Fourteen years ago, I made the shift from MedTech sales to marketing. I did it for one reason: CRM. I didn’t just see the CRM handwriting on the wall. I experienced it. My last employer, Cerner, had rolled out enterprise-wide CRM and had required 100% sales force compliance. Overnight, our jobs became largely administrative. We spent more time inputting data than we spent with customers.
Now, every MedTech sales organization has a CRM system, but unlike what I experienced, nearly all sit idle. Why? Because they don’t provide enough value for sales forces to use, let alone champion, them. Post-COVID, this must change. To succeed, MedTech companies have to embrace CRM. For three reasons.
REASON #1: CRM ENABLES SALES FORCE TRANSFORMATION
Many MedTech senior leaders are in denial. They think COVID will blow over, trade shows will rebound, and reps will regain face-to-face access to customers.
Our interviews with sales reps tell a different story:
But even before COVID, customer behavior was changing. Rep access was being curtailed and trade show attendance was down. Both were increasingly seen as inefficient — or even wasteful — uses of time and money. Customers were moving online instead — bad news for MedTech commercial models built on personal selling and trade shows.
To adapt, sales reps need to engage customers digitally. They need to manage sales activities by becoming territory marketing managers or digital sales reps. They have to generate leads virtually and nurture them in ways that bring added value to customers:
CRM systems make the digital sales rep model possible. Connecting to a marketing automation system like Pardot, Eloqua, Hubspot, or Marketo gives reps a 360-degree view of all online and in-person customer engagements. CRM lets them personalize and send marketing-provided content to the right target at the right stage of the sales process. Finally, CRM allows reps to coordinate digital sales activities to a broader geography of customers than they could without it.
REASON #2: CRM ENABLES MARKETING TO LEAD SALES
MedTech companies are predominantly led by their sales forces, with marketing deployed downstream in a tactical, sales-support role. With customers switching to digital channels and reps using CRM to engage them, the roles should flip. Marketing should lead the sales force — and the company as a whole — forward. It can and should:
When MedTech marketing moves upstream and powers digital engagement, its impact on sales can be quantified (marketing attribution). And when it significantly improves sales, it can warrant increased funding and take on even greater responsibility.
REASON #3: CRM ENABLES COMPANIES TO SELL MORE PRODUCTS
As noted, customers were already moving online. COVID just accelerated the move. By adopting CRM and integrating it with marketing automation, companies can create market-leading digital experiences that generate curiosity, engage customers, drive demand, shape the narrative, and grow sales. Reps told us:
DOES YOUR MEDICAL DEVICE MARKETING NEED TO SHIFT?
Marketing organizations that suddenly lead sales don’t happen overnight. It takes strategy, planning, and execution. Sales must see the value in using CRM and no longer equate it with burdensome bureaucracy. Marketing must see and seize its opportunity to lead organizations. This isn’t rocket science. It’s good strategic omnichannel marketing.
If you aren’t sure where to start, VIVO can help. As a MedTech marketing agency, we have the experience and the expertise to help build a digital marketing strategy and redefine the role of your reps. Our multidisciplinary team can guide you every step of the way. Reach out and let’s make shift happen together!