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Responsive and Effective: Medical Sales Shifts During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world as we know it. Masks conceal facial expressions. Social distancing has become the norm. And in-person interactions are now limited to ensure safety of people not even present. 

The effects of the pandemic are far-reaching across every industry in the world, including medical sales companies. With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to reflect on the challenges and evolution of 2020 as we prepare for continued uncertainty. 

Take a look at a few of the ways the industry has changed and how these shifts could impact your medical sales strategy in the coming months:

Shifts

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the medical sales industry in many ways. Doctors’ offices remain empty, as more appointments are performed virtually. This, unfortunately, means there is also a decrease in new prescriptions written. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to create the most effective vaccine, and medical device companies have shifted their focus to homecare medical devices, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE).   

A theme has emerged among these changes: conservation. Due to wide-spread panic in the first half of 2020, supply chains were interrupted. Masks, gloves, and disinfectants went flying off shelves, forcing healthcare workers to recycle and reuse previously disposable items.

This has led medical sales companies to pivot their attention to provide for the increased needs of hospitals in innovative ways. For example, medical devices such as ventilators are being repurposed to help more patients at one time. This ingenuity saves lives while frontline workers fight against the waves of overwhelming patient numbers, short staffs, and filled beds. 

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the sense of urgency climbs for medical sales companies to stay relevant. The good news is, grant funding has rapidly become more available for COVID-19 research, which means the money is out there for medical sales companies to adjust strategies and make an impact in the coming year. 

Challenges

As you know, as a medical sales rep, it’s your job to pay close attention to trends in the medical industry. Knowledge is the greatest tool you have, and research will be crucial through the upcoming months. 

With urgency to gain control over the spread of COVID-19 growing, the need for expertise around medical products and drugs is exponential. Physicians and hospitals do not have time to waste during this crisis, so they need to work with representatives who are confident, knowledgeable, and efficient. 

As regulations fast-track certain processes, reps need to stay on top of changes and the updates. Medical sales companies will also need to respond by having flexible, empathetic sales representatives available remotely and in-person to answer questions and place timely orders.

Opportunities 

Despite these challenges, the pandemic has made way for creative problem-solvers in the industry. Those with a knack for professional development have embraced the virtual sales world, finding new ways to increase earnings. 

Medical sales companies now offer more flexible roles to fit in the remote healthcare model. While travel has all but disappeared for most reps, many companies are offering new benefits that focus on employee health and well-being, work life balance, and family — a shift from the historic dog-eat-dog world of sales focused solely on numbers at any cost. 

The pandemic has separated us physically in many ways. In others, it’s demanded increased growth and awareness of universal needs and self-care. These factors are key for a successful new year — they push medical sales reps to be more nimble, attentive, and reactive to their clients’ needs and more proactive against burnout.  


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