MedTech clinical staff spend the majority of their time on client sites – whether at a hospital, standalone medical center, or physician practice – they provide support and education to both clinical and administrative staff. But why stop there?
Because of the transformation changes in the healthcare buying environment, many MedTech companies either already have or are now seriously considering leveraging the clinical support staff to participate more actively in the sales effort.
After all, because they spend a lot of time on site they are in an ideal position to develop relationships, capture competitive intelligence, and identify sales opportunities. They are also very knowledgeable about topics that are important to customers, such as hospitals facing significant pressures to improve quality and reduce costs.
Yet, in many cases the clinical specialists are reticent to get more engaged in the sales process because they lack the knowledge, skills and confidence relative to selling. They are after all first and foremost technical staff by training and experience.
But selling is like any other skill – it’s learnable. It’s not about tips and tricks. It’s a highly skilled profession. You can sell and also retain the customer’s respect for your technical expertise.
All that is why when MedTech companies plan their sales training initiatives, clinical staff are now being considered as part of the target audience.
This raises the question of how to engage the clinical staff in sales training? From our experience, the most critical factor is to have the clinical staff participate in sales training with the sales reps. Not only do the clinical staff learn sales skills, through in-class interactions with the sales reps there is an unintended outcome – they and the sales reps learn more about each other’s expertise and challenges and can discuss how to sell as a team.
But taking clinical staff out of the field for extensive sales training is often difficult for companies who count on them to cover cases, provide in-service training, etc. For staff that have strong clinical backgrounds but lack the confidence and skill to help sell, we find that an initial foundation in sales fundamentals can be learned by online sales training. Therefore they can come to the sales training with the sales reps better prepared and in many cases reduce the time spent in the classroom.
And one final point … MedTech is not the only industry where clinical people could be involved in sales. IT and Professional Services both find themselves with a staff of technical people on customer sites who could contribute to the sales process.
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