Physician marketing can be a very helpful strategy for your company. It’s the concept of reaching the patient via the practice—patients are more likely to seek out and trust information from their physicians.
Successful physician marketing is a win for both the physician and your company, because patients get the information they need to make important health decisions. This helps physicians get more of the right patients, which in turn helps your company sell more medications and devices.
You need to be able to be able to pitch the concept to physicians to get them on board with the idea of marketing. That is where your sales force comes in. They are already in front of doctors to sell medical devices, and have developed a good relationship with physician clients over time.
However, it’s not enough to simply hand the sales managers a packet of information, send them on their way, and expect them salespeople to talk to physicians about marketing. Even if your sales force is on board with the idea, you haven’t empowered them with enough information to make the pitch effectively.
The sales force is already under a lot of pressure to meet sales quotas within specific periods of time. If you don’t make it easy for them to pitch marketing, many salespeople probably won’t bother. They aren’t making any money from it, so why should they take valuable time to pitch a concept they don’t even fully understand?
If you want to get your sales force on board with pitching marketing to physicians and empower them to do so effectively, follow these steps.
1. Show them how it strengthens relationships with physicians.
You have to “sell” the sales force on the benefits of physician marketing if you want them to pitch it to physicians. Although the salespeople don’t directly profit from convincing physicians to market themselves, it can help them to build trust with their clients. It shows clients that you care about the success of the practice, not just about making sales.
When salespeople can show that they understand marketing and can point physicians to a trusted marketing partner, physicians are also more likely to see them as a valuable resource, rather than someone trying to sell them something. This is how salespeople can strengthen their relationships with physicians.
While this might not immediately help salespeople make more sales, it may make the physician more likely to stick with your company over time, which creates more sales opportunities in the long run.
However, getting salespeople on board is just the first step. Salespeople aren’t marketers, and they don’t have time to learn all there is to know about marketing. You have to distill the information down to make it easy for them to pitch.
2. Distill the information down to the key points.
Salespeople don’t need to know all of the details about everything your marketing partner has to offer. They just need to know the basics so that they can tell physicians how your marketing partner can help. If you hand them all of the marketing information and they have to figure out how to pitch it, they will be less likely to pitch it to clients because you’re asking them to do too much extra work.
When it comes to the details of marketing a medical practice, your marketing partners are the best people to make that pitch, anyhow. The sales team just needs enough information to be able to get the conversation started. Those key points might include basic services offered, a starting price range, a link to the marketing partner’s website and offerings, and contact information. You might also throw in a couple of statistics to point out how marketing can be beneficial practices, but keep it simple.
Once you’ve got the key points nailed down with your marketing partner, you need to streamline the pitch process so that the sales team knows exactly what to say.
3. Streamline the pitch and handoff process to make it quick and easy.
Providing key points is very helpful in empowering the sales team to make the pitch, but you can take steps to streamline the process even further so that the sales reps know exactly what to say (and what not to say).
As you are probably well aware, there are certain legal and ethical boundaries that medical device and pharma companies need to stay within when discussing marketing with physicians. It is not appropriate for a sales rep to offer a discount or “deal” on marketing services—they are simply referring physicians to a marketing partner that can help.
The best way to help your sales force is to provide them with all the tools they need to pitch. Work with your marketing partner to develop a slide deck and a sell script so that sales managers can provide their teams with the right resources. Then, sales reps will be able to quickly rattle off the details, making it more likely that they will take the time to make the pitch. From there, make sure they have all the contact information needed to easily hand off the client to your marketing partner to get the process started.
The key is developing a pitch that is quick, easy, and makes the sales reps look good. If you make the pitch easy to deliver and it helps to build trust with physicians, sales reps will understand the benefit and make the pitch. Then, everyone wins.