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Selling Startup Medtech: What Motivates You?

Guest post by: Joe Ingoglia, Chief Commercial Officer at Proximo Medical

Selling medical device technology, especially in the startup space, offers a specific set of challenges balanced with an overwhelming measure of rewards. 

Salespeople always face adversity, especially in a COVID-19 world where access to hospitals and medical offices is limited and guidelines are constantly in flux.  

Selling for a startup means education and sales know-how. Physicians may be unfamiliar with the business, product, and relationship. You may have limited proof of clinical success, reach, and reputation. The technology may sell at a higher price point and health care professionals may choose to stay in their comfort zone.

Motivated sales representatives see the above as a challenge to teach and educate – startup technology is disruptive and usually fills a gap or need in the industry that is unmet or obsolete. 

Underdog Mentality

There is a certain type of grit and resolve that comes with being the underdog – you tend to work harder, dig deeper, and push the limits if you believe in the product. 

Physicians are curious and innovative by nature. Finding a product that is clinically proven, improves patient care and safety, and saves time drives their decision making, whether it is a traditional product or one that is driving a new standard in care. 

Selling for startup medtechs includes these key attributes:

  • Understanding – know the product inside and out, including clinical data, differentiators, and key features
  • Relationships – Sales is built on trust. Leveraging pre-existing relationships, credibility, and industry expertise will often open the door with a physician.
  • Follow-up – continuing to stay in contact, providing product and company updates, and media coverage can generate leads. It may not happen on the first call but persistence, partnered with customized knowledge of the physician and product, is a winning combination. 

Innovators lack sales expertise

Early-stage companies are generally not started by salespeople, which means very few early-stage founders understand sales. Do your research before jumping on board. Make sure your new company is in tune with startup sales philosophies and has in-roads and expertise in the field or market. Experience matters and a well-networked CEO can advance the team’s sales success. 

What motivates you to sell? 

Clearly there are monetary incentives, but that cannot be the only driver. Selling for larger companies calls for a different mindset – a templated approach that leaves little room for customization and is heavily reliant on brand equity, recognition, and pre-set protocols. It is a different approach and one that is extraordinarily successful for a selective group of sales professionals.

Sales representatives who have startup innovations in the bag are motivated by disruptive technology that focuses on the next generation in care delivery. For example, telehealth capabilities are flooding the market and smaller, more nimble companies can make the shift without the bureaucracy of a larger business. 

Startups have the flexibility to ebb and flow when it comes to the sales sheet and work closely with physicians to deliver on independent needs. 

Sales reps are not one-size-fits-all

Top sales producers from larger brands are often targeted for startup sales positions. The reasoning is that seasoned sales professionals will bring in sales quickly and easily. That approach can be costly. 

Presidents Club winners from leading employers do not encounter the type of roadblocks that startups face so they often fail. They are accustomed to selling brand name products supported by robust marketing budgets and support and service staff to boot. 

To sell for startup technologies you need the lone wolves, rebels, and nonconformists – they view challenges as opportunities. They take care of themselves, their partners, and do their homework to prepare and take risks to win. They are attracted to the journey, the hunt, and the challenge. 

It is also important to ensure chemistry with the team and company culture – small startup employees work closely together, depend on one other, and lean on each other for best practices, ideation, and strategy. 

Startup salespeople are creative, intuitive and relationship builders that use those attributes to advance next-generation technologies. 

What motivates you – the hunt or the gather?

Joe Ingoglia, Chief Commercial Officer at Proximo Medical, has 28 years of healthcare experience in sales and marketing in the fields of Interventional Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Vascular Surgery, Cardiovascular Surgery and Radiology.

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