Medical device sales teams – a challenge to achieving success

health care sales training

medical device sales

Selling as a sales team does not guarantee success. As a matter of fact, teams are frequently misused and ineffective. On the other hand, some organizations have cracked the code and consistently use teams successfully. This is particularly true in medical device sales. For many companies, selling as a sales team simply means a sales person working with technical support staff doing pre-sales work or project implementation. In medical device sales, there are field based technical support people to provide training, do in-service training, support clinical evaluations, and participate in implants. For many medical device sales people, team selling also means bringing a marketing person on a call or engaging senior staff on a VIP trip.

But there’s more to medical device team selling. In the medical device industry companies often have sales people in different divisions who sell to the same physician or physician practice, and/or they also all sell to the same hospital. In most cases they each have their own sales goals and physician relationships. In the past only rarely did one medical device sales person voluntarily introduce a colleague from another division to “their doc”.  But that trend is becoming more and more short lived.  Why?

Two reasons are primarily driving the push towards team selling. On one hand, medical devices companies are realizing they are “leaving money on the table” if they don’t leverage relationships across divisions selling into the same hospital or practice or to an individual physician. And at the same time, hospitals are looking to reduce costs by leveraging their buying power. While medical device companies may consider their products as separate silos, many hospitals do not. They look at their total spend with a medical device company and want to leverage the volume.

So, how can medical device sales people be more successful selling as a team? Take a look at some characteristics of successful sales teams:

  • They have a compelling, clear vision of the team’s purpose that is shared by everyone on the team.
  • Everyone believes there is benefit to the company – and to them personally – for working as a team.
  • Because they perceive the potential benefits significant, they invest their time and effort.
  • Each team member is clear about their role in the team and the expectations.
  • They recognize attitude is critical to success – one team member’s attitude can spread like a wildfire when others are exposed to it.

Underpinning these five characteristics is the role management plays. While some individual teaming activities certainly will occur inside any sales organization, for a corporate-wide initiative to succeed, senior management must be at the forefront: introducing the idea, reviewing the financial incentives, modeling behavior, and providing the medical device sales force with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.  And right behind them, middle and front line managers must also support the idea and help their sales people embrace – and succeed – as they participate in sales teams.

Check out the Sales Training Connection to read other posts on sales effectiveness.

©2011 Sales Horizons™, LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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