Most chiropractors believe that vertebral misalignment can be the cause of many health related issues and can decrease the ability of the body to function effectively across many different bodily systems. If we consider each sales competency as a vertebra in the spine of a sales organization, the same can be said for a sales competency model that is misaligned with the needs of the market. Misaligned sales competencies can impact multiple areas of an organization including talent development, hiring, and performance management. This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of the sales team and the inability to achieve organizational goals.
So what can cause a vertebral misalignment? Typical causes usually involve some type of trauma or stress. Again, similarities can be drawn. The changes to the healthcare market brought about by the Affordable Care Act forced a change to both the business and practice models of those who make buying decisions in healthcare. This created a metaphorical body blow to all healthcare sales organizations by changing the customer’s definition of value and their expectations of sales representatives. This traumatic blow to the system caused a misalignment of the sales competency vertebrae needed to be successful in today’s marketplace.
Before, sales organizations were successful using short-term, product-focused tactics based on a predominance of individual decision makers. Now customers have a new set of expectations. They want representatives to deliver patient-centric, evidence-based solutions that address critical clinical and/or business issues for the whole organization. Additionally, there are new stakeholders that must be considered. To influence buying decisions today, sales organizations must have the capability to work collaboratively with buying committees that typically include both clinical and administrative influencers.
So sales leaders need to employ the chiropractic services of their L&D team to realign the competencies and restore the sales body to its optimum performance level.
To align with the needs of today’s healthcare stakeholders, the competency vertebrae that are typically in need of adjustment are:
- Account management
- Clinical selling
- Healthcare business acumen
All one really needs to do is look at the reasons behind the body blow to see why these key areas are out of alignment and need some adjustment.
The era of the independent physician with great autonomy is giving way to widespread physician employment. A recent statistic shows that up to 60% of physician group practices are owned by integrated delivery networks (IDN) of some kind. This business model means centralized, multi-stakeholder decision-making. This trend prompted a recent article in Pharmaceutical Executive titled, When Care Models Collide, in which the author stated, “In order to successfully segment and engage customers, strategic account management capabilities need to be embedded throughout the organization. This should be accompanied by restructuring sales models to enable selling in a more complex environment.” Sales representatives must have the ability to sell collaboratively in a complex environment where they understand the stakeholders and their individual value drivers. Without account management capabilities, representatives may miss critical steps in the sales process that result in lower than expected results.
Many of today’s regulatory changes are focused on the use of evidence-based medicine (EBM). This rationale is to provide consistent disease treatment resulting in better patient outcomes and decreased cost of care. To embed EBM skills in newly trained physicians, regulators now require medical schools to teach five levels of competency in EBM. Physicians are now taught how to critically appraise clinical data to look for bias, statistical significance, and clinical relevance. As a result, this approach is influencing physicians’ expectations of sales representatives. Research shows that EBM holds the strongest customer buying influence and over 90% of physicians want reps to make more use of clinical studies and EBM in their conversations with sales representatives.
The clinical selling skills needed to align with the expectations of clinical buyers require an understanding of the principles of evidence-based medicine. This enables representatives to have a consultative dialogue that links key clinical findings to brand specific clinical or organizational solutions using the language of the HCP.
Healthcare Business Acumen
With the advent of multi-stakeholder decision making, representatives must have an understanding of the clinical and business sides of the buying equation. In the morning, they may be speaking to a clinical influencer while in the afternoon, they may be speaking to a business administrator that sits on the value analysis committee. Both individuals have different value drivers and both have an influence on clinical decisions. Representatives must be able to demonstrate the value of their product to both. That means they need an understanding of IDN business strategies, outcome metrics, and healthcare incentive management in order to demonstrate the impact of their product on the value drivers of each stakeholder in the buying process.
Based on market research, these are most likely competencies to be out of alignment. Like many patients, there are those reading this and thinking “my sales organization is fine” or “I am sure I would know if any of these were out of alignment”. In reality, they are ignoring the subtle symptoms of misalignment. Things like decreasing stakeholder access, weakening market share, stagnant sales, or less than stellar product launch performance. For those skeptical patients, these are good areas to begin the alignment process.
If we take a lesson from the healthiest patients (i.e. best in class companies) we see they are working hard to mitigate the impact of misaligned competencies by leveraging advanced data analytics. This enables organizations to determine which specific competencies drive their business results. Once understood, the organization can leverage the data to ensure a strong corporate spine that is aligned with key business drivers. That spine allows for strong attachment points for talent development, hiring, and performance management. The result is a healthy patient that achieves their goals.
For additional information on key drivers of sales success in today’s Healthcare market, download our white paper titled “Five Best Practices for Sales Success” here.
If your organization is ready to align your sales talent with the market and maximize effectiveness, we can help. Contact us for a complimentary consultation at +1 (704) 227-6500, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.