Strategies for Coaching Seasoned Medical Sales Staff in the Digital Age
The medical device sales environment is evolving. When its initial digital transformation began years ago, some predicted the decline of the sales rep. However, digital didn’t replace sales reps; instead, it expanded their responsibilities. While face-to-face interactions are still a critical part of medtech strategy, reps must now leverage personalized data and contextual knowledge.
Sales reps must also provide compliant content to healthcare professionals (HCPs) efficiently and effectively. In the past, it was sufficient for teams to build relationships with surgeons. Training medtech reps simply meant getting them up to speed on diseases, products, and competitors. Although it’s still important to understand the clinical needs of your end users, reps need to understand their overarching context.
Sales teams now have expanded roles and strategies. This often requires “unteaching” your seasoned reps. Veteran medtech sales reps come with years of experience as well as their own preferred way of doing things. It’s up to you to provide specific, tailored feedback to get them aligned with the latest approaches. Below are some coaching strategies for seasoned sales staff in the evolving digital age.
The Modern Buyer’s Journey
In the past, medtech sales reps generally pitched the features and benefits of a product to healthcare providers (HCPs). Because selling was exclusively product-focused, reps often only needed to align with these HCPs. In most cases, reps educated physicians on new procedures—as they pertained to their products.
However, healthcare has radically changed. These days, the HCP is now one of many stakeholders who is involved in making purchasing decisions for medical devices. Reps need to cater to the needs of numerous buyer personas, not just the HCP. And sales reps now must be more strategic by engaging in involved medical and engineering discussions.
While medtech sales veterans may have previously utilized feature-driven sales techniques, it’s important to ramp your entire team up on strategic selling. Medtech reps need to understand a broad group of end users. And they must now act as consultants to everyone in their clients’ offices, not just the physicians.
The modern buyer’s journey is much more multifaceted. Healthcare professionals now define their own business pains and independently seek solutions. In other words, they don’t always start their research with a product. Instead, they seek to educate themselves on how to best treat their patients. This buyer-driven journey places their patients’ needs at the center of the interaction. In this regard, content must be strategically designed around targeted prospects and cater to a self-guided buyer’s journey.
Enable Your Reps
Because of the highly regulated nature of the medtech industry, it’s critical that marketing teams produce compliant content, analyze performance and usage, and ensure that sales reps are empowered to sell. Sales enablement tools align marketing and sales, and enhance productivity and effectiveness with cloud-based planning solutions. They enable sales reps to sell around key account sales plans that account for a multifaceted medical landscape.
Sales enablement technology includes tracking and usage capabilities, which eliminate unused content investments. These tools monitor content consumption at every stage of a sale and ensure reps are up to date and compliant. They help identify which content is being used across your organization and which types of content your marketing team should create for your salesforce.
Linking metrics and content consumption not only provides insight into which types of content are most effective, it also helps build engagement. Usage tracking helps illustrate how end users are interacting with content, including email activity, dwell time, demo time, and more.
Tracking consumption helps outline the following:
- What content is most popular with end users
- What types of content perform the best
- How and where content is consumed
Implement the Right Tools
Many medtech companies have implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) system over the past few years. In fact, many veteran sales reps may not be familiar with CRM in the first place. If this is the case, it’s important to introduce training that synchronizes with digital platforms. And it’s essential to integrate sales enablement techniques into the mix.
Sales enablement tools unlock the value of your CRM by providing sales teams with the right digital assets at the right time and enabling real-time collaboration and coordination around strategic accounts. This allows them to focus on their customers and sales objectives, while still utilizing the wealth of data in their CRM.
It’s important to encourage a strategic approach across your organization—one that aligns with enablement technology. Coaching and retaining veteran medical sales reps rests in your ability to act as a true consultant—one who not only acknowledges your reps’ expertise, but also fosters their growth.
At first, the concept of “unteaching” may seem counterintuitive. Why invest in the time and effort to teach veteran medtech sales reps new techniques when they’ve spent their careers perfecting their craft? While it may be tempting to simply add a few tricks to their current wheelhouse, it makes more sense to provide them with tech-driven techniques that align with the modern medtech buyer.
Take advantage of the seniority of these experienced reps. You might learn a thing or two. However, it’s equally important to coach them on the modern buyer’s journey and enable them to sell with the right technology.