Sales team...Assemble!

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Written by Ethan Popowitz

Figuring out who will be selling your medical device is just as important as discovering the right customers to sell to. You’ll need a team that’s confident and competent, with a clear understanding of the value your device brings to the healthcare landscape.  

However, the decisions you’ll need to make differ based on how much experience your company has under its belt.  

Below, we explore the pros and cons of the different kinds of sales teams your organization can build to help sell your medical device.  

If your company has already brought several devices to market and is FDA-approved to commercialize a new one, then skip down to “It’s not my first rodeo.” If this is your organization’s first device, then read on!  

Launching your first medical device 

You never forget your first time. That’s because the choices you make now can set a precedent to follow for future updates to your medical device or when launching a brand-new product.  

You have a few options to consider, based on your budget and resources. We’ll outline the pros and cons of each.  

1099 salesforce 

One choice is to employ a type of sales rep called 1099ers. Named after the 1099 IRS form, these independent sales representatives earn their income primarily through commission.  

The pros include: 

  • A built-in network of contacts 

  • Potentially years of experience and knowledge of the market 

  • A good fit for organizations that don’t have the resources to staff and train an internal team 

The cons include: 

  • Because 1099 sales reps are driven by commission, your device might not be the only device they’re selling 

  • Working with an external team means spending time scheduling appointments and teaching sales reps about your company, your device and how your device is positioned to change the healthcare ecosystem 

Of course, there’s always a risk when handing the reins to an external team. Claims data and executive contact information, however, can help focus your 1099ers outreach and even steer them in the direction of new targets that might not be on their radar.  

In-house salesforce 

Product differentiation matters. And in the highly competitive medical device industry, being able to share how your product stands out amongst the competition is key. An in-house sales team knows your company’s story and understands your vision better than an external organization.  

The pros include: 

  • Total ownership throughout the sales cycle, from training to planning to making the first call 

  • The flexibility to include sales members who manage different account types or sizes 

  • It’s easier to track performance, reevaluate strategies and plan new approaches 

The cons include: 

  • An in-house sales team requires a higher budget to build and train 

  • You may have to build your own network or navigate the market’s complexities to find the most valuable decision-makers and prospects 

Building your own sales team from scratch takes time, and to be honest, it can be tough to make sense of all the different players in your market. The Definitive ID can help enhance your commercialization strategy and set your sales team up for success from the start. The Definitive ID maps the relationships between providers, facilities and organizations across the healthcare ecosystem, so you can focus on the targets who matter most.  

It’s not my first rodeo 

If your organization has already brought one or more medical devices to market, then you have a slightly different set of circumstances to consider than if you were a newcomer. Should you stick with your existing sales force? Or create a brand-new team dedicated to the new device you’re planning to commercialize? 

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each decision.  

Keep the team you have 

This option makes the most sense if the medical device you’re bringing to market falls within the same therapy area you traditionally operate in or if it complements a device your sales team is already selling. 

The pros are: 

  • No new staffing is needed 

  • It’s faster to train an existing team on the new device 

  • Your team can use their network to get a head start 

The cons are: 

  • You’re splitting the time and ability of your sales team between multiple products. Will your old device no longer receive attention? 

  • Adding new responsibilities to your sales team could require a modification to your incentive and compensation plans 

Start a new team 

Alternatively, you can create a new team dedicated to the medical device you’re trying to sell. This choice is a good fit if your new device falls within a therapy or treatment area you haven’t entered before or if it will be competing in a very large market.  

The pros are: 

  • By committing to one product your sales team can develop their expertise faster 

  • Building a new team keeps operational processes streamlined and simplifies incentives and compensation 

  • A team dedicated to one product has one focus, and that means they can build stronger relationships with the people with purchasing authority 

The cons are: 

  • Building a new team requires budget, resources, time and planning 

  • It may be more difficult to align members across multiple teams on company changes and product developments 

Starting a new team doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of time starting over. With the right tools, you can quickly find the insights you need to start developing strategies, analyze the competition, map out sales territories and pinpoint the decision-makers and prospects you need to target.  

Learn more 

When it comes down to it, a sales team functions at their best when unnecessary tasks and distractions are removed, and they’re focused solely on moving prospects through the sales process.  

That means giving them the intelligence they need to consistently create opportunities to engage with prospects and win more deals.  

How can you achieve that? By using facility and medical claims data. You can mine claims for insights into procedures, diagnoses, locations of care and costs relevant to your medical device. You can then use that information to improve your commercialization decisions and set up your sales team for success. Our blog on leveraging claims data for sales and marketing professionals is a great start.  

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