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How to build and run a successful MedTech sales territory

I've been in MedTech for over 30 years. I've hired a lot of good sales professionals - I've built a lot of great sales professionals, and managed multiple sales and marketing businesses.


I'm going to share with you now - what I think are some of the killer things that I have seen from the "best of the best". The sales professionals that absolutely rock it year in and year out. These attributes below are in no particular order.




MedTech Sales professional
MedTech Sales professional

Dedicated planning

If there's one thing I've seen the best do in MedTech sales.. and the one thing I encourage everyone to do. It is create a genuine and solid plan for the territory.

I know people often put a "numbers" plan together. But I'm talking three year strategic plans. What is the mix of hospitals, what's the mix of customers. What's the goal for the territory. How will you leverage opinion leaders. What is the sequential order of accounts you need to get. etc etc.

Have you done a deep segmentation analysis of you customers, institutions, needs?

I mean to really build a true three year horizon strategic plan that aligns with your sales goals.

But then from that you can come back to a solid one year plan that is more tactical - and from that a truly tactical quarterly plan. But it all starts "Big picture" - with what you are trying to achieve on your territory. And that is NOT a sales number. The sales will follow a worthy goal.


"Treat X hundred patients with my device"

"Create the number one thought leader territory in the USA"

"Create four light house centres that drive local business"


It needs to be a bigger goal than sales - and then back that into it - test if that goal will achieve a big enough sales number. If not - set a bigger and grander goal.


I'd expect a plan to be at minimum a 20 page super detailed strategic mission for the next three years that describes in details: The What - The Why - The How. And I'd expect that plan to hold up for 12 months before it needs a significant change. The best don't flip flop.


The biggest mistake you can make is week number 1 on your new territory - hit the road running to go see all the contacts you knew from the past and just "Show up and Throw up." PLAN!!Even if it takes you two weeks - get a solid plan. The best have a plan that I can read. That they follow every day.


Sticking to the plan

And now you have that killer plan. It's time to reduce that strategy to quarterly tactics. Actionable events that drive your business. Calls, meetings, demos, case attendance. Broken by users, buyers and admins. All locked into the diary for about the next three months. Systematic and planned. Step by step.


But then you need to stick to the damned plan.

Way too often people have plans that fall to pieces the moment Monday rolls around. Too many times it's raining in the East and sunny in the West -- so let's drive to the sun.

You get call after call of "can you just do this?"

"Can you jump on this quick team call?"

"Can you just take this product to there?"


NO! You need to be disciplined, and so do your colleagues, and managers.

Nothing will derail a plan more than everything coming in as "Urgent." If everything is urgent... then nothing is urgent - it's all just business as usual.

You have to triage. And if you learn the power of NO. If a customer needs kit and you have to jump in - then once a quarter that is fine. But every week?

If that happens a few times a week - then it means you are not managing your customers and their behaviour properly. You are becoming their "Go get me this" and not being treated as a professional. It means you are not as a peer to your customers. And if you always drop into that "Okay I'll do it so you love me." The respect is gone.


Instead you have to say "No" and educate the customers so that everything is not urgent.

It helps you but it also helps them. Stop being their super hero - be their colleague.


Using a CRM for MedTech sales

I know this is the pain of most sales professional's life. "Use Salesforce!!!"

But honestly - I can't stress this enough. If you build and run your plan through a CRM. Use it properly for planning - organising - follow up. If you are disciplined about this - you will absolutely get so much out of this. The best do it well.


When you have the tactical quarterly plan - you should be able to almost fill that quarter with tasks in sequence - that way you quarter is planned to match your tactical plan - which rolls up to your strategic plan. Get that plan in the CRM for months in advance.

Having excellent sheets, or hand written note books !!! really?!

If you do this right - learn to pull off the reports (way easier than you think) you can start to plan - execute, and importantly, ANALYSE you business. Get insights - adjust and make amazing gains quickly.

If you still think you can keep all this in your head, do it all by email, keep it all in your diary - then you are delusional.

Use a CRM and use it well - not as a contact book.


Putting customers first - Service orientation

So now in those tactics you need to put the customer first - not your manager and not your commission cheque. If you delight your customers (customers that have been well stratified, assessed and tasked correctly) - then your business will follow.

It's not about being a sycophant to your customers - it's about understanding their pain. Strategising with them on how your offering can (and sometimes cannot) eliminate that pain point.

Respect your customers by building a joint plan WITH them. Getting that plan in writing - and getting them to sign up to that long term plan. Just dipping in and out on random sales calls when you feel "it's their turn again" is both disrespectful and borderline amateur.


The number one line if you can't help them, or they just don't want your help... "Thank you - I can't help you. Do you know two or three people that I could maybe help? Would you introduce them to me?"

Too many sales professionals think that "beating on the door until eventually the customer submits" is a badge to be proud of. No! It means you didn't do enough diligence and stratification to understand if they are the right customer. You will burn more time trying to die on that hill than could be spent helping customers that actually need or want your help. Admit they are not a customer for now - and quickly move on. Reassess later.

That is how you put the customer first - even those that don't want to buy from you.


