The wonderful world of the “rock-star” medical device sales rep is in danger of becoming extinct. For those of you still knee-deep in the industry and in a current state of denial, please bear with me as I share with you your demise. Some of you are probably waiting around for the next “hot thing” or that start-up paying big $ and promising you that they are going IPO. In the interim, you are at your third company in the last five years walking a round like a zombie from hospital to hospital because you know that this ship is taking water too. You have either just left another National Sales Meeting (NSM) or are headed to one and know full well that it will be a waste of 3-4 days of your life because you are totally disengaged. I bet you are real excited to hear another round of marketing presentations by some folks that have little clue as to what actually happens in the real world. I forgot about the drink tickets that they now give out too to avoid any mishaps like last years disaster at (NSM). Wake up call !! Lets focus a minute on your current reality.
Hospitals do not want your kind in their facilities anymore. You are probably wondering what “your kind” is but you know that sales rep who walks around the hospital like they actually work there. The kind of sales rep who actually starts to believe that they are as critical to the success of their surgeons’ cases as the actual surgeon. That sales rep who wears scrubs to and from the hospital and down deep starts to believe that they actually add value in the operating room by merely standing in the back of the room. The sales rep who feels the need to share their knowledge with the rest of the sales force as to what it takes to make it happen on a consistent basis without even being asked. Really? You know that sales rep that is paraded around like a show horse because they have figured out the secret sauce (according to sales management) to making their # quarter after quarter, year after year etc.,. Come on everyone; just do it like him! Do you happen to work with anyone who fits this description? I bet you do. The truth hurts sometimes but sunshine is often the best disinfectant. Your world has changed and you just don’t see it. In some ways, you are not that much different from a vampire who hides in a coffin to avoid the realities of the world.
Most hospitals now understand that the quickest way to control cost is to limit your availability to their physicians. Now what? The thought of spending time in offices is beyond comprehension. I mean seriously, I am a medical device sales rep. The days of hanging around Operating Room (OR) lounges, walking from room to room, scrub sink cold calls and literally camping out all day in an (OR) are long gone. Instead, you have now have RepTrax, Vendormate, Vendor Clear and a host of other monitoring systems to keep an eye on you every time you arrive and depart their facility. Ouch! Awfully, difficult to cold call on the new surgeon who is busy and using the competitive product, isn’t it? This coupled with pricing pressures, competition, commoditization, compliance etc…. it certainly is not like the good ole days.
I know that sounds harsh but if you really think about it for a few minutes, you know that I may be on to something. Now what? You can certainly hop from company to company hoping that one of them will be a home run if their stock price goes through the roof. I am not sure that is a viable strategy but HOPE can certainly cloud ones judgment. Do yourself a favor and buckle your seat belts because your ride is going to be a bumpy one unless you change. What’s next? Stay tuned!
By Devin Hughes