It may be an uncomfortable reality, but artificial intelligence isn’t going anywhere. The nature of work is changing and it’s time to look at how we can leverage AI in our work rather than hiding from it. More specifically, how will industries like medical device sales, which are heavily reliant on in-person connection, take advantage of these emerging tools? Sure, AI won’t replace the human, but medical device sales teams can still leverage AI automation to streamline their processes and improve overall efficiency. Below are some of ways AI can be applied in this context:
Lead Prioritization and Scoring:
Traditionally, researching sales leads and identifying appropriate targets takes a lot of work and sometimes it can feel like you’re missing key ingredients. Whether you don’t have the tribal knowledge or vast personal networks to connect with, you’re just not finding the right leads for your product? Enter A.I.
AI can be your personal research assistant, going through tons of data to find potential customers for your specific medical devices. Just think of the power in analyzing a hospital’s purchasing history, market trends, and typical budget spends, at blinding speeds.
Now, here’s the cool part – AI doesn’t stop there. It can use lead scoring to figure out which potential customers are the hottest (that is, most likely to buy based on a range of additional factors). That way, sales teams can put their energy into the ones most likely to say, “Yes, I want that awesome medical device!”
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration:
One major knowledge gap in healthcare sales is the information stored about the customer. Traditionally, the relationship with the surgeon and the management of the healthcare facility account is the responsibility of the distributor or sales rep who lands the account. This has worked well in the past, but its also allowed much of the important information about the customer to stay “in the field” as tribal knowledge, known only to a few. To be sure, distribution teams are adept at learning about their customer and applying their knowledge to support the customer, the patient, and the sale, but this information does not always travel upstream where it could also be put to good use.
Increasingly, with the rise of customer-focused service, it’s not just one person supporting the customer anymore. Information about surgeon preference, challenges at the facility, or particular operational requirements are important for the logistics, customer service, and operations teams to have in order to support the distributor and improve the customer experience.
AI-powered CRM systems can automate data entry and analysis, enabling capture and storage of this information so it can be shared among the team without burdening the sales team with even more manual tasks. AI can take this a step further, using the CRM data for predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs, suggest appropriate products or services, enhance the overall customer experience, and help the distribution teams to upsell.
Another reality in medical device sales is the administrative work required to keep the wheels turning behind the scenes. Similar to the issue we mentioned in the last section of collecting customer insights, there is a lot of work that goes into getting a contract prepared and approved, setting up a customer in billing systems, managing case schedules and coverage, forecasting and organizing inventory, preparing sales orders, tracking commissions, and so on. It would be great if sales teams could just focus on selling. Until now, these aspects of the job have remained an unavoidable reality for most sales teams.
AI-powered Virtual Assistants may now provide a reprieve from the administrative burden for distributors and sales teams.
Virtual assistants can be employed to connect disparate data systems, expedite data entry with dictation, keep track of tasks and reminders, automate internal workflow hand-offs, and many other organizational tasks. Virtual assistants can even go the extra mile in analyzing customer and market data to identify and score leads to support and direct the sales team’s efforts. Some virtual assistants can even handle basic customer interactions like fielding customer questions and issues, directing the customers to resources, or staging them for the proper support.
So what does it all mean?
Artificial intelligence has been a buzzword on the horizon for years. It is only in the past 18 months that AI has become a ubiquitous part of everyday life. With this mass accessibility we, in virtually every industry, are faced with understanding how our lives will change as a result. And while change is not always comfortable, we believe AI is enabling a massive shift in the way (and speed at which) we work.
Instead of fearing the rise of new AI-enabled tools and rejecting this new shift, we think it is important to consider how it could be incorporated into your day-to-day. Perhaps the real risk is not waking up to the opportunity AI offers to sales teams, and getting left behind as the industry adapts to more efficient ways of operating.
Stay curious and keep thinking about “what’s next?” And keep tuning in as we peel back the layers of possibility for AI in medical device sales in our upcoming posts 😉