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Big Data 101: What Medical Sales Reps Need to Know


We’re in the information era. From electronic health records to wearables to AI, there’s no end to the data sources now available to medical sales companies. This information allows organizations and their sales reps to better understand the needs of their clients.

But you’re not a data analyst. Suddenly being asked to use big data can be extremely overwhelming. Don’t worry, once you understand how big data breaks down and how it’s changing the industry, you can easily adapt.

Big data today

Data is not new to the healthcare field. As long as there has been medical research, there has been data to collect and analyze. Today, however, it’s not just about the scientific data. Companies are also focusing on consumer data in order to better understand their target demographics.

It might seem like overkill to collect information that is not healthcare-related from patients, but the more you know about their lives, the better you can address their needs.

Just don’t lose sight of the people behind the data. When you stare at page after page of numbers and statistics, it’s easy to forget that the data represents your patients. The entire goal of big data in medical sales is to get a more complete look at customers so you can provide more patient-centric care.

A new competitive edge

One of the biggest parts of being a medical sales rep is being able to answer questions. Patients are not experts on the health issues and treatments they’re facing, and you’re a part of their education. Yet, no matter how knowledgeable you are about your product, there’s no predicting what patients will ask. Sometimes they catch you off-guard.

This is where big data comes in. First, it gives you more detailed information about your product and how it impacts customers in different ways.

For example, if you sell medical devices, you can see what features appeal most to patients in different age brackets. Then, when you’re interacting with a patient, you can play up those top features.

Second, big data helps you better see things from the patient’s perspective. Knowing more about who they are and what challenges they’re facing will help you better understand their needs. You’ll be able to predict what questions or concerns they might have and prepare the answers beforehand.

After diving into customer data, try to get into their shoes. Develop a few distinct personas, and come up with a list of questions each one would have. Then, think about what answers would be most satisfying for these personas. This will help you practice so you’re more confident when interacting with similar customers in real-life situations.

Better customer testimonials

People are almost always suspicious of the healthcare system. You’re asking patients to believe you can improve their lives. And if they aren’t familiar with the science behind your product, you might as well ask them to believe in magic.

This is why customer testimonials are so important for medical sales. It also helps patients to hear the story of someone in a similar situation. Knowing that your product helped a real person gives them more peace of mind.

When these testimonials are paired with big data, patients can be even more confident in your product.

For example, it’s one thing to read a testimony from Bob in California. But it’s even more comforting for a patient when you can tell them 98 percent of patients are as satisfied as Bob.

Also, use big data to make sure patients see the right testimonial. Using what their data tells you about the patient, pick a testimonial from a customer that best matches up. This way, the message will really resonate with them.

Big data can be overwhelming. But just remember that it’s there as a resource. Having that extra information will help you be a better medical sales rep while addressing more of your customers’ needs.

What are some other uses for big data in the medical sales industry? Share in the comments.