Better Training The Key To Success In New Medical Device Sales Model

Why Is Better Training The Key To Success In New Medical Device Sales Model?

medical-device-sales-models | Photo Courtesy of flickr

Rapid technological advances and an ever-shifting marketplace require a nimble and forward-thinking approach to medical device sales. Companies frequently are adopting new technologies in response to how selling in the industry is changing.

The most critical component of any implementation is the training that goes along with it. Product- or feature-based training no longer is enough. The key is to train everybody how to use the tool in relation to how they do their work. That means an end user would be trained differently than a manager.

An article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website lists three steps that can help ensure that the company?s first-line management (FLM) team is equipped for the work required and given every opportunity to thrive.

  1. Define roles clearly from the top down, leaving no question about hierarchy and decision-making responsibility.
  2. Select people whose skill sets fall into line with those required of managers, which does not necessarily mean promoting the best sales people into management positions.
  3. Providing sufficient resources and ongoing skills development. This is particularly important for managers who lack experience or are relatively unfamiliar with the corporate culture.

One way to ensure that managers are sufficiently supported is to put the right customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. Managing by spreadsheets, phone calls and emails is considerably different with the right CRM system.

On the other hand, the shiny new system will only be effective if users are trained how to use it in the context of the way they work. Otherwise, they?ll simply fall back into their old habits and the company won?t gain the full value of the system.

One of the major oversights in training that we see is for managers ? specifically, how to manage with these new tools and technologies. One of the greatest risks of failure is to roll out a new system but not teach the managers how to manage using the tools. After all, if an end user?s manager is not using the tool and encouraging use, then people tend to fall back on what they know. This all too often leads to a failed implementation of the CRM tool.

By following the steps above and integrating the sales force with a reliable, comprehensive CRM system, medical product manufacturers can take advantage of an under-leveraged opportunity in the industry ? a well-trained, fully attuned FLM team nimble enough to adjust to the ever-shifting medical device industry.

Source: Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry Online, March 2013

Preparing For Sunshine Act Rules

How Should Medical Device Technology Companies Prepare For Sunshine Act Rules?

medical-device-sunshine-act | Photo Courtesy of geomphotography

How much is the Physician Payment Sunshine Act going to add to the cost of meeting reporting requirements? Probably a lot more than most medical device technology companies realize, according to a recent article on the Mass Device website.

Jonathan Kellerman, compliance and risk assessment manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, believes the ?make-it-or-break-it? variable that will determine how well each company handles the costs is its data management system. More mature, consistent and high-quality systems will have an easier time reporting to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

It might be easier for smaller companies to comply with the new regulations simply because they have less data to report, but the bottom line is that the edge will go to those that embrace technology and use a CRM system to streamline the process

The new reporting requirements were released in February. As the article explains, ?the measure requires companies to track all interactions with physicians and start reporting the data to CMS by March 31, 2014.?

Specifically, any medical device technology company that interacts directly with a physician will be required to report expenses over $10 spent on that physician. That includes royalties, consulting fees and research fees. This mean there is even more information that companies now must collect. For example, if you buy a physician breakfast that costs more than $10, you?ll have to record that physician?s name, where you spent the money, when the meeting occurred and the reason for that interaction.

Many companies don?t have technology in place to record this type of information. While this can be done manually, using a CRM system is much more efficient. A CRM system can track physician information and record where and when expenses were incurred each day.

Read more here >>>

Article originally posted on our CRM for Medical Device Organizations website.

Dynamics CRM No Code Multi-Select Picklist

How to Create a Dynamics CRM No Code Multi-Select Picklist

What is a multi-select picklist you may ask? Here is an example. Let’s say that you need to track multiple specialties for the physicians in your CRM database. E.g. Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology. Another example might be, what your contacts interests are; Baseball, Basketball, Curling, Football, Golf, Soccer, Swimming, etc.

In most cases, I see this implemented with some code that looks something like this…

Dynamics CRM Multi-select picklist example


Nothing wrong with this approach, it just requires some code and someone to manage and update that code when changes are needed.

