3 Strategic Ways To Improve Medical Device Sales In A Changing Market

Improve Medical Device Sales In A Changing Market

improve-medical-device-sales | Photo Courtesy of uuoinc http://www.flickr.com/photos/59919717@N05/5486413657/sizes/q/in/photostream/The business model is changing for pharmaceutical and?medical device sales. The confluence of regulatory pressures, competition and payer influence is creating a perfect storm, with today?s market demanding better health care outcomes at lower cost.To compete, companies must adopt broader, more integrated strategic processes, according to an article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website.

?In this market no company can afford to waste its resources,? the article explains. ?Considerable infrastructure, resources and expense go into the work of clinical affairs, regulatory affairs and reimbursement,? and in the absence of an integrated view, ?companies are likely to overextend themselves.?

Customer-facing people, such as sales representatives, are the most impacted. The conversation no longer can be about the latest gee-whiz feature. Instead, it must be about how the product or drug will increase safety, improve efficiency, lead to better outcomes and lower costs.?Clients want to hear how it will accomplish all those goals.

Plus, sales representatives now are working with a committee from the health and business side of the organization, including purchasing, legal and administration. It?s no longer just about the physician. That means sales representatives are interacting with five or six people in the buying chain, who all have different needs.

Companies can attain greater insight into this world and its implications for medical device sales by meeting three strategic requirements.

  1. Develop a strategic process for managing your product portfolio:?This process can optimize limited resources, resulting in competitive product lines and growth platforms.
  2. Bring the right resources to decision making:?Combining clinical, regulatory and reimbursement perspectives can ensure a comprehensive view of market requirements.
  3. Ensure this comprehensive market perspective remains at the forefront:?These perspectives offer crucial insights into shifting needs and buying decisions, new evidence expectations and hidden costs.

To accomplish these strategic goals, companies will need a global information system to define and capture data about constantly changing market requirements. Tools, technology and training, includingmedical device sales?CRM software,?are the best ways to address the challenges that come with having all these different conversations.

Source:?Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, January 2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 “Official”

Microsoft has announced the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be available in the “fall of 2013”.

It is unfortunate that we did NOT hear an official release date, so, that gives Microsoft some wiggle room on what the definition of Fall is. I am all for quality releases and prefer a quality release over hitting a specific date, however, a date helps people with planning. As I learn more information on dates I’ll communicate that. The “unofficial” release date is October 2013. We saw a couple of dates slip late last year, so let’s hope Bob Stutz and company are better at hitting their targets this time around, and more importantly, communicating them in a timely fashion.

On to a few details.

The good news for all users is, this is a dual release for both Dynamics CRM Online as well as Dynamics CRM on-premise. The online version is officially called “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13”. Sound familiar? Yes, I know, real creative there, but, what’s in it, is more important than what they call it. Bottom line with Dynamics CRM, you have the power of choice. We still see a lot of clients that prefer to manage their own servers and software, with Dynaimcs CRM, you get to decide how to use it.

The official announcement:?http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2013/Jul13/07-02DynamicsCRM13PR.aspx

This release includes a major User Interface overhaul. The user Experience has been “re-imagined” and will be a complete departure from previous versions. ?Below gives you some insight into what that new UI looks like:

Dynamics CRM Vision Experience UI screenshot

No official word yet on whether or not the previous user interface will be completely removed or allowed to be turned on if needed. The stated goal I’ve heard so far, is all screens and forms will be the new UI/UX with no switching back to “classic” views.

Another major area of focus is on process oriented experiences.?Process guidance, based on industry-leading best practices, will help teams more easily, e.g., ?move from lead to close?faster than ever before. Flexible and configurable, it gives your organization the ability to be agile in the face of change. Essentially CRM will guide users through their processes. It’s like having built in step by step guides to working with clients whether you are in marketing, sales, or service/delivery roles.

Dynamics CRM Vision Process Guidance


Also planned are new tablet and smartphone experiences?with access to the CRM functionality and analytics. Smartphone apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8 will follow shortly after. Here is a taste of the tablet experience.

?Dynamics CRM Vision Tablet Experience

Eager to weave Yammer’s successful enterprise social capabilities into more offerings, Microsoft has been making an effort to bring the technology to its business applications portfolio, including Office. Now, Dynamics CRM is getting in on the act.

Dynamics CRM 2013 will offer deeper Yammer integration, the new release will provide “capabilities for people to collaborate with each other and share customer knowledge through Yammer right within the CRM solution, enabling them to deliver amazing customer experiences,” Microsoft said in a statement. I can tell you we have started using Yammer internally for the last 6 months and see major improvements in collaboration and information sharing. If you are not familiar with Yammer, think of it as Facebook for your company, but really focused on teams working together.

