[Target Pipeline is a CRM with a particular focus on the healthcare industry. While KBK Communications is not in a position of endorsing one CRM platform over another, we appreciate having Ben Saur, founder of Target Pipeline share with us his thoughts on this topic.]
The healthcare landscape is changing faster than at any point in history. The new dynamics of the Affordable Care Act combined with IDN (Integrated Delivery Network) consolidation, expansion of Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs), and the proliferation of mobile technology are causing medical device sales leaders to re-evaluate and change their sales strategy. Organizations are realizing that in today’s Amazon culture, people want information instantly and product delivered in two days. This blog will outline some of the trends in the CRM space specifically focusing on the Medical Device Sales industry
Effective mobile CRM solution
As the rate of smartphone adoption in the United States reaches 68% of the adult population, CRMs have had to leave the confines of the laptop and desktop computer. Most of the large CRM providers now have a mobile component; however, not all of the solutions are effective to meet the precise use-case for a specific type of mobile worker or customer interaction. A scaled-down version of the desktop site is neither functional nor practical when browsing on a mobile device. Sales personnel need to be able to access the full features of a CRM quickly and easily from a mobile device or platform. Each sales organization and industry functions differently. In order to be highly efficient on a mobile CRM, the interface must be customized to fit the specific needs of the business. A one-size-fits-all approach will lead to lost opportunities and sales because sales personnel will not be as efficient. Companies need to focus on finding a CRM that is customized to their particular industry in order to meet the needs of their sales force.
CRM systems have largely evolved independently of other enterprise systems such as ERP, lead generation, sales forecasting, and business intelligence. But with more and more data being required for customer analysis, and the repercussions of error rippling across the organization, CRMs can no longer stand alone. In order for a company to fully harness the data within a CRM, information needs to be shared in real-time, so that all stakeholders are able to understand the landscape. The sales force needs to have real-time supply chain information to fulfill customer expectations and the operations team needs to have sales funnel data to better predict and react to changing demand. As the market for CRM continues to mature, companies will need to recognize that ROI from CRM won’t come from CRM alone; they must tie all their solutions together and arm their sales teams with the best coaching, content, and context possible.
The move to include business systems transaction data and mobile apps data tend to overwhelm existing CRM systems. Modern CRMs need to be able to store more data and give users the ability to quickly analyze and act on insights and identified trends. With so many different channels, businesses need their CRM systems to track all of this data -- every engagement across every channel -- quickly and easily. Many today are shooting in the dark, trying to piece together which combinations of data to use in segmentation, lead scoring and other automation tools to drive better results for their business. Some CRM systems are starting to create advanced analytics and data visualization tools that let users view data in meaningful ways. This allows users to search and identify patterns within complex data in a matter of minutes without any data analytics background. Some of these systems take it to the next level and provide the advanced analytics and visuals tools in a mobile format. This puts the data in the hands of sales reps in the field and makes decision making faster and more informed.
Medical Device Industry
The medical device industry provides several unique challenges for a CRM solution to handle. Most modern CRMs are set up to recognize individual companies and the personnel that work at each company. With Group Purchasing Organizations, IDNs, Group Buying Alliances and distributors, multiple layers are added on top of the basic CRM data structure. Ideally, a CRM system would not only allow the relationships to be created by users in the systems, but outside data could be atomically fed into the system to map out the entire current ecosystem of potential buyers and affiliations in the marketplace. Instead of creating each new opportunity from scratch in the system, the CRM would already be populated with data from existing 3rd party services.
Independent Rep Data Sharing
Many manufacturing companies in the industry use independent sales reps as their primary sales force. While outsourcing sales has many benefits, one major drawback is the loss of timely sales funnel data to make accurate forecasts on demand. As customers demand shorter lead times and manufacturers have moved to just-in-time inventory systems, the lack of data puts a major strain on the supply chain. Modern CRMs offer the ability to share data in real-time through the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which allow software systems to communicate and share data. Sales data and opportunities are shared between systems as changes occur, instead of manually sharing reports on a set time basis. The future of CRMs will be a shared platform where manufacturers and independent sales reps will be able to access and share data seamlessly. This access will allow companies to integrate many systems into one tool that creates analysis and actionable data for both the sales force and the manufacturer.
Overall, the CRM marketplace is moving towards smarter, integrated mobility optimized software solutions. It is more important than ever for sales professionals to have the ability to get the information that they need while in the field. A CRM must be optimized to fit the specific industry and process each company employs, in order to gain maximum efficiencies that the technology enables. The marketplace is rapidly evolving and a chosen CRM must be able to adapt to a company’s ever-changing needs.
[Guest Blog Disclaimer: The ideas presented and any claims made by the author are strictly those of the author. KBK Communications hereby denies any legal responsibility for any claims, confidences or offers contained therein.]