Focused

Too many sales professionals think they are focused when they are not. Too often they get distracted by "sudden opportunity" and that'll divert them from the tasks in hand - the plan that was agreed - the strategic direction. You cannot imagine how many times I have co-travelled with sales people that take me on calls that were never planned for in the quarter. Never sequenced. Never researched and stratified.

"The doc called me Friday and asked me to pop in Monday. We're just gonna swing by."


Firstly, if you are free on the Monday after being called on the Friday - you don't have a full diary and a plan.

Next... if you drop everything for that "hit n hope" call on the Monday. You don't have a plan - you don't stick to your plan and you are blowing with the wind.

"No problem. I will drop in first thing Monday morning..." What a way to say. I'm not busy. I don't plan. No one is filling up my diary. I'm desperate.

No matter who the customer is - ask for some time to prepare and understand better how to help. How do they fit into the bigger plan - or do they??? (You're focused on upper GI this quarter as it is critical to get a beach head. Monday morning you're calling on the Gyn that phones you Friday. Really?


Stay focused on the plan - if GYN is not in that quarter - then maybe you should say "Can I get some info. I'm pretty slammed and would like to schedule in four weeks (pick a number) so that I can be prepared properly and come and be able to answer your needs."


If your focus that month is supporting OR cases - that should be your focus. Ramming a few Starbucks meetings in early morning to see some hot prospects. Is not focus - is nor professional. It's hit n hope.

Having early discovery days planned in... in a focused way - try and see them in one of those slots when early discovery is your focus - not case support.


Stay focused. Stay on plan.


Systematic approach - Follow the steps

I cannot describe how many times I see sales professionals with "no system." In 2024 the entire sales process is a highly targeted - highly run sales funnel process. Each step is built out - with the emails, the calls, the follow up, the demo, the purchaser meetings, the VAC team etc etc etc.

Your sales funnel has a fixed process - if you know it or not.

It is not a set of random events that turn into a sale. THE best run a super disciplined sales funnel. It is the same steps repeated time and time again in a military fashion. Step 1 - tick. Step 2 - Tick - step 3 fail - plan B step 3 - Tick


If you don't have a system - get one. If your CRM doesn't have a system - get one.

Sit down for a few days to work out the logical steps that must happen to go from discovering a lead to closing a call. There will be a system. It may wiggle a bit by customer - but the path will be there. Map out the steps on that path - document them - follow them and tick tick tick them off.

Random steps that are just driven through by your charm and obstinance is not sustainable - and not a winning strategy.


Get a systematic approach - lay out the steps - follow them - close - rinse and repeat.


Born sales person

I can't help you too much here. The best of the best of the best. They are just natural born sales professionals. They have a "way" with the customer. People want them to "sell to them" because they enjoy the interaction.

The born sales person is hyper inquisitive and asks- asks - asks - they don't show up and throw up. Through curiosity they get to the nub of the problem of the client - and then work out if they can help. If not, they fess up. If they can - they move into a solutions finding mode par excellence. It's natural and it's normal.

They talk in stories.

They paint the future.

They take customers on a journey with them.

Customers love to be with them.


Some people are just natural born sales people! Period.


Practiced at the pitch

The best of the best all have one thing in common. When they pitch the solution - when they talk the product - when they describe the procedure - the pitch is flawless.

It's a cohesive journey story that touches right on the points where the client feels pain. Not every single F&B of the product. It's a connected pitch that acknowledges the pain point and applies the Bandaid.

It's poetry to watch a great sales professional talk to clients. You can see the clients have eyes like saucers. The pitch is credible - accurate and meaningful to the customer. It resonates with them.


But it's not an accident. The best of the best have practiced and practiced these pitches. In role plays - in the mirror - in their head in the car - with customers. Refining it and refining it. Making it a part of them.


If you want to succeed - practice and practice - and practice and practice your pitch. Make every word count - and learn how to deliver the pitch in the most compelling and honest way possible. make it a memorable story.


Expert at the level of the client and know the product

Finally. When a customer respects you as a peer. That is when you are no longer selling... you're advising. And an advised purchase is way more lasting than a forced purchase.


The best of the best I've ever seen can tell you what the screws are made of, or where the plastic comes from in a device. There is no dimension, or weight, or strength that they do not know. For their product and every competing product.

They know more about that product than the engineers that built it. Because they are insanely curious. That level of knowledge is gold to a customer.


The best of the best could actually do the intervention - perhaps better than many clinicians. They have studied their art - lived in the clinical arena - they understand where the product fits into the procedure and the world of the customer. Why? Because customers do not think in product - they think in procedures. Know your procedures - and surrounding procedures and be a resource of knowledge. Speak at an eye to eye level with clinicians about procedure intricacies. Speak to purchasers about the financing around the procedures and the wider impact on the economics of the institution. Speak to C-suite about the issues your product solves for their procedures and the overspill impact that will have system wide.


The best of the best are as knowledgeable as their customers in all facets of "The business", and can bring good counsel and advice to relieve the pain points the customers are suffering.


Go and be the best of the best...



This is an educational piece and for education purposes only - get more advice at www.howtostartupinmedtech.com


Want to book some of my time for a 1:1 consultation and go deeper into the topic - head over to my Advisor page and book some of my time now








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