Medical Device Companies Shift Their Focus to Patients

February 21, 2020 Lia Parisyan

Medical device sales teams are changing the way they sell, shifting focus from products to customers in an effort to improve the customer experience.  
Medical device companies aren’t alone; according to Dimension Data's 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, 84% of companies who improve their customer experience see an increase in their revenue.  

Medical Device Smart Watch and Monitor

It’s no wonder then that CX is gaining momentum in B2B spaces that have traditionally lagged behind their B2C counterparts.  

How to sell medical devices 

The way medical device companies are selling products has changed drastically. Today, there is a greater focus on knowing where prospects are in their awareness-to-conversion journeys. 
To compete and provide value, medical device sales teams need to understand what information consumers want and when they want it to keep them moving along the consideration-to-decision funnel.  

How to adopt a customer-focused sales strategy and close more deals

  • Adopt a customer-focused sales strategy 
  • Gain more visibility into customer pain points  
  • Integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and IoT to provide a unified, more relevant customer experience 
  • Modernize how users interact and how tasks are completed 
  • Improve the claims management process  
  • Use technologies that enable sales teams to manage opportunities and complex offerings across multiple channels and geographies 
  • Give field teams mobile access to the resources they need any time, anywhere, on any device  
  • Implement more sophisticated lead-generation tools and best practices that increase your team’s ability to track opportunities and intelligently manage supply chains 
  • Provide sales teams with access to a single experience-driven platform that enables them to build, manage, and nurture relationships with prospects and customers 
  • Integrate data across multiple systems into a CRM to gain a more complete, unified view of prospects and customers 
  • Use better analytics, reporting, and forecasting tools  

Know your customers. 

Understanding even the basics of what your customers want will help you provide better service and make better recommendations to help them solve their problems. 

Embedding AI and machine learning workflows and medical devices 

Introducing AI and machine learning can help drive business functions and maximize opportunities across the medical device value chain. These emerging technologies can also help improve day-to-day operations and improve the management and performance of your supply chain. 
Not only can AI and machine learning be implemented throughout an organization, but these technologies can also be embedded into your medical devices to promote better patient outcomes. Why? Because AI and machine learning adds another layer of meaning and capacity that can be scaled across your organization. 
AI and machine learning enable you to focus on higher-value tasks but are increasingly playing a larger role. We’re seeing the dawn of AI as “a second opinion” in the healthcare space, augmenting human analysis. 
Additionally, AI-enabled medical devices give sales teams more insight into product performance and enable them to make smarter evidence-based recommendations.  
Analytics is evolving from what happened and why to what will happen and what you can do about it – predictive and prescriptive analytics. Machine learning focuses on “teaching” medical devices to perform tasks, while AI “teaches” devices how to make decisions. 
More and smarter devices are being developed to help clinicians provide a higher quality of care and allow individuals an easier way to get involved.

For example, the emergence of wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch give consumers an easy way to gather health-related data, inspiring more people to actively engage in their health. 

Creating a 360-degree view of customers  

Medical Devices Connected Glucose Monitor

Increased competition, stricter industry regulations, and growing partnership opportunities mean medical device companies must focus on optimizing their operations without losing focus on what matters most: customers. Additionally, innovation must center on improved patient outcomes while delivering more value to healthcare systems.  
A customer-centric mindset requires medical device companies to develop and adopt new business models and adjust existing frameworks to serve the needs and wants of the consumer.   

Medical device companies must become patient champions and stellar healthcare partners 

Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, enables medical device sales teams to track, build, and manage opportunities. However, Salesforce is more than just another platform. It is a unified experience builder that helps you understand your customer along the awareness-to-decision funnel.  
From omnichannel engagement to intelligent inventory management, Salesforce gives you multiple tools to connect with customers where they are and align and adjust your services and offerings to meet their needs. Gaining a unified view enables you to be more proactive and make smarter business decisions at scale:  

  • Align sales, marketing, and operations. 
  • Better understand how, when, and where physicians are engaging with your marketing campaigns. 
  • Shift from a reactive to proactive mindset and increase collaboration across business units to deliver better experiences.  
  • Don’t ignore the future; explore new technologies and start thinking about the best ways to integrate them into your business.  

