Medical Device Sales Cycle
Sales professionals follow a process. Sales is not a spontaneous activity in which a rep quickly tries to convince someone to buy something. Hospitals and clinics have processes in place when deciding to buy new products. An experienced medical sales rep follows a structured process which increases the likelihood of success. The sales process is nothing something regular discussed in corporate sales roles. An understanding of it is a basic expectation of the job. In my experience, the sales process is discussed mostly during the interview process. Especially when companies are interviewing entry level candidates. An understanding of the medical device sales process demonstrates that a rep has received formalized sales training in a previous role.
How Do You Succeed In Medical Device Sales?
A quick google search shows a limitless number of different sales processes. Some are simple and some have many steps. At a basic level, these are all the same. It comes down to a few simple things.
Medical Sales Customer Journey
1. Understanding The Customer and Product
The first step of the medical device sales process is knowing your customer and your product. It is difficult to ask good questions or qualify a customer’s needs if you do not have a basic understanding of how your product fits in the marketplace. You need to know your potential customer. What specific value does your product bring? Why would a customer use your product over a competitors? Product knowledge is an important first step in a formalized sales process. Have you performed a market analysis to form a credible understanding of your product or solution?
Every sales job requires some sort of prospecting activity. In some jobs, it will be old school in-person knocking on doors. In other roles, it may require more time on LinkedIn and Microsoft Teams to drive awareness in the marketplace. Regardless, as a sales rep you have to go out and find your ideal customer. These are the customers who will benefit the most from the value your solution brings. Before you can proceed in the sales process, you must identify prospects. Sales Enablement Collective offers a great overview on the related topic of mapping the customer’s journey.
3. Identify The Needs Of The Customer & Qualify The Opportunity
This step is so important. Every new medical sales rep wants to jump to this step. They want to be in front of customers, pitching their product. But success in sales in not about pithing a product. It is about thoroughly qualifying opportunities. If you miss this step, you will not get a chance to repeat it as the sales process develops. At the early stage of customer interaction, you must ask good questions. What are the customer’s pain points? What does their purchasing process look like? What companies and products do they currently use? What is the budget? Really good sales reps excel at qualifying opportunities before jumping in. This the stage where you figure out who cares about the problem you are solving in the customer’s organization.
4. Build A Strategy And Identify Stakeholders
Okay, now we are getting into the meat of it. This the stage of the surgical device sales process where you put together pricing and decide on which solution you will present to the customer. After gathering the preliminary information, you have to make a decision about what is the best fit for the customer. Also, what solution will put you in the best position competitively? What objections may the customer have? Just like the other steps, you can not go back. You get one chance to position the right product. In a competitive marketplace, a customer is overwhelmed with potential choices. You need to think carefully and strategically to put the best solution forward. Also, this is the step in which you need to identify the clients specific decision makers and influencers.
5. Present Solution
Now to the presentation. This is the step the general public thinks about when they envision a sales rep. The reality is that this step is just execution of where the previous steps have led you. This is not about landing the perfect Wolf of Wallstreet motivational sales pitch. It is about clearly communicating what you decided upon while building a strategy. It is important to note any objections and be ready to address these in the next step. Does the solution meet the customer’s needs? Can your company deliver on the entirety of the solution presented?
6. Follow Up
Usually, there is quite a bit of time in between the presentation and the final decision. The customer may engage with other vendors and explore the options in the marketplace. You will need to check in from time to time to see where you sit. This is an opportunity to address any objections that have arisen and emphasize the value that your solution brings to the customer. This can be a good time to provide a refence or other supporting information.
7. Close The Sales
A sales rep must be able to close business. What does the customer need to commit the business to you? Do you have anything left to sweeten the pot? What is the timeline? At this step, you need to ask for the business.
The final step of the medical device sales process is implementation. A good sales territory thrives on customer referrals. Referrals come from customers that have had a positive experience during the implementation step. A medical sales rep is responsible for a lot more than just selling the product. The customer needs to be satisfied with the purchase. This includes clinical and case support, inventory management, addressing quality issues, etc. High performing medical device reps pay close attention to the customer implementation step.
Related: How To Get Into Medical Device Sales