How to Align Medtech Sales and Marketing for Success in 2023 and Beyond
The traditional Medtech sales model relying on in-person visits with doctors can no longer be used as a stand-alone method. Lack of access to physicians and regulatory restrictions make these old selling methods less reliable. Discover how to successfully combine the human element with omnichannel marketing strategies and create a more effective sales team.
The medical device industry has undergone unprecedented transformations over the past couple of years. The effect of the pandemic, combined with an increasingly digital world, created fundamental changes in the way leading Medtech companies have approached medical device sales. The trends are clear and expected to continue moving forward.
Marketing, sales, and servicing have quickly adopted virtual channels to engage with physicians and institutions, resulting in a win-win for all stakeholders - increased convenience for clinicians and greater efficiency for manufacturers. However, while implementing an omnichannel marketing engagement and adopting remote sales play a critical role in propelling companies to new heights, there is one more element to the success formula: aligning Medtech sales and marketing for maximum results.
Why Traditional Medtech Sales Methods Fail Without Marketing
Before the pandemic, Medtech companies relied heavily on traditional sales strategies, primarily in-person sales calls, trade shows, and similar methods requiring face time with customers. While this approach worked in the past, it should not be a stand-alone option today. When COVID changed the rules of the game, those manufacturers primarily dependent on in-person communications and, without a diversified sales and marketing strategy, quickly realized that they had made a mistake. As a result, some companies ultimately failed, while others scrambled to adapt. Conversely, companies with solid marketing strategies pivoted quickly and thrived.
We are not suggesting that in-person, one-on-one interactions with customers have no place in the future of Medtech sales. Admittedly, it is an incredibly effective way to engage decision-makers. Moreover, given the complexity of medical devices, in-person interactions are the most conducive for healthcare providers and procurement professionals to evaluate them before purchase.
However, that does not alleviate the fact that there is a corresponding need to engage physicians through multiple channels in today's market environment. When we allow clinicians to engage the way they want, we can successfully combine the human element with omnichannel marketing strategies and create a more effective sales team.
Physicians Prefer to Use More than One Channel to Engage with Medtech Companies
According to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company, customers have adapted to remote interactions with Medtech companies. Based on the survey findings, this increased willingness of customers to engage remotely is likely here to stay.
Although physicians' preference to meet with Medtech sales reps in person has somewhat rebounded since November 2020, it was not at pre-pandemic levels as of August 2021. The preference for video and phone interactions also grew. The survey results also revealed that customers welcome more ways to engage with Medtech companies depending on where customers are in their buying journey. Besides interacting with sales reps remotely, physicians also prefer learning about product updates and accessing product support in the same manner.
Unquestionably, Medtech companies cannot ignore these shifts in customer preferences. In the future, it will be exceptionally challenging to engage physicians consistently without a combination of remote and field-based channels and a truly omnichannel marketing engagement model.
Improve Alignment Between Sales and Marketing
Although sales and marketing departments have complementary roles, most organizations have a long way to go to create optimal alignment between the two. The best companies recognize that the work of each department can support the other, enhance each other's strengths and compensate for weaknesses.
By tracking campaign performance and KPIs and leveraging research and analytics, marketing can arm sales teams with invaluable insights to prepare them for customer interactions. For instance, marketing can create detailed customer segments and help sales teams identify the best potential opportunities. Utilizing social and online listening solutions can also bolster market analytics, supplementing the information they already get directly from field sales forces and market research from surveys, focus groups, and other sources.
At the same time, sales can provide feedback on what marketing initiative works and what does not. So, as you can see, strengthening the alignment between marketing and sales benefits both and increases profitability.
Increase Product and Brand Awareness
The medical device industry is becoming increasingly competitive. A lack of significant product differentiation combined with declining access to decision-makers makes marketing support even more critical for sales success.
Marketing can help increase product and brand awareness, potentially opening doors for sales reps to get in front of difficult-to-see physicians and gain entry into hard-to-access hospitals. Well-executed digital marketing campaigns can support sales teams in powerful ways, helping them overcome challenges they encounter in the field. Medtech brands must build a presence on every platform their customers are on.
Generate More Leads with Digital Marketing
Medtech companies can generate leads in multiple ways. Email marketing, webinars, and social media campaigns are some examples. Depending on your organization's marketing objectives and budget, you can leverage paid social, optimize your website for local SEO or use content marketing to establish thought leadership in your niche.
But what good will a sales lead do without an effective follow-up? This is where field-based or remote sales teams come into play. Once you have a list of leads, remember to tap into your analytics team. Lead scoring ranks customers based on engagement and other attributes, which can help sales reps determine which prospect should take priority.
The traditional Medtech sales model relying on in-person visits with doctors can no longer be used as a stand-alone method. Lack of access to physicians and regulatory restrictions make these old selling methods less reliable. In addition, achieving growth is becoming more challenging. Bringing true innovation to the market is far more complicated than it used to be. While in the past, Medtech companies could rely on incremental product feature improvements and stellar sales rep-physician relationships to drive sales, today, success is not possible with product innovation alone.
The truth is sales and marketing must be aligned to drive business and increase profitability in 2023 and beyond. The time is now for medical device manufacturers to shift their current selling models or face being left behind because the current trends and market dynamics will likely continue over the coming years. Using a multichannel strategy that aligns marketing and sales enables Medtech companies to develop synergistic strategies for outreach and pave their way to long-term success.
Watch this video to gain additional insight into why aligning Medtech sales and marketing is critical for long-term success.