Ms. Salimbene has spent her career in the Medical Device Segment. Her comprehensive expertise in Sales, Management, and Marketing ranges from start-ups through Fortune 500 companies. Her collaborative leadership style and genuine passion for success have gained her a leadership award from Johnson & Johnson, and top sales and marketing awards from other companies where she has worked. For more information, please visit her LinkedIn Profile.
It is funny how salaries for our sale reps including headcount have plunged and the overall sales for the Manufacturers continue to grow. I personally have never seen or heard of so many people out of work, young & old in this industry. I challenge you to take more than a few minutes at some point to look at LinkedIn see person after person seeking employment due to layoffs in the device products segment.
You may be familiar with new sales model changes today. Sales professionals will focus on promoting the clinical and economic benefits of their solutions working across multiple disciplines within the hospital. They will need to be able to speak to clinicians about the efficacy and ergonomics in surgery, contracts with procurement, and the broader organizational relationship with the C-Suite. This change is very active in some hospitals and slowly moving in that direction for others. The sales representative who develops these strategic skills will be very valuable and continue to earn good compensation.
Comprehending the product, having great communication skills, and strategically managing your territories has morphed into new demands constantly facing you, the sales representative. The pressure, of course, correcting your schedule and priorities requires selling to every touch point required in that hospital to reap the success and financial reward, loyalty, integrity, relationship building to a much larger and diverse group of people, and of course being completely fluent in Medical Economics.
You ask, what is Jill really trying to say? The way you put the cherry pie together (with cherries) may be completely different than the way your friend puts his/hers cherry pie together. The ingredients may vary, but it is still a cherry pie.
Communication skills remain at the top of the chart for gaining a strong hold into the account. The way in which you solicit a surgeon/physician in how and who to communicate with now has changed forever. Time to step out of your comfort zone again.
By shifting decision-making and purchasing power from surgeons to procurement, relationship-driven sales becomes much less critical in the purchasing process. What? Hospitals benefit today because most to the purchasing decisions are made with a balance of clinical and medical economic factors and presentations from you and your team. If you are a successful Manufacturer, you are motivated to provide products that are both ergo dynamic and clinically competitive.
The challenges for manufacturers include getting these sales-focused professionals to manage complex inventories accurately and efficiently as well as hiring enough people to support overbooked surgery schedules. No one wins in this scenario. Hospitals have commission-driven sales people, who are also product-line biased, in the OR with no inventory control or visibility. Manufacturers have a large quantity of highly-priced, valuable professional resources doing tasks that protect but do not increase sales, which in turn hurts both profitability and the focus of the sales team.
An inventory management system with web and mobile capability allows hospital personnel to schedule surgeries, manage usage for billing, and handle replenishment – all electronically. These procedures can be easily performed by a surgical technician, nurse, or hospital representative by facilitating an application on a mobile device or via a RFID cabinet signal. This electronic connection between hospitals and manufacturers provides visibility and a deeper understanding of consigned inventory usage, and surgeon to patient interaction. This more complex understanding facilitates a reduction in stocking levels and delivers a win for both hospitals and manufacturers. As the surgical and inventory responsibilities of the sale rep reduce, manufacturers will need fewer reps, which will reduce the cost of medical devices as well as allow sales reps to focus on what they are great at, a new way of selling.
The “rep-full” OR existed for two main reasons. 1. Manufacturers did not own the relationships with the decision-makers. 2. Manufacturers did not have a solid method for effectively and efficiently managing their distribution supply chain. Today these challenges are answered because hospitals are developing more comprehensive purchasing strategies and robust inventory management tools are becoming a viable alternative. The “rep-less” OR offers positive news for healthcare industry costs. In the medical device realm, when sales reps are removed from the low value or no value activities, manufacturers’ costs are significantly slashed. Reducing the cost of selling can pull hundreds of millions, if not billions, out of the medical device market and result in lower medical costs overall. As technology continues to evolve, the move from high-cost labor to advanced technology provides enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and affordability. It just makes good business sense for everyone.
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