8 Strategies to Maximize Virtual Sales
As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, the life sciences and healthcare sector face a dual challenge. The new normal requires the industry to carefully address the emerging needs of patients, pharmaceutical companies, and physicians. They must tackle the COVID-19 spread by developing vaccines and tests and deliver innovative diagnoses, solutions, and therapies.
Although it is too soon to evaluate the pandemic’s impact on drug launches, it is amply clear that the sales model and the methods traditionally used by healthcare professionals (HCPs) to interact with pharma companies need a complete overhaul.
Here are eight strategies to boost virtual sales in the healthcare industry during these unprecedented times:
1. Develop adaptable platforms
The conventional drug launch model relied heavily on face-to-face meetings with clinicians. However, the pandemic has drastically reduced physical interactions between HCPs and clinicians. HCPs must now adopt modern digital channels to fulfill communication and operational needs. To help them in this transformative period, sales professionals must quickly adapt to the prevailing reality.
According to a survey by Bain, 75% of physicians preferred in-person visits before the pandemic. Close to half of them now prefer virtual interactions or less-frequent in-person visits. Therefore, sales representatives must address this challenge and develop digitally personalized platforms to facilitate medical consultations.
Besides, the radical change in the sales environment has made existing marketing strategies redundant. Professionals must shift their focus to personalized content, innovative channels, and analytics-enabled engagement through the digital medium.
2. Use newer technologies
Even though some health organizations are slowly reopening, a seismic shift has already occurred in how sales processes are being conducted across the industry.
The older workflows have undergone a significant change in the pandemic’s wake. As representatives can no longer schedule in-person appointments, they must find creative ways to enable such interactions. Virtual demonstration of products and services has emerged as a helpful solution.
3. Stand out from the crowd
Virtual sales have become commonplace since the pandemic. It is therefore vital that representatives can present themselves as having adapted to innovative sales practices. To demonstrate this, sales personnel must deliver exceptional customer service and curate a helpful educational experience for decision-makers.
It’s also an opportunity for sales leaders to embrace a coach and a mentor’s role by guiding representatives through the new challenges and helping them acquire additional skills. The healthcare industry’s “new normal” is going through a dynamic shift, and sales professionals will have to learn new skills to leverage digital mediums.
4. Deliver value to the HCPs
Research data shows that medical knowledge in 1950 was doubling every 50 years. Groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs since then have meant that by 1980, it was doubling every seven years. It’s estimated that medical knowledge doubles every 73 days today. Physicians have to continually absorb heavy volumes of research data to keep up with the rapid progress. A report by Deloitte shows that 80% of patient facilities are running either at full capacity or stretched beyond available resources.
Therefore, every communication between the HCPs and decision-makers must be practical and resourceful. Your brand can stand out only when decision-makers see great value in your products and services.
5. Focus on asynchronous communication
Even though in-person sales are more effective, reps have to leverage new and innovative communication methods to reach clients during the pandemic. One such solution is asynchronous communication. It allows participants to respond or provide inputs in their own time. Although synchronous communication has apparent advantages, representatives can extract more sales opportunities and foster deeper client relationships with asynchronous interactions.
6. Stay relevant
As part of their initial response to the pandemic, most life science companies developed emergency sales plans. However, to stay relevant, they must constantly assess and analyze the feedback from sales representatives and customers to create effective solutions. Feedback and analysis play a key role in crafting a long-term virtual sales strategy.
The pandemic has also changed how customers and HCPs engage with sales professionals. To build a more strategically relevant relationship with your customers, you must seek regular feedback and provide unique, personalized solutions to their concerns.
7. Seek what HCPs want
Understanding customers’ core requirements is a unique challenge for sales representatives. When preparing for a sales engagement opportunity, they must gather the necessary information about the customer. An excellent way to do that is to explore current research and data in the HCP’s interest.
For example, reps should use specially designed tools to study reports or research papers shared by HCPs with the medical community. Such tools can help determine the customer’s current areas of interest and what solutions might best address them. It will help the sales representative artfully steer the conversation towards the desired sales goal and create an interesting space for further dialogue.
8. Build community rapport
A big part of success in virtual sales hinges on activities that happen before the first communication with an HCP. When sales representatives pursue sales objectives, they must build solid credibility in the HCP’s social and professional circle to leverage potent word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.
This approach is imperative as a client must be aware of the value sales professionals can bring to the table. According to a Gallup study, B2B sales can only win by building rapport rather than outright selling. For greater sales results, you must focus on creating win-win situations for all parties.
According to a study, most people rely on their gut instinct when making an important decision. When you carry this insight into the professional realm, it means focusing on words and ideas that encourage the client to develop a positive gut feeling about your product. To this end, sales reps must craft their sales message around the beneficial aspects of products and services that the client can quickly identify with.