Customer-centric MedTech: an evolving go-to-market model

by Mark Taylor

The MedTech industry has historically benefitted from strong brand equity and product identity that has enabled industry players to achieve high margins. But the commercial landscape is changing, and MedTech companies are now facing headwinds in the form of more complicated buying environments, the rise of digital, and increasing cost/ competitive pressure. How do MedTech companies need to evolve their go-to-market model to compete in this emerging commercial environment?

This evolving commercial landscape provides the imperative for a new way of doing business, fundamentally reorganising around the customer. For MedTech organisations, this means recognising that HCPs are now increasingly time poor, expect relevant information delivered across a range of channels, are going through more complex decision-making processes, and are KOL and peer influenced. They are also increasingly tech savvy, raising their expectations around digital interactions with MedTechs.

A new go-to-market approach

This changing customer environment demands a new go-to-market approach, one that is more customer-centric, more integrated, and more technologically-enabled. Customer-centricity can no longer just be a good intention, it’s now an operational imperative across all parts of the business. Legacy silos must be genuinely dissolved, with new levels of connectedness and collaboration across the business. This doesn’t mean totally doing away with functions, but rather it’s about figuring out how to connect them and collaborate to put the customer at the heart of everything. Finally, new technologies and closer data integration will be required to deliver relevance at scale and set customer-facing staff up for success. This is an opportunity for CRM and marketing automation platforms to add value.

What does the MedTech organisation of the future look like?

To succeed in this new environment, MedTech organisations need to make customer-centricity an operational imperative across all parts of the business. There are four key shifts to consider – value, personalisation, efficiency and experience.

1. Value

MedTech organisations need to shift away from being product led and focus more on customer needs. It’s a significant change given the industry has traditionally been very brand and product led, but an important one given product launches have become riskier due to more volatile product lifecycles and a shift to niche specialty markets. In the new buying environment, HCPs expect much more subject matter expertise rather than product expertise and are looking for information that expands their thinking and therefore the value of any interaction they have with a MedTech company.

2. Personalisation

The traditional sales model has seen HCPs get ‘sold to’. However, in the new world, the customer wants the process to feel much more about them and more personalised.

 3. Efficiency

HCPs used to have to wait for face-to-face or phone interactions in order to get questions answered. They now expect much more responsiveness and from MedTech companies, feeling it makes more efficient use of their time to be able to access the information they need whenever they want it.

 4. Experience

In the past, it was not uncommon for customers to have multiple touchpoints with a company, be it across different sales people or different channels. MedTech companies can differentiate themselves around the consistency and seamlessness of their customer experience across all interaction points.

Product led to customer led

What does the ‘Rep’ of the future look like?

When organisational change like this takes place, how are people’s roles going to change and what’s going to happen to the sales rep? Our view is that sales isn’t going anywhere – there is still clear value and need for high quality, face-to-face interactions - but sales must adapt to be relevant to today’s customer.

Sales will need to undergo some role purpose shifts. We’ve identified three characteristics sales should look to embrace in adapting to this new environment.

1. Be purposeful

Changing HCP preferences and more centralised decision dynamics have made it harder to deliver messages through a direct sales force. Sales reps need to therefore shift from the traditional ‘road warrior’ approach to becoming customer experts and advocates, sharing customer knowledge with the organisation. While reps have been accustomed to controlling the sales process, they now need to support the buying process. They also need to embrace digital technology as an enabler, leveraging it to support the customer journey and make it more personal. 

2. Be effective

Sales reps have tended to focus on knowing their products and solutions and on building strong relationships. The new environment calls for sales reps who can make the move to specialising in specific areas of thought leadership and who can hone in on really understanding value for the customer.

3. Be productive

Sales reps are often burdened by admin and CRM data entry. MedTech organisations need to look at how to absolve sales of low value tasks and ensure that technology drives value for reps and makes them more productive.

Road warrior to customer expert
Our view is that the role of the sales rep is going to change and shift and those who can make the switch will find it to be a powerful, valuable and rewarding role in this new commercial environment.

Mark will be speaking in more detail about customer-centric go-to-market models at the MedTech Commercial Leaders Forum Europe in Zurich, Switzerland on 20-21 February 2018. Download the agenda for more information.