The medical device sales industry is in a state of flux. Most notably, consumers are increasingly able to use their own devices (primarily smartphones) to track and monitor their own health. This affects how medical devices are sold and how reps are able to sell them.
Here are the biggest challenges facing medical device sales reps today and what you can do to prove value:
1) Regulatory Issues
A perennial trouble spot for medical sales reps, 70 percent of the 500 senior medical device managers surveyed in the 2017 Emergo Outlook for the Medical Device Industry report said changing regulatory environments are a top challenge to the industry.
In order for new devices to be approved by the FDA, they must go through a stringent process that details safety concerns. New technology typically faces a longer approval process than older tech. This means that new devices take longer to hit the market, which can hold back the momentum of an energized medical sales rep.
While there’s no way for you to speed up the process, you can offer insight and information on new innovation you’re aware of to interest and excite clients. It’s important to stay atop trends in the medical sales industry and be constantly informed of where your company is looking to make the greatest impact with innovations.
2) Funding and Capital Issues
Access to steady cash flow continues to be a sticking point for many medical sales companies, which has a direct affect on medical sales reps. Smaller firms struggle to get funding and stay competitive, while larger firms are threatened by pricing wars, increasing competition, and mergers and acquisitions as the industry grows.
In their 2017 healthcare report, researchers with Bain and Company determined that despite a record amount of capital available for investment (more than $1.4 trillion at the end of 2016), most of those funds go into non-medical technology endeavors. So, a lack of applicable funding remains a threat to innovation and product development.
Despite this fact, medical device sales reps can still demonstrate value in the products they sell to keep their company hot on the market. Product knowledge is an essential tool in your sales strategy. By touting the current benefits of the products you sell and being able to honestly and thoroughly answer any questions your clients might have, you build trust and dedication to your brand.
3) Product Development
It’s difficult for medical sales reps to sell outdated devices and products. In order to stay competitive, companies must continually develop new materials and hone existing products.
However, in the 2017 Emergo Outlook for the Medical Device Industry report, 57 percent of the 500 managers of medical device companies surveyed said product development is currently a significant business challenge.
Respondents said aside from science-backed data, risk-assessment, and product effectiveness, developing new products also encounters challenges in terms of market research, and reimbursement and pricing strategies.
You should reassure clients that the products you’re currently selling are the most beneficial and effective based on the latest research. Products that are not necessarily cutting-edge but are tried-and-true solutions still provide exceptional benefit and value to patients. After all, the products that continue to deliver results are what establish brand recognition.
4) Consumer Tech
As technology improves, it’s becoming easier for people to track and monitor their own health. Fitness trackers, already widely used, offer insight into an individual’s general daily wellness.
For example, the FDA recently approved a smartphone-compatible heart monitor (Abbott Confirm Rx Insertable Cardiac Monitor). A doctor inserts the device just under the skin of a patient’s chest, and the patient is then able to track heart rhythms and other data sent straight to their phone through use of an app.
According to the 2016 EY Pulse of the Industry Medical Technology report, the global medical wearable device market has exceeded $13.2 billion. This demonstrates that more people have an interest in their own health and they want to be able to track and monitor it without unnecessary outside assistance or involvement.
However, many consumers don’t know how to compile and assess all of this data. As a medical device sales rep, it’s your responsibility to understand how these products work and give accurate demonstrations and troubleshooting insight, so clients are aware of how to effectively use various devices and inform their patients.
Every industry faces unique challenges. To stay relevant and active, be sure to consistently research the latest technology and industry trends, so you can position yourself to keep the attention of clients and continue to hit top sales.
What are you doing to stay on top of changing trends? Let us know in the comments!