I’m a big fan of no code configuration or customization where possible. The benefits with this approach are:

  1. There is no code to maintain
  2. Does not require a developer to manage and update; business users can easily make changes as needed
  3. ?Upgrades smoothly

I am also a big fan of NOT re-inventing the wheel. So below, I provide a couple of great resources that inspired this post. First is the link that gives you some more background and screenshots on creating Dynamics CRM no code multi-select picklist.

The next is a video from one of the great Dyamics CRM MVP’s that are out there, Richard Kudson, take it away Richard…

Microsoft Details Office 365 Upgrade Options

Office 365 customers can more easily switch plans with new Office 365 Upgrade Options

“We’ve been listening to your feedback and today we are announcing the ability for customers to more easily switch between Office 365 business plans.”Microsoft Office 365 Logo

Well, really more like HALF listening.

Microsoft is finally updating its promised Office 365 switching capability, allowing users to upgrade to new plans more easily and quickly; which is a good thing. Customers SHOULD be able to decide what products and services they want to buy from a company. The problem is, and this is the half listening part, customers cannot back track to a less costly plan.

Customers are also saying, rightfully so, they want and should be able to easily downgrade to different plans, should their needs change.

But hey, it’s a step in the right direction. Caveat, only those with plans covering 300 users or fewer can use the automatic switching wizard at this time.

Before Microsoft introduced this swtiching capability, customers had to manually re-assign user licenses and call Office 365 support to cancel their old subscriptions. The new Switch plans wizard allows some plan changes to be done automatically and without calling support.

The chart below provides more details on the Office 365 upgrade options and switchable plans.

Available now ?
From To
Small Business P1 Small Business Premium P2
Enterprise K1, Exchange Online (Plan 1), Lync Online (Plan 1), Lync Online (Plan 2), SharePoint Online? (Plan 1) Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3, Enterprise E4
Enterprise E1, SharePoint Online? (Plan 2), Exchange Online (Plan 2) Enterprise E3, Enterprise E4
Education A1 Education A2, A3
Education A2 Education A3
Exchange Online Kiosk Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3, Enterprise E4, Enterprise K1, Exchange Online (Plan 1), Exchange Online (Plan 2)

To get more details and read the FAQ, follow this link:

4 Keys For Medical Device Technology Firms To Succeed Amid Changes

4 Keys For Medical Device Technology Firms To Succeed Amid Changes

medical-device-technology-success | Photo Courtesy of Kiva.Dang

Few people in the health care industry would dispute the idea that big changes are ahead. Many fundamental changes already are here.

For starters, health care reform is challenging manufacturers to prove that their devices significantly improve clinical outcomes and reduce a patient?s total cost of health care, and pricing constraints will continue to be a challenge for medical device manufacturers as health care reimbursements decline.

In fact, it?s estimated that the squeeze from new regulations will force health care providers to cut overhead by 20 to 40 percent. Innovative medical device technology companies can play a role in securing a fundamentally different future for the nation?s health care industry by proactively addressing these cost concerns.

Read more here >>>

Article originally posted on our CRM for Medical Device Organizations website.

Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day Technical Track Notes

CRM 2013 Blitz Day Technical Track Notes

Microsoft held the Dynamics CRM 2013 Training Blitz Day for partners on July 31. The sessions were split into two tracks, sales & marketing track and technical track. The notes below are for the ?Technical Overview for Application Consultants, Presales Consultants and Developers?.

The primary themes for Dynamics 2013 are:

  • Re-imagined User Experience (Flow UI)
  • Process Agility
  • Yammer Integration
  • Outlook Client Improvements
  • New Exchange Sync
  • Upgrade Process
  • Business Rules
  • Client Extensibility
  • Extensibility on the Server and Cloud
  • CRM as a Platform for Business Apps

The new UI that is available in the Polaris release will be complete for all entities. This release will include additional changes with the release of a new “ribbon” toolbar?(will be called the Command Bar) at the top. I like the new UI and it seems that it will be easier to navigate with very few popups. We will see a more streamlined UI with more white space which makes the app look a lot cleaner and more modern.

