The job of a medical device salesperson is not an easy one. The products you sell are complex, you cover large territories and sales cycles can take forever due to elusive decision makers. Your job also requires always being up-to-date with the newest technological advances and maintaining deep knowledge of healthcare legislation.
Hospitals are usually your main buyers. They’re also large, complex organizations where buying decisions involve several people in different roles, like physicians, financial analysts, or administrators. Interdepartmental decision-making helps hospitals save time and money in the long run.
In the past, your job was to convince just the physician to buy your device. Now you have to face more decision makers and learn how to deal with each of them. You need to use different approaches depending on their role, so being an expert on adapting your pitch to your audience becomes key to your sales success.
You need to identify the decision makers before you approach a hospital with your device. Do some research on the internet, gather important data on a pre-call, or ask them directly how their buying decisions are made.
Key Influencers At Hospitals and How To Win Them Over
The first person you’ll run into at a doctor’s office is the gatekeeper. It’s by design. Receptionists are tasked with filtering through the hundreds of calls and visitors they get in a day, and deciding who is worth the doctor’s time.
You might think that receptionists are a nuisance. After all, they’re keeping you away from your prospect. But they’re just doing their job, and they’re the first decision-makers you’ll face in any clinic or hospital.
A good way of charming gatekeepers is by building a relationship with them.Treat them with respect from the very first moment. Find out some details about them before your first interaction to build trust and connect on a personal level. LinkedIn or Facebook are great for this, so arm yourself with that valuable information that’ll open the door.
Be sure to stay professional, and express your appreciation for the receptionist’s professionalism. Showing the receptionists that you respect their position will get you to your main goal: getting an appointment with your prospect.
The physician is an important prospect, even if she’s not the final decision-maker. The most crucial step in your sales cycle is selling your device to the doctor, and then preparing her to advocate for the deal. She can be your sales champion, so put all your efforts in showing her the real value of the device you’re trying to sell.
According to Google Think Insights, physicians are the top key influencers for purchasing decisions. Plus, 54% of hospital administrators follow colleague recommendations during the procurement process.
Provide your physician with some perspective. She needs to focus on the big picture instead of individual outcomes. Because of her role, she cares about the ways your medical device will help her patients. But it’s your job to teach your champion to focus on ROI instead of the technical advantages of your product when it comes to organization-wide implementation.
This is when resources come into play. Give the physician case studies and videos that showcase your device as an extremely valuable asset. Of course, you are also a resource. Ask your champion if you can accompany her to meetings about your deal. You should let her do most of the talking in a meeting, but you can show your support when appropriate.
The CFO or Finance Department
Medical devices are usually a huge investment and, consequently, most hospitals hesitate to replace their existing devices. Only devices that are certain to save the hospital money or provide them with invaluable help will survive the finance department.
Deals can spend up to two months in the finance department for evaluation. At this stage in the sales cycle, you can touch base with your champion to track your deal’s progress. But primarily, you have to be patient and wait.
Then, after the financial analysts have assessed your device, you might have to face the harsh reality of commoditization. The more common your device is, the less the hospital will want to pay for it. Interdepartmental decision-making downplays the brand and design of a product in favor of affordability.
Can you beat commoditization? It depends. New, innovative devices can demand a high price because they don’t have competitors. Meanwhile, common devices have to be competitively priced and it’s your job to be an expert in your competitors and show your prospects where they’re weak. You want to demonstrate why your device is the best and only solution for your prospect’s problems.
Administrators combine the physician and financial department’s concerns into one. They want your medical device to improve patient care and reduce cost on a long term basis.
If you get the opportunity to pitch to the administrators, create a tailored presentation that focuses on their needs. They want a high value, high impact, and low cost medical device.
By the time you reach the C-Suite, you’re already prepared with the information you need. You’ve talked to the physician and researched information for the finance department.
Just remember, the value of your device is more important than any of its technical features. Connect the dots between the price and the benefits of your product and the decision should be a no-brainer for them.
Knowing how to deal with each of the key influencers in medical device sales can change the game for you. Everyone involved in the decision-making process has the potential to end your sales cycle prematurely, so make sure you know how to win-over each person involved in the deal to move it forward. Of course, you also need a bulletproof pitch to present your product to each of them, as the value you should stress is different depending on their roles and potential pain points.
Check out this blog (coming soon!) to learn more about how to create a perfect pitch for doctors and how to plan the right type of sales meeting with them.