Across industries, it currently feels like we’re in a state of constant flux. Customer expectations keep evolving, digital solutions are changing how we do things, and global supply chain concerns are pushing companies to rethink their processes. The same is true for the medtech sector, where sales and marketing processes have been vastly reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies that relied on door-to-door sales and relationship building at conferences had to pivot their approach to make it completely digital. Now, as we transition into the famed “new normal,” there’s an opportunity for medtech companies to adopt a hybrid model, capitalizing on the benefits of both digital and in-person practices.
In this post, we’re taking a look at this hybrid approach and what medtech companies can do to bring it to life successfully. Take a look.
Leaving a Legacy Approach in the Past
Before the pandemic, medtech sales had a standard two-pronged approach. On the one hand, you had sales reps that would travel from OR to OR, trying to get in front of surgeons that might be interested in their products. They would spend hour upon hour in the car or sitting outside the OR door, with no real guarantee of a sale. On the other hand, marketers for the same company would attend relevant conferences around the world, showcasing their products at booths and building or strengthening relationships with the surgeons they met on the road.
The return on investment of this approach was limited, at best — especially as sales reps and marketers didn’t always have the data to effectively target the right customers for their product.
A Seismic Shift
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face interactions went out the window. And that left medtech sales and marketing teams with no alternative but to drastically rethink how they reached their targets and encouraged them to purchase their products.
It was time to go digital.
Instead of going door-to-door to reach health care professionals, medtech companies started hiring digital marketers, hosting webinars, and launching digital marketing campaigns over email, social, and other relevant channels. Very quickly, the benefits of this approach were clear. Sales could save a tonne of time in the prospecting process, as they were supported by digital marketing efforts that got the right message in front of the right people at the right time.
This transition has been a big lesson learned for our sector. As the restrictions posed by the pandemic ease, sales and marketing teams see the value in retaining some of these practices and capitalizing on the efficiencies they bring. Some of these changes are here to stay, but they’re being supplemented by parts of the traditional model.
Where Digital and Face-to-Face Come Together
While a purely digital approach was the right alternative for 2020, there are still parts of the in-person experience that are valuable in medtech sales. For instance, when it comes to complex sales processes that feature groundbreaking or disruptive technology, the face-to-face element is vital to fostering trust. Without this trust, it can be hard for health care professionals to take that vital leap and adopt the product.
In-person interactions are also important for demonstrating how the product works. That manual, technical know-how can be crucial for driving home a sale once your customer is at the decision stage of the funnel.
As such, if we’re thinking about a hybrid approach that covers the whole customer journey, there’s value in adopting digital practices early on in the funnel and then introducing in-person interactions as you get closer to the sale. This way, you can reduce the inefficiencies early on in the process (e.g. time spent traveling or waiting outside offices), and make later conversations count.
When you choose to switch to in-person will ultimately depend on the customer. As much as possible, your medtech marketers and sales professionals need to adopt a personalized approach to selling their product. Customers expect it, and it’s an important step in building trust and making the sale more attainable.
What Does This Look Like in Practice?
The best thing marketers and sales reps can do in this hybrid approach is leverage their data. A robust CRM system helps you capture customer data in a consistent way and gives you the tools you need to target customers on an individual basis — creating custom sales experiences.
Note: Remember that under GDPR you need to secure consent for capturing anyone’s data. An effective way of doing this without spamming your prospect is to share information about a new, relevant product and ask them whether they want to be kept up to date. If the product is exciting to them, they will likely say yes and share their contact details.
That said, be aware of your system’s limits. A CRM platform has never fully solved sales execution — you need to pair this technology with people that can leverage that data and develop a targeted sales experience.
The other driver to success is team alignment. If you’re adopting a hybrid model, make sure that it’s clearly understood by both your marketing and sales teams. There should be a seamless transition of leads between these two groups, alongside the data that informs the best approach for reaching a particular customer.
By covering all your bases with a hybrid approach, you’ll be one step closer to creating a seamless sales experience for both your team and your customers.
At Toxeos, we’re empowering medtech companies with the data they need to have meaningful conversations with their customers across different channels. Get in touch to learn how.