With the onset of COVID-19 last year, a massive transition to virtual operations was experienced in companies around the world. Online customer interactions jumped to 58%, up 22% from pre-pandemic numbers. Not excluded from this trend is the medical device industry, a field historically rooted in in-person product sales, training, and support. Almost overnight, hospitals closed their doors to reps; MedTech representatives, accustomed to face-to-face meetings with physicians, were forced to quickly adapt to the virtualization of hospital interactions.
The digital transition was not easy for most MedTech companies. Many lacked the infrastructure and processes necessary for online communications. Sales representatives were primarily trained for on-site pitches. In many instances, product sales resorted to reactive approaches, where hospitals came to manufacturers with device inquiries, often resulting in simple reactivation of existing contracts. Without traveling to hospitals to demonstrate products to physicians, representatives lost the opportunity to advocate for new devices and educate new customers.
Following the wake of the pandemic, however, medical device sales should not be expected to return to normal. In fact, 60% of surgeons believe the virtual sales environment is here to stay. Hospitals enjoyed the oversight of communication and, in some instances, cost reduction due to limited in-person meetings. In addition, physician preferences shifted, as over 60% of physicians now favor online communication with representatives. As a result, MedTech companies will have no choice but to further adapt new sales strategies.
If done correctly, virtualization of the industry could prove to be greatly beneficial for manufacturers, with decreased expenses on in-person visits leading to a more expansive and innovative product portfolio. For manufacturers, the potential for greater marketing awareness and sales operations management with fewer wasted resources could be consequential. For representatives, more direct access to stakeholders for product education via virtual channels would allow product advocacy without being dependent on in-person physician access following a period of devastating sales disruption.
Ultimately, navigating virtual sales will require proactive strategy matched with digital tools to help accelerate new product adoption. GreenLight Medical partners with innovative MedTech companies by connecting a wide range of hospitals to medical device manufacturers around the country through their cloud-based portal. Companies can now provide product information, benefits, and pricing to hospitals without the need for arranging in-person meetings or relying on physicians’ schedules.
COVID-19 has permanently impacted the medical device industry. The virtual environment has been introduced to the scene, and as this new reality continues to play a primary role in hospital transactions, GreenLight Medical will be on the forefront of connecting hospitals and manufacturers in a streamlined method that benefits manufacturers, clinicians, and patients. To learn more, request access here.
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Zhu, J., Maul, R., & Sachse, E. (2020, May 1). Virtual Sales Could be Here to Stay…is Medtech Ready? Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/blog/health-care-blog/2020/virtual-sales.html.