“On a monthly basis, I’m interacting with IT employees and physicians, all the way up to C-suite. There are various decision-makers and everyone has a different role to play,” Joanna Piazza, Health System Account Manager at Sysmex America, told us in a November interview.
Her experience in the medical sales field is an all-too-familiar scenario for reps everywhere. No matter who your typical connections are, there’s always an array of people in the decision-making process. Each one of these decision-makers plays a different role in deciding whether or not to purchase your product.
Those in the C-suite may not always be your first point of contact, but their opinions are critical in that final sign-off. During her interview, Piazza spoke about her own struggles when it came to connecting with executives. She found it challenging to connect with them because their interests and pain points weren’t as clear as med techs’, IT employees’, or doctors’.
Now that you know you’re not alone in this medical sales struggle, it’s time to face it head-on. Here’s where you might be missing the mark with those tough-to-crack C-suiters:
You’re asking discovery questions
Your discovery questions are genuine. They’re meant to show customers you’re truly interested in their company, mission, and patients. You’re willing to take time out of your schedule to learn more about them — that’s a pro, right?
Unfortunately, for those in the C-suite, this is a sign of being underprepared and a waste of time. An incredible 82 percent of decision makers actually say sales reps are unprepared, according to a Call Box study.
Executives aren’t looking to make small talk or teach you about their company. They’ve heard these same discovery questions a thousand times from other medical sales reps. Give executives the opportunity to connect with you on a whole new level. Show them you’ve put in the work. Research your contact, the hospital or office, their territory, and previous knowledge from the account to kick-off with purpose and confidence.
They’re all sales-repped out
Executives have an incredible amount of pressure on their shoulders — and they’re worn out. Their fatigue only grows when they’ve spent an entire meeting bombarded by questions.
Think back to an unsuccessful sales call with someone in the C-suite. You shook hands, exchanged a quick back and forth of small talk, and then dove right in. Consider how their responses got shorter and shorter with each passing question. Maybe they even seemed irritated by the time it was all said and done.
The issue wasn’t your questions, necessarily. It’s the lack of empathy you offered for their fatigue. Medical sales reps must acknowledge the typical demands of their role and the exhausting number of reps executives have already seen that month, week, or even in that same day.
Show executives you’re there to go beyond information gathering. Start meetings with key insights about how your product/service will directly impact their customers or set them above competitors. This leaves you with a greater opportunity to strike a chord, get them invested in the meeting, and in you as a valuable asset.
You’re not selling to their fears
Just like each point of contact has their own role in the buying process, each one has their own set of concerns as well. Techs and IT pros fear a product will be unreliable and doctors fear the product won’t help improve patients’ lives.
Of course, executives share these concerns. But they have business issues on their shoulders that others in the hospital or office likely never express to you. That could be why the previously mentioned Call Box study found only 13 percent of executives believe that reps understand their business issues.
Executives want you to go beyond connecting a product to their patients’ or staff’s needs. Their fears revolve around intricate budget plans, staying on top of trends, and ensuring they’re making informed decisions that benefit the entire hospital or office.
So, start speaking their language. Seventy-nine percent of Call Box’s respondents say they prefer sales reps who translate their offer into business specific recommendations. Go into a meeting with key healthcare insights. Recognize their fears and connect them to key healthcare insights and trends. Then, calm those fears by offering steps to help them rise to the occasion — one of which is purchasing your product.
What challenges arise when you approach C-suite executives? Let us know!