The sales force has been the centerpiece of MedTech commercial models for eons. Sales spending outpaces marketing spending by a margin of 10 to one. After all, the mantra, “if you want to grow revenue, hire more reps” has always been the norm.
But what do MedTech marketers do when reps have less physical access to healthcare providers? How do they grow business when they can’t get in front of targets? What do MedTech agencies do next when sales funnels run dry? Now is the time for MedTech companies, and medtech marketing agencies to rethink the role of the sales rep and better position them for today’s post-COVID-19 reality.
THE MEDTECH LANDSCAPE IS RAPIDLY CHANGING
Customer behavior is changing in myriad ways:
But for MedTech sales reps trying to sell those single-use devices – or any other MedTech product, for that matter – gaining access to hospitals and physician offices will be more challenging than ever. The increased risk of infection transmission from a face-to-face meeting is simply too high. And the difficulty of making sales is compounded by the fact that trade shows are being cancelled or held virtually instead.
THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP NEEDS TO BE REWRITTEN
With customer behavior changing so radically, sales reps losing in-person access, and trade show attendance plummeting, MedTech marketing is evolving rapidly. The customer buying journey must be remapped across each of the five stages:
Everyone who’s built a customer journey map, even medtech marketing agencies, are amazed at the number of targets and the amount of content spread across each of the five stages. Many of these targets are physically engaged by sales reps. But now, with these physical engagements significantly curtailed, the role of reps has come under scrutiny.
MEDTECH SALES REPS SHOULD BECOME TERRITORY MARKETING MANAGERS
What makes the sales rep role so powerful is its ability to match and deliver the right content to the right target at the right stage of the sales cycle. To be blunt, no MedTech marketing departments, or traditional MedTech marketing agencies, are even remotely close to being able to nurture leads this way on their own.
Enter the Territory Marketing Manager (TMM).
The TMM continues their role as a sales rep, but with significantly more of the role being digitally enabled. They can still connect the right message to the right target at the right time, and they can do it in ways that better capture these activities and that integrate them into market automation systems like Marketo, Eloqua, etc.
MARKETING ASSETS NEED TO BE RETHOUGHT AND REDONE
To succeed, TMMs will need marketing assets they can deliver virtually, tailored for each target and stage of the new customer buying journey. As basic as this sounds, and as widespread as this strategy is outside of healthcare, traditional MedTech marketers don’t always follow it.
When rethinking content, consider these questions to make it engaging and strategic:
USE HIGH-VALUE DIGITAL CONTENT AS A TROJAN HORSE
Traditional sales reps are having a brutal time getting their foot in the door with new hospitals and new clinical targets. And without access, their jobs are nearly impossible to carry out. But digital content is much easier for prospects to access and engage with. It’s simpler and safer than meeting a rep in the office or operating room.
Consider creating and deploying digital marketing assets with high-value content as a Trojan Horse, not just with one or two accounts, but simultaneously across large geographies. Once targets engage with this content, interest can be sparked, and the TMM can propel prospects across the buying journey by delivering additional content and messaging along the way. Smart medical marketing agencies think of it as a breadcrumb trail of content, starting with the Trojan Horse you use to get your foot in the door, and ending, eventually, with a sale.
DIGITAL TOOLS NEED TO BE EMPLOYED
TMMs require the tools outlined above. They need to be able to easily send and personalize content, and to be notified of end-user consumption. These activities need to be automatically fed into CRM systems that can then marry this information with non-personal marketing activities captured in marketing automation systems. Together, they can provide a comprehensive picture of customer touch points across each stage of the buying journey.
DO YOU NEED HELP MAKING THE SHIFT?
As the industry shifts to comply with post-COVID protocols, you must shift your sales and marketing strategies, too. Not sure how to start or where to begin? VIVO’s MedTech marketing consultants can help kick start your shift into action with a baseline study and gap analysis.