CRM 2013 New UI

?Another new paradigm is the heavy process oriented flow of the UI. We do see this a bit in the Polaris Flow UI forms, where essentially the flow of a process is spread across the top 1/3 of the screen that represents stages, with steps associated within each stage. This will be across all of the main entities, including leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities and cases. From what I heard, new entities will have the same features, although not 100% confirmed yet. This could be a great differentiator, as these essentially “process flows” guide a user through an entire process. And yes, multiple processes and process switching will be supported.


Dynamics CRM 2103 Business Processes

Business rules and synchronous workflows are new features of Dynamics CRM 2013 and will expand the no-code capabilities of the product. Microsoft calls it “declarative” configuration; which is essentially more like the current Processes vs. the Form editor drag and drop (more descriptive, less visual). This is a new feature and DIFFERENT than Processes (Workflows & Dialogs) and different than plugins (which require code). Business Rules will support “no code required” rules; such as, if then else, change a field based on another field, comparisons, formula’s, etc. E.g. the ability to create a rule that says If field A = Red, then Set Field B = “123”. Or, If field C = “Blue” then show Tab 2. All in all a nice edition because JavaScript is required to do this today.

CRM 2013 Business Rule Designer

The mobile updates include a responsive design and ?write once? business logic. Responsive means the UI has the ability to detect the “size” of the screen and adjusts the layout automatically. The initial release will see support for Windows Phone and iPhone, with Android to follow shortly. On the tablet front, iPad and Windows 8 tablets, with no information on Android tablets, other than it’s on the roadmap.

CRM 2013 Tablet UI


CRM 2013 Phone Apps

There will be NO offline use for mobile devices in the initial release. One exception, there will be “offline” capability for Windows 8 tablets, but it’s a caching approach, so, don’t get sucked in by the marketing speak. This is not offline and merely has a few of the most recently browsed records offline. So, this means that Resco and CWR will still be the go to applications for full device offline capabilities. I suspect both will also be far more feature complete with device online capabilities as well, for the time being.

There IS still offline capability with the full Outlook client for Windows 8 tablets (Surface Pro, Convertibles, laptops, etc.). Good news on true offline, the Outlook client has been re-designed with a focus on performance and stability improvements. Technically they have created more “isolation” of running processes which is a fancy way of saying the code has been optimized. No numbers were shared but should definitely see better performance and less hit on client memory.

Editable grids is always a hot topic and we finally START to see these in CRM 2013. Initially the editable grid is on the Opportunity entity only, for easier product entry. It looks pretty good and provides in cell editing and configurable columns. Unfortunately this is the only place it will be available for now. The plan is to add it to other areas. I did not get an answer if this was a new “control” that could be re-used in other areas, I suspect not at this time.

Speaking of new controls, there will also be a new image control for adding images to entities. The one bummer about it, only 1 image control per form.

Server-to-server side sync for activities/calendar and email is long overdue and looks to be a good replacement for the email router; however email router is not going away at this time. Tracking selected individual items will still require Outlook, though. The first release will be an all or nothing approach, meaning, no rules can be configured for selective tracking of email or activities using server side sync. It will provide a way for mobile clients to finally have Calendar and email sync, which is a great step forward.


CRM 2013 Service Side Sync

CRM 2013 Server Side Sync Matrix

We have heard some information on the Yammer, MarketingPilot and NetBreeze acquisitions and they will play a significant role in the future of the product, but CRM 2013 will have limited integration with these products. Yammer will have the tightest integration and can essentially replace Activity Feeds (but AF is not going away just yet). The main thing to know about Yammer, it will NOT be free. In order to use the CRM-Yammer integration one will be required to purchase the Yammer Enterprise application, or, have an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.? Rumors are that E1-E4 Office 365 will include Yammer integration with that platform, could not get an answer if that will include CRM if it is part of your Office 365 E-x subscription.

