Protolabs, a manufacturing facility, had been growing rapidly using the same sales strategy for years. According to a SellingPower case study, the company’s growth began to slow in 2016 as the manufacturing market softened.
Sales leaders realized if they didn’t change their formula with the evolving market, customers, and product needs, they’d continue hitting current standards but would remain stagnant. The issue Protolabs was facing is the same one medical sales reps, like you, will face multiple times throughout your career.
The difference, however, is that the slowed growth may only pertain to your growth, not the company as a whole. You’re then charged with analyzing your target customers and recreating a strategy. Unfortunately, strategies are often overly-complicated. They’re hard to follow, making it challenging to find any amount of effective consistency.
That’s why we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide to help you establish the most effective, yet simple strategy:
1. Reevaluate target customer
A sales strategy must focus on creating distinctive experiences that set you apart from the competition and create lasting impressions on customers. You can’t begin to create a strategy that does this without a reevaluation of your target customers.
Your evaluation should include both current and potential customers. While you may have seemingly irreplaceable dedicated customers, their needs may differ from those you need to target to grow.
Answers these questions in your evaluation:
- What purpose does your product serve/what problem does it solve?
- Who needs your product most?
- What is the most common demographic?
- What are their biggest current pain points?
- Where do they spend most of their time?
2. Rewrite the company’s mission and background
The majority of medical sales manufacturers and distributors have one common goal noted in their mission — to help people. But what does ‘helping others’ mean to you? Without this answer, you won’t fully connect to the end goals of your strategy.
Pull out the most important sections of your company’s mission, background, and vision. Then, write those pieces out in your own words. Use these questions to guide you in the process:
- Why is helping others important to you?
- Are you more focused on the direct end-result or the journey?
- How does your role impact the goal of helping patients or customers?
- What does the company’s background mean to you? Do you connect to it on a personal level?
Reference these details as you lay out the specifics in your sales strategy. Determine how your connection to the product and company impact your goals or how your role in helping patients will play into marketing efforts.
3. Evaluate competitors
As you develop your own strategic medical sales plan, it’s critical to know what competitors are doing. Research what’s is working to their favor and where they’re falling short.
For example, consider:
- Who are your competitors targeting?
- What marketing angle are they taking?
- How do their products compare to yours?
- Where do you have the advantage?
- Where are your disadvantages?
Next, perform a price comparison to ultimately determine how you need to position yourself in the market. All of this information will play directly into creating your marketing and prospecting strategies.
4. Create a marketing strategy
The lines between sales and marketing are blurred — and there’s a reason for that. Both specialties focus on creating relationships based on customers’ unique needs and product solutions.
So, as a medical sales rep, you must include marketing in your strategy. Based on your customer and competitor evaluations, determine the promotions you plan to run to generate leads and increase overall brand consideration. For example, if your target customers are highly active on social media and your competitors have positive interactions on social, you may need to amp-up your presence there.
Once you determine a marketing plan, note how these promotions will impact your sales numbers. This additional step will keep your strategy on track as you move toward your new goals.
5. Research tools and resources
You can’t hit sales goals without the right tools and resources. Your manager has already given you a budget, you now know where competitors are finding success, and you have a marketing strategy in place.
Now, it’s time to research tools that will empower your sales strategy. Look for tools that will increase your efficiency by taking mundane tasks off your list, allowing you to focus more on implementing your strategy.
Because you have a strict budget, categorize your tools into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” “Must-haves” should be the tools you know will have a direct impact on your ROI this year. “Nice-to-haves” are tools you would like to have but won’t make major changes within this first year of updating your strategy.
6. Create a prospecting strategy
A solid marketing strategy will bring prospects into your sales funnel. You now need to strategize what you’ll do with these new leads. First, determine what a ‘worthy’ lead looks like. What factors must a lead possess for you to allow them through the funnel? Then, list which determinants mean they’re not a fitting lead?
After you have this information, you need to consider:
- What inbound sales techniques will you use to move them deeper into the funnel?
- What outbound sales techniques will you use to move them deeper into the funnel?
- What tools will help you achieve these inbound and outbound goals?
- If you’re not speaking with a decision-maker, how will you earn the introduction?
As a busy medical sales rep, these six steps may seem time-consuming and overwhelming. Don’t attempt to tackle them all in one day. Set aside dedicated time to focus on one step and work your way toward the ultimate sales strategy that will make your goals more tangible.