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How an Agile Approach to MedTech Sales Delivers Success

Improving win rate

sales agility in medtech selling

March 17, 2022Blog

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Traditionally, Medtech Companies Focused Primarily on Developing and Selling Hardware. Today, the Value Profile of Medtech Solutions Has Changed.

The value of modern MedTech solutions is more than the hardware, it is also the data those devices collect, share, and analyze.

As a result, the core value drivers of MedTech solutions have changed from something that is largely tangible to something that is both tangible and intangible. This complicates the seller’s job in three ways.

Selling MedTech solutions requires the seller to meet the customer’s specialized data needs. This is a different and greater challenge than positioning the value of hardware that operates largely the same way in all customer environments.

The seller must demonstrate how the solution will fit into the customer’s data ecosystem. This makes the implementation discussion more complicated.

Customers expect the MedTech solution to keep pace with change given that the value of the product is digital and therefore changeable. Hardware is static. Data, and the way it is harvested, is dynamic.

The benefits to sellers who can overcome these three challenges are considerable given that “Medtech’s valuation growth surpassed that of both biotech (-1%) and big pharma (4%) and easily outpaced the broader US and European indices (3%),” according to research from EY.

Here we show how the agile nature of Sprint Selling can overcome each of these challenges.

Understanding Specialized Data Needs Requires an Iterative Approach

Data is a resource. Like any other resource its value changes based on the way it is used. Therefore, customers are constantly reconsidering how they will make use of data. Consequently, the task of understanding the customer’s data needs is becoming more of a challenge.

Meeting this challenge means taking an iterative approach characterized by Selling Sprints.

Selling Sprints are a simple, and effective way to convert the unpredictability of selling into forward movement. Selling Sprints consist of a three-part pattern: prepare, engage, advance. This repeating cycle perfectly matches the dynamic nature of selling and integrates specific techniques, skills, and tools to win.

This powerful approach is based off one simple idea: new information from the customer does not push the seller off their path, instead it steers them onto the right one. Importantly, Selling Sprints keep the sales pursuit collaborative which is crucial for revealing the customer’s underlying needs.

Learn more about the Sprint Selling approach by downloading the white paper, The Future of Sales is Agile here.

How To Do It:

Prepare

Preparation means conducting in-depth research. This work should explore the customer’s needs and the needs of their organization. The research should also cover the value the solution brings. Lastly, the preparation should include a comprehensive call plan for engaging the customer. The more the seller prepares the easier it becomes for the customer to buy.

Engage

Engage is all about how you work with the customer. Becoming intentional about engagement means doing three things well. First, the seller must connect with the customer with a thorough plan for the introduction portion of a meeting. Second, the seller must focus on the Four Drivers that distill the complexity of selling into a manageable set of goals. Third, the seller should seek the customer’s commitment to the next steps.

Advance

The advance phase is a valuable opportunity for the seller to demonstrate their reliability and credibility to the customer. Doing so requires effective follow up which means developing a revised picture of each stakeholder’s needs as a result of new information learned.

Addressing the Implementation Question Means Building Consensus & Resolving Risk

An EY research report into the state of the MedTech industry concluded that “if Medtech can’t strengthen its connections with the other stakeholders, it can’t extract real value from its connected devices.” This finding reveals the value of building consensus and resolving risk.

Connected Medtech devices bring together a host of stakeholders. Therefore, the seller has a responsibility to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing the solution in a way that addresses each stakeholder’s needs while also easing their sense of risk.

This task has never been more challenging than in the MedTech industry. The seller must articulate how the solution will fit into an already complex and sprawling data environment. Moreover, the stakes can be high because the outcomes might impact patients.

How To Do It:


Position the Concept of a Collaboration Plan

The Collaboration Plan serves to align buyers and sellers both procedurally and behaviorally. Events in the collaboration plan should include three key factors underpinning the sale: the operational aspects, the transitional aspects, and the financial aspects.

Addressing these three areas helps manage resources, creates a timeline, and validates the business case and mitigates risks for the customer.

Co-Create the Collaboration Plan

This is the process of working with the customer to identify the procedural steps necessary to make a buying decision. The Collaboration Plan also serves to align with the buyer’s concerns and their shifts over time. This includes determining needs for evaluating the solutions to mitigate risk as well as an understanding of what is important to the buyer at various stages of their buying process.

Execute the Plan

The seller should set next steps by explaining that they will send a draft plan based on everything discussed. A collaboration plan is highly effective because it is based on the concept of reciprocity. That is, the customer is likely to lend at least some of their time to something that has been created specifically with them and for them.

Meeting the Customer's Need for Evolving Solutions Requires an Agile Mindset

Medtech industry research from McKinsey revealed that “clear links to long-term business value will need to be established,” and that doing so will “require a well-defined business case that is tied to business outcomes and regular reviews of key metrics to ensure the link holds fast.” Putting this concept to work requires agility.

Developing an agile mindset means understanding agile behaviors in selling. We call these behaviors the Six Critical Skills. These core skills give sellers the ability to connect with the customer in a meaningful way. They also allow sellers to pivot and adjust in the moment as they listen to and make sense of the information.

Learn more about the 6 Critical Selling Skills here.

The degree to which a seller can master these skills is often what separates the best from the average. You can teach a seller to improve EQ by breaking down each of these skills into behaviors and, most importantly, practice.

How To Do It:


Learn to Project Presence & Relate

Presence is the skill of projecting interest, conviction, energy, and confidence. Relating is the way that the seller makes a meaningful connection with contacts. There are three levels of connection that must take place to build the relationship: rapport building, acknowledgement, and empathy.

Build Questioning & Listening Skills

The seller must ask insightful questions which serve to reveal the customer’s underlying goals and encourage them to think openly about the solution. Listening is the act of understanding the customer’s answers and using those responses to develop follow up questions.

Practice Positioning & Questioning

Positioning is about doing more than sharing information. It is about being persuasive by articulating the value of the solution within the context of the customer’s setting. Checking is the important act of asking the customer for their reactions to what has been shared.

These three skills are all part of Richardson Sales Performance’s Sprint Selling™ Program which provides sales teams with the skills, and tools needed to win the sale in a changing world.

Sprint Selling™ is backed by behavioral science and powered by an agile framework that prepares the seller to make the much needed in-the-moment adjustments that keep them aligned with a changing customer.

Adopting the agile approach of Sprint Selling™ is what enables MedTech companies to redesign their commercial models for today’s setting. As research from BCG shows, undergoing this transformation to an agile approach has benefited MedTech companies by delivering a CAGR of 27% from 2011 to 2021 compared to just 14% seen in the broader market.

Click here to learn more about our specialized sales training solutions for MedTech sales reps here.

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