There will essentially be no MarketingPilot or Netbreeze integration with this initial release. There is a CRM connector for CRM-MarketingPilot today, it’s free, but currently limited to select Clients and Partners. We won’t see any real integration until the “Mira” release, sometime in 2014.

CRM 2013 MarketingPilot

There were LOTS of questions on upgrading, what’s going to work, what will break, etc. A beta of the release is now available for downloading so we should be able to get an idea of what will happen with existing customization’s and configurations. Microsoft has claimed that MOST configuration and supported customization’s SHOULD work without issue. We shall see.

CRM 2013 Upgrade Details

CRM 2013 What Works Post Update

If you have been following my tweets, Yammer or i3 Community blog posts I provided an update that Microsoft is starting to announce release “dates”. No official date but indicators are late October will be the official launch of Dynamics CRM 2013

Voice Recognition Innovations Can Revolutionize Medical Device Technology

How Might Voice Recognition Innovations Revolutionize Medical Device Technology?

voice-recognition-medical-device-technology | Photo Courtesy of plantronicsgermany

Ray Kurzweil showed us voice recognition in computers was possible. Siri showed us how voice recognition could be cool. Star Trek showed how awesome it will be.

Could voice recognition innovations revolutionize medical device technology? Believe it.

A blog post on The Huffington Post website highlights the possibilities of voice-guided (or voice-enabled) technologies, specifically mentioning Auvi-Q, an epinephrine auto-injector that talks users through the injection process during a severe allergic reaction.

Read more here >>>

Article originally posted on our CRM for Medical Device Organizations website.

How Will 3D Printing Impact Medical Device Technology?

How Will 3D Printing Impact Medical Device Technology?

3d-printing-technology | Photo Courtesy of richardjsum are on the cusp of seeing some really amazing innovation and growth in 3D printing.

Innovations in 3D printing could increase efficiency in medical device technology, but don?t expect the human element to disappear anytime soon.

An article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website quotes futurist Thomas Frey, who says 2 billion jobs will vanish due to innovations in automation. That?s about half the jobs on the planet.

This is almost a doomsday prediction here. A total of 2 billion jobs lost would be huge, obviously. But a bright spot is the fact that ?the Internet created 2.6 jobs for each lost to technology-related efficiencies,? according to McKinsey & Company. Other technological innovations could have similar impacts on the workforce in the future.

Overall, the future does look bright for medical device manufacturers. While 3D printing could eventually replace some types of manufacturing, other types are just too intricate or complicated to be completely automated by 3D printing, especially in the medical device industry. Also, there will be many jobs replaced by people who are needed to sell and service these new 3D machines that may be used to replace manufacturing workers. And people will continue to drive medical device innovation.

Frey believes 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing. His thinking is along the same lines as that of Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of ?Wired? magazine. Anderson has ?predicted that 3D printing will ultimately be more important than the Internet,? the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry article notes, with applications in the medical field of tissue engineering, prosthetic limbs and potentially artificial organs. Frey says it could effect change in the manufacturing sector as much as Henry Ford?s assembly line.

That?s a pretty bold statement. Keep in mind that 3D printing technology has only been around for a few years. Perhaps at some point in the future, we?ll see a ?Star Trek?-style replicator system that can conjure up anything on demand, but don?t expect to see anything like that in the next 15 years.

Source: Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, January 2013

Differences Between SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive

Yes, SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive are?confusing…thank you, Microsoft.?SkyDrive Logo

I’m not sure who is responsible for creating such exasperatingly confusing names, SKU’s and products within Microsoft. Please don’t get me started on the many different flavors of Office 365.?I sure wish they woud stop it. Until they do, I’ll try to shed a little light on the differences between SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive.

Here is the most clear Microsoft article I have been able to find:

SkyDrive ProRequires SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2003.?A personal file storage and synchronization service for business use. You store, access, and synchronize your files in SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2013 with your workstation or laptop.

