Selling medical products into Hospitals
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 with, often appointments weren't needed and those that did need to be made weren't several weeks out before getting in. Sales reps would carry a bag of "promotional goodies" - pens, coffee mugs, note pads or other trade specific items. 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" - physician, nurse, office manager. No gatekeepers - could that actually have been possible? Remember grabbing the "Pharma-rep slide" concept and training other-than pharma-sales-reps similarly? How about free samples and, ultimately, often expected. Any recollection about the luncheons? Or the huge chocolate trays for the nurses station? Mmm - truffles - Yes, I do remember those days.
Regulators - 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.....
Clinical Knowledge - 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.
What is the Sales Process for selling into Hospitals? You should know about your competitor's 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. See Additional resources below about Buying Groups
Health care professionals are trained to read, research and utilize RESOURCES. They tend to look for the most detailed 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. Hospital buyers will typically know what else is out there and has investigated the market (in their facility) in depth. (See right column, labeled Resources, for additional resources such as sales presentations, sales training, Sales force philosophies, What makes a product hot or not, and more.)
The successful sales representative will take a consultative selling approach and develop credibility and trust. Most successful 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 or company offers credibility. This is critically important whether you are selling into the hospital or selling to any other healthcare provider.
Competitors' Matrix- 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.
You think your company is ready now that you have explored a few of our resources and others available across the net. All you need now are reps or distributors? Getting started with finding independent reps and distributors: Check out a few listings that are publicly available where you can see how others are aligning with team members to start selling their products into the hospital setting. Opportunities for independent reps and distributors
Planning steps for small businesses to sell their products or services to hospitals
- Group Purchasing Organizations, Buying Groups for Hospitals, Physicians, and Long Term Care facilities
- Marketing Opportunities: Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Physicians, Pharmacies....
- Identifying a specialty contact or call point for Marketing to physicians, Hospitals, healthcare providers.....
- Selling medical products to Physicians, Hospitals, surgery centers, pharmacies and other healthcare providers...