Over the years selling for most industries has changed relatively little compared to how selling to healthcare organizations has changed. Ask any professional salesperson, with 15-20 years experience, of their perspective related to selling medical supplies, medical devices, Capital equipment, pharmaceuticals and other health care related products and services into hospitals. The bottom line, it is virtually an entirely different job than it was 20 years ago. (Or is it?)
Some might believe it was relatively much easier to access the economic buyers, whether in the hospital setting, physician office or other healthcare provider setting. Substantiating this, often appointments weren't needed in the past and when they did need to be made, the appointments weren't several weeks out before getting in as they tend to be today.
There was a time when sales reps would carry a bag of "promotional goodies" such as pens, coffee mugs, note pads or other trade specific items and as clinical professionals we would look forward to same. Today, we look for more highly educated sales professionals WITH relationships and clinically educated professionals are recognizing the growing Benefits of being a Freelance Agent, from a nurse's perspective. Often times a sales rep could wait in the back room or mosey around in the halls - either in the physician office or the hospital setting - waiting to catch their "economic buyer" such as the physician, nurse, office manager. No gatekeepers, could that actually have been possible? Remember the "Pharma-rep slide" concept and training with this methodology to other-than pharma sales reps similarly? How about free samples and, ultimately, often expected by many. Any recollection about the luncheons? Or the huge chocolate trays for the nurses station? Mmm - truffles - Yes, I do remember those days.
Let's take a look at a few of the regulators - have we seen any changes there? How far can you go back recalling changes - let's just consider only a few: Anti-kickback laws - Stark Laws - Budget Act - Health Reform - FDA Regulations - Manufacturing - Compliance - Certification - Licenses - Sunshine Act.....
Back in the old days a healthcare or medical sales representative with a good command of “Clinical-Lingo Capabilities” could talk shop with and quickly make sales to doctors. Is that really all it took to close sales? It is often thought, there wasn't a true need for understanding the economics of the sale. Or was there? Sure there was - Just as there is today. Bottom line - sales representatives of today (and yesteryears) - need to know what they are talking about - they need to know their product, clinical benefits, economic benefits and much more. Training your medical sales reps is not an option; it is essential for both individual and organizational success.
You should know about your competitors already in facilities and what you need to present to compete, successfully compete in the market. You should also have some understanding about buying groups and whether you need to identify if the hospital or physician's office belong to a particular buying group or group purchasing organization. The landscape of USA Healthcare Marketing Opportunities is huge. Our own Healthcare Marketing Directories has become rather extensive over the years and special attention will need to be considered relative to the multiple call points of various decision makers in the hospital setting when building your sales force.
Health care professionals are trained to read, research and utilize RESOURCES. They tend to look for the most detailed sales presentations they can find but if there is only time for the "30 second elevator" conversation, be sure to be able to provide a "Wow" presentation that can be quickly scanned. Then, once you have their attention, consider: Credible reprints from their favorite magazines, newsletters and journals can be of added value. Very often, they typically know a "WOW" when they see it, but there may be a need to research the data/information being presented for certain products. The point is, the presentation should be short and sweet resulting in that initial "WOW" feeling. Treat this buyer like an expert in the field. Often, these clinical experts can be great clinical consultants! Hospital buyers will typically know what else is out there and has investigated the market (in their facility) in depth. Sometimes the purchaser may be a physician and understanding more about Selling to a Physician can additionally be helpful.
Align only with medical sales representatives experienced in selling to the hospital setting. The successful hospital sales representative will take a consultative selling approach and develop credibility and trust. Most successful hospital sales reps will have already developed credibility with the exact niche contact needed for selling in the hospital setting. If they don't have the relationships already, you may want to consider seeking out other candidates or you may want to provide a sales candidate the opportunity to develop those relationships. The key element once they present your product or service is to be sure they are provided the tools they need to show YOUR PRODUCTS and credibility of the company. This is critically important whether you are selling into the hospital or selling to any other healthcare provider.
A competitive matrix is an analysis tool that helps you establish your company's competitive advantage. Begin a chart type or list of columns and be sure to be honest here. Explore with sales reps their potential interest in your products or services to identify their level involvement. Understand from the sales rep's perspective what makes a great product to promote.
Expand your sales team for selling into hospitals with independent 1099 medical sales reps. Based on a 2014 Income Earnings Survey conducted with over 5,000 sales reps, the highest earnings were those with over 20 years of medical sales experience. Building a High Impact Sales Force with Independent Sales Representatives can provide your company a competitive edge and significantly cut your costs for a sales team.
Getting started with finding independent reps and distributors: Check out a few listings of Opportunities for independent reps and distributors that are publicly available where you can see how others are aligning with team members to start selling their products into the hospital setting. Be sure to post your sales opportunity today to begin selling your products to hospitals.
Planning steps for small businesses to sell their products or services to hospitals can be identified by working closely with experienced medical sales representatives.