Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Gartner Magic Quadrant, Again

The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for sales force automation (SFA) has been published and Microsoft is once again in the Leaders Quadrant.

Another year, another Magic Quadrant.

One twist from previous quadrants, this year Gartner has separated Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-preFigure 1. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force AutomationOne twist from previous quadrants, this year Gartner has separated Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premise and CRM Online, placing them both in its leader quadrant. The primary strengths of Dynamics CRM include integration to other Microsoft applications (the stack) including Outlook, Office, SharePoint, Lync and Skype. The new CRM ?process UI?, which will be fully available in October 2013), has already won praise for improving user experience.

According to Gartner: ?This Magic Quadrant for SFA, specifically for B2B sales professionals, has new entrants and reflects new market dynamics. Mobility via smartphones and tablets is on the rise, and social is becoming more important, while sales performance management plays a major role in our evaluation criteria.?

?Sales force automation (SFA) applications support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations? sales professionals. Core functionalities include account, contact and opportunity management. Additional add-on capabilities focus on improving the sales effectiveness of salespeople. Among those capabilities are sales configuration, guided selling, proposal generation and content management, and sales performance management support, including incentive compensation, quota, sales coaching and territory management.?

The bottom line on the top tier SFA applications is they are all pretty good. It?s more important to just make a decision and start using it. Cost should certainly be a consideration, after all, if they are all in the leaders quadrant, how can they be that much different? And don?t let the vendors do your TCO for you, some are, shall we say, ?a little less forthcoming? than others.

One of the primary keys to success is choosing a partner that can help guide you in your CRM journey. Yes, one can always ?go it alone? but that?s a lot like tackling your own home improvements. Yes, you can probably do it, and it will be an ok job in many cases. In others, though, it can be a complete disaster and end up costing you a lot more in the long run. It?s always better to have advice and guidance from a professional, BEFORE you get into trouble. The best partners will be that ?guiding light? to help get you going in the right direction. Once you are on the right path, then?s OK to spread your wings and take on as much as you want.

Choosing a partner might be easier said than done in some cases. One of the best sources, regardless of the actual application you choose, is to simply ask the vendor. The vendor has a vested interest in your success and they generally do a good job of telling you who their best partners are.

How Medical Device Technology Boosts Productivity And Lowers Costs

How Can Medical Device Technology Boost Productivity And Lower Costs? a lot of less-than-stellar news for the medical device industry with layoffs and the medical device tax, the good news is the industry is still projected to experience very good growth over the next five years.

In fact, a new report shows that the implantable medical device market is expected to grow 8 percent between 2011 and 2018, according to an article on the MedCity News website. With growth comes the opportunity to improve the way things are done operationally.

Medical device technology and software applications in particular are a good investment to help boost productivity, improve efficiency and lower costs. With technology, medical device companies can gain better visibility into sales opportunities, guide sales teams to improved performance, provide better customer service, and help the marketing department take advantage of the rapidly expanding channels of information available to interact with and engage influencers. Plus, when it comes to social media, new mobile technologies allow for enhanced productivity and quicker responses to customer inquiries.

Traditionally, medical device companies have not been on the leading edge of technology. It has ranked last among the life sciences teams in adopting technological innovations. But companies can?t keep operating the same old way. They need to replace legacy systems and move away from managing their businesses with spreadsheets.

Implantable medical devices will be a $73.9 billion industry in 2018, up from $43.1 billion in 2011, according to projections from the Transparency Market Research report. Medical device sales teams must be able to stake their claim in the market, which includes reconstructive joint implants, dental implants and breast implants.

?All segments are expected to see growth because of the increasing prevalence of chronic disease and an aging population,? the MedCity News article reports, but notes the orthopedic implant segment will continue to dominate market value and growth.

Source: MedCity News, January 2013

Why Is Quality Data Key To Today?s Medical Device Industry Trends?

Why Is Quality Data Key To Today’s Medical Device Industry Trends?
quality-hospital-analytics | Photo Courtesy of johnfranciesim

Medtronic always has been at the forefront of medical device industry trends. In a recent interview on, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak explains the need that a lot of life sciences companies have to prove the overall economic value of their technologies.

One of today’s most challenging medical device industry trends is that medical device innovation must demonstrate economic value. In fact, lowering costs is now mandated with the recent health care law changes. “Economic value, in simple terms, is projecting our value proposition in financial terms for our customers, not only the clinical benefits, but the financial benefits,” Ishrak says. This kind of thinking, he adds, is transforming Medtronic’s strategic priorities for the coming years.

But health care’s very nature makes it difficult for companies to present medical devices not as a cost, but as an investment. “The cost of healthcare is incurred during a procedure,” Ishrak notes, but “the benefit of that investment, if you like, is realized at later time and potentially in a different place.” In this context, it’s difficult for any medical device company to follow a patient’s outcome and the health care costs after a procedure has been done.

Medtronic and other companies can begin making the case for investment by partnering with hospitals and running pilot projects to focus on areas that reduce health care costs. The goal is to produce quality data that proves their technologies can reduce overall patient costs.

A CRM solution can help companies like Medtronic by providing ways to monitor these pilot programs and hospitals. Greater visibility through real-time analytics is the key to identifying areas where costs need to be reduced and where cost reduction has been achieved. They then can use that data to put together more qualitative analytics and even a case study to prove the overall effectiveness.

“Once those pilots are successful, we intend to scale them across those systems and eventually do even broader market expansion,” Ishrak tells Going forward, Medtronic will assess economic value before spending money on products, he adds, a new approach that will require changing “the mindset and the thinking and the culture in the company.”

Source:, January 2013

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 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:?

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

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 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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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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