The pandemic created permanent changes in all aspects of our lives, forcing us to learn new ways of navigating our world. The difference in the healthcare industry was massive since the sales model, which relied on continuous face-to-face interactions, suffered a shock.
It is impossible to change reality, but we can adapt to it. In this regard, what is the ideal course of action for organizations that sell new products to the health care industry with the potential to transform millions of lives? Furthermore, how can vendor reps improve healthcare by connecting high-value services, devices, medicines, software, and other tools, to enhance the overall health care system? The answers to these questions will only come with time. Still, in this article, we will offer a few suggestions based on our conversations with representatives who have lived through the COVID-19 outbreak and the post-pandemic period.
With over 66% of pharma companies considering rethinking their sales rep model due to restricted access to healthcare stakeholders, this is an urgent matter to address.
Let’s explore how things have changed since the pandemic for healthcare vendors.
A new Medical sales model
Sales reps in the healthcare industry remember a former life when they spend more time in airplanes than with their families. According to estimates, the levels of air traffic that existed in 2019 will only recover in 2024, which will mean 5 years of stagnation. This change in the means of transportation directly influences how s sales representative approaches his or her day-to-day.
How does this reduction in travel frequency affect healthcare sales? Due to the traditional way, sales representatives have established business relationships with healthcare professionals by visiting them. Breakfast, lunches, and brief conversations in the corridor all these interactions were the backbone to learning about the problems of a healthcare organization and offering solutions, like a medical device, a healthcare CRM, or supply chain optimization services to the healthcare industry.
These constant interactions have shifted dramatically. Many healthcare professionals and key decision makers no longer work in a hospital but in remote offices or are distributed across multiple regions as healthcare providers rely on new care delivery models.
How can medical sales representatives or a brand trying to close a pharmaceutical sale cope with these restrictions that make it challenging to build a personal relationship with a hospital administrator or a physician?
Let’s find out.
Building trust as a remote healthcare sales team
Traditional healthcare sales were mainly conducted through in-person visits to healthcare facilities in the pre-pandemic world. This allowed salespeople to get a first-hand look at what was happening on the ground and identify potential improvement areas. Whether you were selling medical supplies, Medicaid services consulting, or software to extract insights from patient data, you would get to know the healthcare professional in charge, understand their concerns, and offer your products or services as a solution.
So how can a pharmaceutical representative, for example, build relationships with medical professionals to help them improve patient care and generate better outcomes? Being human help.
References to help you achieve your healthcare sales goals
Getting a reference from a trusted C-level executive is a shortcut to gaining trust. If an executive recommends you within or outside their healthcare organization, talk about their terrific experience working with your company for the past three years, and your credibility increases exponentially.
Gathering impactful testimonials or looking through your LinkedIn connection to identify relationships between key decision-makers must be an ongoing research activity for healthcare sales reps.
Becoming a healthcare vendor who builds relationships
Remote selling is a lot like dating. You’re not getting married on the first date. A mentality of really getting to know one another is essential for relating to people in this new age.
LinkedIn is a great place to go from a complete stranger to a sales call, but this could take months to understand a person and genuinely show them you’re here to help them achieve their goals and not just send them 10 automated messages immediately after connecting with them.
Join webinars, attend virtual meetups, add value to people’s posts, and create valuable content instead of pitching something immediately.
By not being creepy or pushy, you’d be different from 80% of well-meaning sales reps or digital marketing gurus who are probably trying too hard for their own good.
The new way of making sales in the healthcare sector
A healthcare vendor representative faces unique challenges when building relationships of trust in a healthcare facility. It is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out the tried and tested model of knowing all stakeholders personally.
What hasn’t changed is that the health system, in general, and healthcare professionals individually, still care about patient safety and want to bring in vendors that offer outstanding customer service.
Healthcare vendor reps bring valuable solutions to the thorniest challenges healthcare providers face, thus improving care delivery.
There’re a million ways to make a million dollars, but for healthcare sales reps, being an empathic human who wants to help healthcare organizations generate better outcomes will facilitate their job as they connect with people in the way thoughtful people do when they interact with someone they care about.
Please get in touch if you are a medical sales rep or marketer trying to conduct a medical sale and need content to support your efforts.