Selling medical devices, technology and related services is a very complex and challenging process. Executives who lead companies that specialize in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals or medical devices will understand that there are margin declines, stricter regulations, more competition and fewer opportunities. The costs of field sales visits continue to rise, sales territories continue to expand and more competitors are fighting for limited market shares. Sales professionals who specialize in health care products and services need innovative training and alternative solutions to help them succeed.
Enhance and Expand Training Guidelines
Time constraints and technology flexibility are key factors when it comes to field training. Some sales managers simply require sales reps to use their smart phones to watch long training videos or read lengthy e-books while in the field. Many sales reps will be too busy, skip to the end and fail to connect new ideas to current practices. Outsourcing training to technology with zero accountability is unrealistic and counterproductive. A better approach is to provide visually digestible portions of information that come with specific deadlines and calls-to-action. For example, email the group a link to a brief TED talk clip and require that everyone share their reflections. Monthly face-to-face training sessions are also beneficial if just for the rapport building that takes place. During the training, share a sample scenario with a customer profile and a dilemma. The answers may uncover better methods and poor practices.
Medical Product Details
Current regulatory standards and the technical complexity of medical devices will never stop growing and changing. Medical sales reps must maintain an encyclopedic knowledge of their products, the associated governing rules and answers to common queries. Provide them with resources and protected time to educate themselves every week. Regardless of a sales rep’s expertise and experience, it may take them one to six months to completely familiarize themselves with product lines. Avoid expecting sales reps to automatically remember vast amounts of information. Instead, implement a comprehensive training systems that tests their knowledge. Some employers prefer to use merit-based competency tests that contain detailed questions and scenarios. Those who pass the exams are rewarded with pay raises, recognition or other incentives.
Train Sales Reps How to Overcome Objections
The regulatory environment and increasing competition make it hard for companies to establish trust with doctors and relationships with hospitals. Sales reps must prove that they are a valuable resource of useful products and industry knowledge. Many health care professionals will have a natural distrust and even bias towards sales reps because of stereotypes or negative past experiences. Sales reps must be are professional in demeanor and appearance. They should be armed with the facts about their products and the parallel counterparts sold by the competition. Before a sales rep goes into any meeting with a health care professional or administrator, they must first take the time to learn about their field and practice. They should understand common obstacles, insurance coverage and the preferred products.
In closing, improved training will enable sales reps to better position their products, overcome obstacles, network with potential buyers and keep up with the changing medical sales environment. Forbes magazine offers insights into the 10 most common mistakes that salespeople make here.
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