Dynamics CRM Yammer Vision

In addition, Dynamics CRM 2013 will feature support and integration for MarketingPilot marketing automation. Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot, a provider of multi-channel marketing management software, late last year. I’ve had a little bit of hands and it’s has quite a few enhancements that you’ll be able to take advantage of. It has the usual suspects in Marketing Automation capabilities, including emails, landing pages, contact forms, and social media. Stay tuned for a deeper dive when we are given the ok to provide more details.

?Dynamics CRM with MarketingPilot Integration

Finally, Microsoft recently announced Lync and Skype integration which provides for sharing of contacts and the ability for the two applications to connect to each other. Included in the CRM 2013 release will be improved seamless support enabling instant access to either or both of these applications. If you are not familiar with Lync or Skype, think of these as Facetime for your company and customers. It’s pretty cool and provides productivity boosts with built-on phone calls, conference calls, video calls, and desktop sharing.

Dynamics CRM with Lync Integration?Dynamics CRM with Skype Integration

Why Medical Device Innovation Doesn?t Need To Cost A Fortune

Medical Device Innovation Doesn?t Need To Cost A Fortune

reducing-medical-device-cost | Photo Courtesy of spectrumonline http://www.flickr.com/photos/40234882@N07/3702319394/sizes/q/Medical device innovation?isn?t just about making substantial investments in research and development. It?s also about recognizing true market needs, suggests an article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website.?Even when you are designing with your existing technology you can actually subtly shift the way you design in order to address the need better,? says Stacey Chang, associate partner and director of IDEO?s health and wellness practice.For example, in the past, a sales representative would only have a relationship with the physician, who would decide whether the hospital or clinic should invest in the product or drug. Now, more people are involved, from buying departments to insurance companies and legal.Even patients play an important role.?Through social media and specialized websites, they can talk about treatments they?ve received. That drives patients to have those conversations with physicians and even push certain treatments based on what they?ve heard. Even though sales representatives might not deal directly with patients, the industry must understand what their concerns are.

CRM solutions can cost-effectively track these conversations and automate processes.?Many medical device sales CRM systems have these capabilities built in, so there?s no need for complex implementations.

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How Can Companies Minimize Layoffs By Cutting Costs With Medical Device Sales CRM Software?

How Can Companies Minimize Layoffs By Cutting Costs With Medical Device Sales CRM Software?

cut-costs-crm-software | Photo Courtesy of 401(K) 2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355840185/Traditionally, medical device companies have focused on paper and pen, Excel spreadsheets and gut instinct, rather than adopting new technologies. Now, that?s changing, and companies are turning to tools such as medical device sales CRM software to improve internal processes and systems.

Recently, medical device company Zimmer Holdings announced that it will not saddle its distributors with the costs of the new medical device excise tax, according to an article on the MassDevice website. ?The company has spent several years streamlining its operations and looking for ways to cut costs in order to prepare for the tax,? the article explains.

On the one hand, it?s good that a very large medical device maker like Zimmer is not going to pass the cost on to its distributors, thereby doing its part to help reduce health care costs.

On the other hand, one of the ways they?re doing this is through a reduction in workforce. Last year, Zimmer announced significant outsourcing and layoffs, the MassDevice article reports, and was among the first to publicly blame its workforce cuts on the medical device excise tax.

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4 Challenging Medical Device Industry Trends Facing Entrepreneurs

4 Challenging Medical Device Industry Trends Facing Entrepreneurs

medical-device-industry-challenges | Photo Courtesy of l i g h t p o e t http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightpoet/7077355135/sizes/q/Today?s industry is ripe for health technology entrepreneurs, according to an article on the MassDevice website. While recent health care reform laws are heavily focused on providers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, medical device industry trends suggest new opportunities for technology companies in health care innovation.

Hospitals, in particular, are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve outcomes, which means companies must bring products to market that will improve efficiency, speed and outcomes.

For example, if a company has a new knee that?s easier to implant and features a faster recovery time, that would make for a great investment. For payers and providers, it?s not strictly about cost-cutting anymore.

The Affordable Care Act also is driving a greater focus on specialists and referrals. Specialization helps increase expertise and efficiency. Creating a system that improves this patient referral process, which is largely manual today, could reap huge savings for larger hospitals and clinics.

While today?s industry is ripe for health technology entrepreneurs, they face four challenging medical device industry trends.

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How Can Partnerships Spur On Medical Device Innovation Despite Federal Funding Cuts?

How Can Partnerships Spur On Medical Device Innovation Despite Federal Funding Cuts?

Partnerships Spur Medical Device Funding OpportunitiesRegardless of what happens with the fiscal cliff, medical device companies that depend on government research grants should expect and prepare for the fact that funding from federal sources will continue to be harder to find.

Cuts to programs such as the National Institutes of Health could hampermedical device innovation, suggests an article on the Birmingham Business Journal website. The article examines what cuts could mean for biotech firms.

Federal research funding is crucial for ongoing technological innovation, says Raj Singh, CEO of Vivo Biosciences, a company that grows small organs for pharmaceutical testing.

