The world of medical device sales is being turned on its head by policy changes and the growth of big medicine. Sales reps and device innovators can pivot their strategy and still be successful if they properly identify stakeholders and adapt their value proposition.
Only a few years ago, a medical device sales representative ("rep") could establish a relationship with a clinician, convince this provider of a new product's clinical benefit, and close a sale. These days, throughout the medtech industry, we often hear horror stories of hospital systems taking purchasing decisions away from clinicians, large group purchasing organizations (GPOs) stifling innovation, and physician-owned distributors trying to replace sales reps. What in the heck is going on with medtech sales?
Two years ago, I had an opportunity to find out when I jumped from R&D into sales at a small, market-development-stage medtech start-up. I transitioned roles because I thought it was where I could benefit my company most and believed understanding sales would benefit my future product development work. In sales, I discovered a world that was being turned on its head. This is best explained in by a story that started with a request I received last January from a high-level procurement officer at a large hospital system.