10 Tips for Connecting with Customers — Medical Device Product Launch Series

Posted by Michele Nichols on Fri, Oct 17, 2014

This month we've teamed up with the documentation experts at Novatek Communications to bring you a collection of information for medical product launch. Last week we shared our video on the changing medical device market. This week we revisit some of the emerging challenges and discuss the importance of effective customer engagement.  

Strategy Shift

MedicalDeviceProductLaunch_draft01Thanks to healthcare reform, the Sunshine Act, market consolidation, and slowing economic growth rates, many in the Medical Device market are reassessing their go-to-market and sales strategies. Major drivers include corporate consolidation, evolving delivery models, and new end customers.


1. Corporate consolidation and resulting cost reduction pressures

Private equity and larger corporations have viewed high-growth medical device companies as exceptional targets in the past decade. These acquisitions are spurring sales territory changes. Where there was once one salesperson per doctor, there’s now one per region. Less face-to-face time necessitates new ways to engage.

2. Changing customer delivery model

Delivery models that have changed human healthcare – flu shots given at work or the pharmacy, private practices selling to corporations – have expanded to veterinary medicine as well. From in-store pet vaccination clinics (e.g. VETCO at PETCO) to small practices selling to larger animal hospitals, the sales cycle has become more sophisticated. It now includes:

  • A buyer who cares less about individual sales relationships and product features and more about standardization, workflow, and ROI
  • Multiple decision makers
  • Shift to a consultative sales cycle

medical_pros3. Changing end customer

It’s challenging to “follow the money” in healthcare. As John Babbit of Ernst & Young says, “Now everyone’s the payer.” Whether your system is physician or hospital based, the end customer could be the individual, employer, health insurance company, or another party. Therefore establishing value is essential. The question today is not simply, “Is this technology better?” Babbit says; it’s, “Is this technology better and is it worth it?”

Customer engagement is critical to generating sales, and it is often the difference between product launches that succeed and those that don’t. The bigger the company, the more difficult customer engagement becomes. GE Healthcare admits, “Customer engagement was our biggest problem. Our teams weren’t close enough to the customer.” GE worked to change their innovation model for medical devices to address this problem, which resulted in a two-year acceleration in time-to-market.


10 Best Ways to Improve Your Customer Relationships

  1. Create a customer persona
  2. Conduct customer interviews 
  3. Change your customer survey model
  4. Host a VIP product preview 
  5. Follow up
  6. Be conscious 
  7. Form an Elite 100 of customers
  8. Go mobile 
  9. Get social
  10. Say thanks

Download our tip sheet to learn more about improving customer relationships.

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Topics: Business Insights, Product Launch, Client Relations, Medical Device, Marketing Strategy