“Those programs are critical for companies like us so we can take innovative ideas to the market and grow our business,” Singh tells the Birmingham Business Journal. Since Vivo started in 2004, the Birmingham, Ala., company has received $5.4 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and NASA. According to Singh, losing such funding could halt research projects.
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3 Tactics To Streamline Medical Device Sales

3 Tactics To Streamline Medical Device Sales

Companies in the medical device industry must find ways to offer cost-efficient solutions to their price-conscious clients in medical centers. Many firms could lower prices by strategically streamlining their medical device sales models.

At most device companies, ?about 40 percent of their budgets are used to market and sell their products,? says Gavin Fabian, CEO of MedPassage, in an article on the Becker?s ASC Review website. Fabian calls these costs ?unsustainable,? explaining that ?the days of a salesman making high six-figure incomes, by spending their days inside the operating rooms of a few busy surgeons, are coming to end.?

To stay competitive, companies must pursue alternative, more efficient methods of sales and medical device marketing.

In fact, physicians are starting to prefer electronic interactions over face-to-face interactions. Most simply don?t have time to talk to a representative. So, instead of having 15 reps knocking on their door, they can take 15 minutes and talk electronically via Skype at a time that?s most convenient for them. The same holds true for recorded videos that they can watch at any time on their computer.

Fabian, in his interview on the Becker?s ASC Review website, raises three good tactics medical device companies could use to lower medical device sales costs.

  1. Define which devices can be safely used without a sales representative present.
  2. Limit sales representative costs on stable technologies.
  3. Emphasize clinical data and cost efficiency in medical device marketing.

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How Could Focusing On Emerging Markets Boost Medical Device Sales?

Focusing On Emerging Markets Can Help Boost Medical Device Sales

Focusing On Emerging Markets Can Boost Medical Device Sales
Focusing On Emerging Markets Can Boost Medical Device Sales

High-performing companies are realizing the potential for medical device sales in untapped emerging markets. Moving beyond the North American borders, however, is easier said than done. It?s a long and hard process, not to mention expensive.

Compared to many other industries, the medical technology industry has lagged in terms of seeing emerging markets as key to future growth, according to an article on the IndustryWeek website.

Until recently, the U.S., Western Europe and Japan offered the greatest rewards for medical device firms, but now those rewards are shifting into emerging markets ? not only the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) but also Turkey, Mexico, Malaysia, South Africa and the Czech Republic. Industry leaders have taken note, making these new markets a strategic priority.

Most medical device companies have fewer than 200 employees and they started in the U.S. simply because it?s their backyard. They?re not aware of what it takes to grow their medical device sales outside of the U.S.

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5 Keys To Success In New Medical Device Marketing Paradigm

5 Keys To Success In The New Medical Device Marketing Paradigm

5 Keys To Success In The New Medical Device Marketing Paradigm
5 Keys To Success In The New Medical Device Marketing Paradigm

The way medical device companies market and sell to physicians is changing dramatically. That?s why operational and cultural changes are the keys to success.

There?s a looming cost challenge as the nation grows older and more people retire and require health care. Being able to improve outcomes while also reducing health costs is where opportunity is born.

Tools, technology and training are vital in this new?medical device marketing?paradigm.

?Selling to physicians and being paid on the basis of how many widgets sold is so 20th century,? an article on the MedCity News website points out. ?The new world order demands evidence of how well a device works and whether it reduces the cost of care.?

Medical device sales needs to change from selling based on features to selling on economies and outcomes ? a change that ultimately will benefit physicians, health care operators, patients and sales representatives. Acting more like business owners changes your outlook, particularly when dealing with patient health, diagnosis or treatment.

The article on the MedCity News website offers five tips for success as the medical device industry evolves in 2013.

  1. Embrace comparative effectiveness.
  2. Take an aggressive approach to international markets.
  3. Innovate for local markets.
  4. Hire medical economists.
  5. Engage with patients to build better products.

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How Can Companies Overcome The Medical Device Tax With Technology?

How Can Companies Overcome The Medical Device Tax With Technology?

How Can Companies Overcome The Medical Device Tax With Technology?Clearly, the medical device industry was hit hard in 2012. More than 7,000 people were laid off. No wonder an article on the MassDevice website calls it ?the year of the layoff.?

Some of the medical device industry?s biggest companies announced significant workforce reductions in 2012, often in attempts to cut costs ahead of the medical device tax, which went into effect this year.

Medical device company Stryker, for example, planned to reduce its workforce by 5 percent throughout last year due to an anticipated $150 million in medical device tax compliance costs. According to a recent roundup article of industry layoffs on the MassDevice website, the impending tax also played a role in Hill-Rom Holdings? decision to lay off 200 workers, which amounts to 3 percent of its workforce.

Yet others, such as Covidien and St. Jude Medical, downplayed the role the tax played in their job cuts and outsourcing. John Heinmiller, a vice president at St. Jude Medical, described the medical device tax as just one of many financial pressures facing the business.

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