Mergers and acquisitions are stressful for any company. However, when you’re dealing with medical sales pros, they can be even more challenging. While leaders going through these tough times are great at handling company operations, legalities, and finances, many overlook the most important factor — the people.
Unfortunately, failing to help employees effectively integrate is the largest contributor to merger and acquisition failures, according to a report by the International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies. The report found that problems during the integration phase are tied explicitly to issues surrounding employees’ coping with cultural differences and a lack of communication.
Transitioning in the medical sales field during mergers and acquisitions relies heavily on helping employees cope and effective communication. Both ensure employees feel supported and keep morale high during times of uncertainty. This is especially true for medical sales reps as 54 percent say team building and collaboration are two of the most important values in an employer, according to our 2018 Best Places to Work report.
But in the midst of all the chaos and the weight of your responsibilities, how can you ensure employees are feeling your genuine support? We’ve put together a list to help you show your medical sales reps the love, even during a stressful M&A:
Give transparency a facelift
Transparency is tremendous in the medical sales community. To keep processes running smoothly and sales high, reps need to know exactly what’s expected of them. Traditional transparency allows employees to know much-needed information about company products, what leaders want from them, and the company’s overall productivity.
However, during an M&A this type of transparency won’t be enough. Now, you need to provide a form of openness that actively calms fears. Do this by sharing the improved products and innovation that will result from the change.
Your medical sales reps are passionate about the products and services they provide. In fact, our previously mentioned Best Places to Work report found 44 percent of respondents want to work for companies with a strong product line and 22 percent say innovation is the most important quality in an employer.
Use these passions to excite your team about the future of your company — no matter how scary the short-term may look.
Offer real-life examples of success
During a time of uncertainty in the healthcare world, the MedTech market went under various M&As — many of which are going well. Offer your team a sense of relief by showing them the stories of M&A success right in their own backyard.
For example, Johnson & Johnson recently added onto its surgical robotics capabilities by acquiring French software-enabled surgery technology developed, Orthotaxy, according to a recent Medical Product Outsourcing article.
According to executives, the deal was made to help the healthcare world create even more wide-ranging robot-assisted platforms for total and partial knee replacement procedures. This first-quarter deal is notable in the medical sales world and continues to gain traction as Johnson & Johnson moves closer to their goal of becoming an integral part of the orthopedics platform.
This type of example shows your team that there is power in an acquisition. With the right goals and mindset, that power can be used to impact your clients and their patients positively.
Provide encouraging stats
During an M&A many medical sales reps will fear for their jobs. Times like this can send even your best reps running for the job boards. While fear is a natural emotion during M&As, you must quickly address it before it spreads throughout the entire company and depletes morale.
It’s necessary that you ease their worries by providing both in-house and outsider stats to prove they have virtually nothing to fear. Share the budget that will be left for the sales department, the percentage of sales reps merging, if you’re acquiring a new company, offer stats on their sales numbers and goals they achieved.
Then, share the names of those stakeholders and key investors who are keeping the company, and it’s innovations alive and well. This gives your team the opportunity to investigate and see their intentions all on their own.
Listen-up and advocate
Above all, your sales team needs to feel heard and understood. If their concerns get swept under the rug, their confidence and trust in the company as a whole will decline. This leaves your entire company susceptible for employees to jump ship before an M&A can even entirely occur.
Listen intently to their concerns. Whether it’s squashing a rumor you hear in the hallway, conducting a town hall-style meeting, or even inviting team members to schedule one-on-one meetings with you, it’s critical your reps know you’re open to hearing their concerns.
If you don’t have the answer, that’s OK. Be honest and let them you’ll find the correct answer — even if it’s negative. As you open up and show your dedication to their lives as a whole, their trust in you as a leader will grow exponentially. Who knows, by the end of it all, you may have a stronger, more united team than ever.