Medical device sales – selling with clinical data

Selling with clinical data

Physicians – and other medical staff – report that clinical studies in peer reviewed journals and evidence-based medicine are increasingly important in making decisions.  So, today’s medical device sales reps must become skilled in selling with clinical data.

Unfortunately too many medical device sales reps do not optimize the use of clinical data during their interactions with medical staff.  Three traps are particularly common:

  • Not leveraging the attribution. By using words like I, me, we, and us in presenting the study findings, the third party value is diminished – and the results may even be perceived as biased. Rather, medical device sales reps should leverage research done by a third party through attribution, such as: NIH reported … or Drs. Smith & Jones found … or at St Mary’s Hospital they found …
  • Failing to craft an attention grabber. Like any other communication with a doc, you must be able to quickly grab attention for 30 or 60 seconds … with the hoped for result of the doc saying, “I have another minute or two – tell me more.”  This requires a well-crafted and well-rehearsed up-front attention grabber.
  • Not sharing study findings in a sequence that is easy for docs to process. You have to plan ahead of time what you would say if given the opportunity by a doc to continue talking about the study.  Plus, you have to share the information in a way that’s easy for the doc to process.  It’s important for medical device sales reps to put themselves in the doc’s shoes and figure out the most effective sequence for sharing the clinical information.

For example, start out by sharing who conducted the study and where it was published. Then share the reasons for the study (e.g., problem it’s looking at, the point it’s trying to prove), a quick summary of the findings, and follow up with the author’s recommendations (e.g., based on the study we recommend x over y because there are fewer side effects).  When sharing the author’s recommendations, it is important to be accurate so take the wording right from the article.

Selling with clinical data is becoming increasingly important. Physician preference is no longer the sole heart of medical device decisions. As the medical device market place changes hospital purchasing is becoming very different today from yesteryear. Medical device sales reps can no longer simple say, “my product is the best” or “Dr. Silver wants it.”  Today, physicians, buying committees, and hospital administration are looking for objective proof of how a medical device, consumable, or piece of capital equipment can help solve a problem and deliver results – which means all medical sales reps must be able to effectively sell with clinical data.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

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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