MedTech sales – past success doesn’t guarantee future wins

MedTech sales

MedTech sales

For years MedTech companies have enjoyed strong gross margins and top-line growth. As the marketplace shifts to value-based healthcare, BCG (in its 2013 MedTech Value Creators Report) argues the existing business strategy providing these outcomes is no longer sustainable.  The authors suggest: “Companies in all segments of the sector will need to produce high-quality goods at a lower cost.  Zimmer, for example, has holistically restructured its cost base by reducing the size of its workforce, optimizing its supply chain, and transforming its production facilities.”

Perhaps more unsettling, a global study of 4,500 employees at 38 MedTech companies found that skills in critical areas such as key account management and marketing are at less than ideal levels. The transformational changes in the health-care environment will only exacerbate the negative consequences of this situation, as the buying process becomes more demanding and purchasing arrangements become more sophisticated.

Because of all this BCG recommends that MedTech companies must invest in new selling capabilities to deal with the transformational changes.  So what might that look like?

Well first there are some overarching answers.  For example: excellence will not just be about doing something better – it will be about doing something different.  Second, it will be less about just developing relationships and more about providing the insights hospital staff need to reduce cost and improve quality.

But what are some of the new specific skill sets that will define the superior sales team? Here is a short list of some that we think are worth highlighting in order to get it right:

  • Superior performance will require being digitally smart and business savvy.
  • Success will require being better at selling at the executive level.
  • Competence will require being more knowledgeable about high demand disease states and special patient populations.
  • Excellence will require the ability to sell economic value as well as clinical value.
  • Being a trusted advisor versus a product facilitator.
  • Selling as a team versus a lone wolf.
  • Being able marshal and manage the totality of your company’s resources.

Any time of transformation change produces a new set of winners and losers, a piece of the puzzle for being among the former is making the investment in your sales team commensurate with the shifts in the customer’s buying process.   Getting Sales Strategy Right - MedTech -Cover copy

Take a look at our new free white paper – Getting MedTech Sales Strategy Right – download here.

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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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