SkyDrive -?A personal file storage service linked with your Microsoft (Live) account. This is similar to Box, DropBox, iCloud, and related storage services. SkyDrive has no relationship to SharePoint Online/SharePoint Server 2013. If you install Office 2013 and then open Windows Explorer, you will see a?SkyDrive?folder in the Favorites section. This folder synchronizes with your?personal file storage, not your SkyDrive Pro storage. You can download and install the SkyDrive synchronization application to synchronize your SkyDrive (personal file storage) with the?SkyDrive?folder in Windows Explorer, without installing Office 2013.

And yes, it is possible to have BOTH on your laptop or desktop and both can sync files (to different areas).

SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro

The following table provides more information about the differences and how synchronization works.

SkyDrive Pro Synchronization (using the Windows Sync client) SkyDrive Pro document library SkyDrive
How do I access it? To use SkyDrive Pro Synchronization, the user must have:

In SharePoint Server 2013, a user clicks the Sync button in a document library to start the synchronization of files between the document library and the client workstation. On the client workstation, when the SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client runs, it is available from the notification area. The SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client creates shortcuts in Windows Explorer in Favorites.

On a user’s My Site in SharePoint Server 2013, or on a My Site in SharePoint Online Go to the SkyDrive logon page.
Who uses this product? Business users Business users Consumers or individuals
Is this a document library? No, but the SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client performs synchronization with document libraries. Yes Yes
Is this installed with Office 2013? Yes, the SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client is installed.You may also download the stand-alone SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client, which can be used with earlier versions of Office (Office 2010, Office 2007, and so on). No, this is a document library on a user’s My Site in SharePoint Server 2013. Yes, the Microsoft SkyDrive client is installed, a shortcut named SkyDrive is created in Favorites in Windows Explorer, and an open and save location is created in the Backstage view in Office 2013.
Which folder used in Windows Explorer under Favorites? SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client synchronizes files in the following Windows folders:

  • SkyDrive @ Contoso, where Contoso is a SharePoint Online tenancy name
  • SkyDrive Pro
  • SharePoint
SkyDrive Pro folder SkyDrive folder

Hope this helps.

This just in, found a PowerPoint deck on SkyDrive Pro and sharing it below.

Power BI for Office 365

Power BI for Office 365

Here is a quick update from an announcement made at the Microsoft WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference). Power BI for Office 365 is a self-service business intelligence (BI) solution delivered through Excel and Office 365. Power BI users have data analysis and visualization capabilities to identify business insights from their on-premises and cloud data. One of the most exciting new features of Power BI is Q&A, a natural language based experience for interacting with data. Microsoft still has not really made clear exactly what Power BI is, e.g. is it a new product, a re-branding, a new service? From what I can tell it looks like a little bit of rebranding of Power Pivot with some new features thrown in. Hopefully soon Microsoft will provide more details on exactly what this is, what are the costs, how is it configured and all those other fun questions. In the meantime, a little more about the Q&A feature. Q&A builds upon allows the use of natural language to find, understand, and report on your data. Here are a few examples: ?Show London clients? Power BI - Show London Accounts In this example, an Excel workbook with data about customers and their locations has been saved to Office 365. Q&A is interpreting the search query and displaying corresponding information from the workbook to create a list of customers that are based in London. ?Show number of products? Power BI Show Product Counts Similarly, ?show number of products? is being interpreted to count the number of products found in the data source. ?Number of songs per year? Power BI Show Songs per Year Further, Q&A automatically chooses a suitable visualization based on what is requested. ?Total number of employees for finance, HR, marketing in Europe by employee country? Power Bi - Show Total Employees by Country In this example, Q&A automatically chose to display three maps, one for each division. It opted to display maps because the country column is marked as a geography data column. ?Show our sales pipeline with opportunity size greater than $20,000? v So what will you need to get Power BI Q&A to work with your organization?s dataset? An Excel spreadsheet with a Power Pivot model saved to a Power BI site in Office 365. So, if you are using Excel and Power Pivot today, you are on the right track to use Q&A over your own data once it is available. Microsoft will be posting more about the features included in Power BI so stay tuned here for more updates. In the meantime head over to and check out more details.