our numbers-driven industry.

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Dear Physicians, We Can Do Better

Are You Letting Down Your Clients or Costing Yourself Business?

As sales reps, we have to be 10,000% confident, but that can sometimes work against our favor. When we focus so much on being the top seller, we lose focus of our own clients — the people we are supposed to serve. In doing that, we might be eating away at our own customer relationships.

This means that we could cost ourselves business. Or maybe….we already are. But the best way to avoid this is to know what kind of sales rep NOT to be.

Don’t Be Just a Pretty Face

Sales reps often take pride in how we present ourselves: sharp clothes, a great smile — you know the life. While it’s great to stay in shape and take care of yourself, this isn’t enough for your clients.

Healthy teeth don’t explain what the benefits of this new device are to the small practice of a local physician. And designer clothes certainly can’t establish a value proposition for switching from one product to another. You have to know your products AND look the part. Sorry, not sorry; that’s the gig you signed up for when you became a sales rep.

Read the Room

Sometimes, a physician just isn’t interested in what you’re selling. It’s a sad truth (and one that shouldn’t occur often), but it happens, and it always happens more than any of us would like. Many of them will be nice and let you do your whole pitch, just to reject you at the end. That wastes your time AND theirs.

Save both of you the trouble and perform an expert cost/benefit analysis before you commit to pitching something to a new or current client.

 http://bojackhorseman.wikia.com/wiki/One_Trick_Pony

Don’t Be a One-Trick Pony

Nobody likes a magician with only one trick. Similarly, while doctors and physicians might like a free lunch or dinner, they generally don’t have the time…oh and did I mention that they are getting entertainment offers from 15 other reps that week as well.  Think of it from their perspective: why are they taking time out of their day to listen to your talk if they are only going to walk away with a full belly?

Don’t get me wrong, they take up those offers quite a bit – but is it establishing true connection and loyalty to your business? Did you really show them something over that dinner that changed the way they saw your company or product? In fact, what differentiated you from those other 15 reps?

Free food and drinks doesn’t establish value; it’s only a severely overused tactic to get a foot in the door with a potential client. Establishing true value for a new or potential client requires knowledge, meaningful connection (not just a meal convo), and actionable data. That’s where ProSellus comes in.

Ditch the “I Just Happened to Stop By” Bit

You want to establish a rapport with your clients because it increases the chance of closing a deal, right? Duh. But what you want to avoid is becoming too “buddy buddy”. You are there for business, after all. Trust me, the buddy thing will fizzle once that next rep comes in with that meaningful data and actually shares something that impacts the physician’s’ business.

Beyond that, you really need to avoid things like the “casual” visit. You know the sales rep I’m talking about. “I was just in the neighborhood and…” “I happened to find something just for you….” Any number of phrases to establish context for this random visit to a physician. It can come off as a selfish act that devalues the time of the physician.

Do NOT be that rep.

Got any other medical device sales rep types to avoid? Send them to me Scottwalle@prosellus.com and we will expand our list just for you.

 

 

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Relationship Management Basics for Sales Reps

As a sales rep, you know that your reputation revolves around your relationships with your clients, your industry contacts, your peers, and pretty much everyone you meet….ever. As a result, relationship management is one of the five keys to success as a medical device sales rep. So what are the basics?

ProSellus is on the case.

Keeping Up With the Ka-Social Platforms

No Kardashians this time around, but there’s plenty of Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. While some contacts are best left in your phonebook on your smart phone or in your Gmail account, others belong on the web, too.

You can work wonders on LinkedIn regarding networking and territory scouting/expansion. You can test out different pitch techniques with Facebook ads. Some of your clients might even be into Snapchat.

Use at your own risk kids.

Temperature Checks & Small Gestures

We’ve previously covered how establishing relationships can establish value. We even put together a handy list of the top 4 ways to establish value for clients. All of these revolve around relationship management.

Learning to pick up on nonverbal communication or incorporating small gestures into your routine with clients can instantly perk up any lackluster contact. Does one doctor really love Star Wars? Make a reference at your next meeting. See if you can parlay that into a discussion about that new medical device you just learned about. Even doctors are starting to do it with trust and transparency, changing ROI into IOR: “impact of relationships”.

Checking the temperature of your relationships seems like a pain, but it’s like tending a garden or doing the dishes. In order to set yourself up for success (i.e. a good harvest or a clean sink), you have to put in the work.

Some of you might have noticed that I said this is just one of five keys to success. Want to know more? Email me Scottwalle@prosellus.com.

Otherwise you’ll have to wait until we publish the second key next month.

 

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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

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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.

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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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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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