Einstein Analytics and Medical Devices

When putting Einstein to use, you'll need to have two goals in mind:

  • Know what you’re looking for
  • Identify your KPIs

For instance, a KPI can be a surgery success rate. Medical device companies can use Einstein to compare the success rate of their devices for a particular surgery versus a competitor’s devices; data-based results give your sales team a powerful selling point to convince surgeons and physicians to choose your products. 

IoT and Einstein Analytics

Wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit generate a lot of health data. As medical devices become more IoT-enabled, that data can be used to create better health outcomes, reward patients, and increase their accountability. While this is gaining momentum in the healthcare community, it raises a number of ethical questions and concerns around people’s private health data. 

Medical device companies can take a page out of the retailer’s handbook. Leading retailers are already using Einstein Analytics to make smart supply-chain decisions. They’re using Einstein to analyze sales trends by city and demographic and using Tableau to track inventory movement in stores and online, enabling them to optimize warehouse operations and storage. 

Einstein doesn’t come ready out of the box

Are you ready for Einstein? Do you have data scientists and business analysts who can help stand up Einstein, glean insights, and communicate those findings to people across your business?

Einstein is not a replacement for a data scientist. It is an extension, a tool your business user can adopt to start identifying trends and opportunities.
Einstein Discovery and Analytics can help you unearth answers faster than a data scientist alone. When you have Einstein up and running, here are the essential questions you need to ask:

  • Do you already have Einstein? Do you know what you want to use it for? For instance, do you want to increase sales outcomes, or improve your customer satisfaction rates?
  • Do you know what you're trying to measure and improve? 
  • Do you have stakeholder alignment and executive buy-in? 
  • Once the requirements are collected, it’s important to involve users early and prepare them to use Einstein.
  • Keep testing and iterating, and make sure your actions are driving value. 

Do you need a discovery phase? 

Einstein requires bandwidth and involvement; it’s not something you can hand off to a data scientist or business analyst and walk away. You will need to meet regularly, discuss KPIs, get executive buy-in, and get a dedicated budget.

Generally, the bigger and more complex an organization is, the more stakeholders and decision-makers you will need to get buy-in from. Einstein is a significant investment; it doesn’t run on autopilot, but when you have executive backing, enabled users, and know what you’re looking for and how to measure it, Einstein has transformational potential. 

What is Salesforce CPQ? 

Lead generation, prospecting, and qualification, proposal, negotiation, close -- these are the steps universal to the sales process. 

Sales needs to figure out what products and services best solve the customer’s needs. Next, sales needs to include the base price (often combing through multiple spreadsheets) and manually apply discounts (praying their math is right) to maintain a competitive position.

If a sales rep requests a deep discount, there may be a review period where the requested discount must be approved, rejected, or modified. Once the sales rep has the green light, she’ll have to create a quote. Creating a quote takes time and sales reps are often engaged in multiple sales deals at once. Finally, the quote must be sent to the customer. 

Here’s where CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) comes in.

CPQ in Salesforce narrows down the products that match the customer’s needs based on various values in a customer’s record in Salesforce. In the automated CPQ process, the CPQ tool automatically assigns the value based on the list already in the CRM or an integrated system -- bye, bye manual discounts. What’s more, Salesforce CPQ also controls the discount percentage applied, eliminating the extra reviewer step. 

Next comes quoting. The traditional, pre-CPQ way using Excel and Word generated a manual quote. But today CPQ automatically creates a quote and emails it to your prospect. Now, sales can use automation to close more deals faster. 

Want to know how CPQ is revolutionizing the medical device industry? Discover out how CPQ helped Alcon, a global eye care leader, revolutionize their sales process. Ready to learn more about the benefits of CPQ for medical device companies? Learn more here

Previous Article
Six Questions to Ask when Transforming Your Customer Experiences
Six Questions to Ask when Transforming Your Customer Experiences

Next Article
Seamless Commerce: Create a 360 Customer View Fueled by MuleSoft
Seamless Commerce: Create a 360 Customer View Fueled by MuleSoft

Today’s consumers are omnichannel shoppers, so offering frictionless experiences is crucial. With Appirio’s...