This article offers wound care providers advice from their fellow clinicians about appropriate relationship building with vendors and sales reps. Can you help marketing and advertising folks improve their methods in your clinic by addressing these types of mistakes with them and sharing some important tips?
Through years of experience in managing advanced wound care centers and in advising industry investors, device manufacturers, and services firms, this author has had what seems like countless opportunities to be on both sides of the sales and marketing activities that occur in the outpatient wound clinic. Sometimes, that experience has been on the buying side of wound care — deciding which dressings, offloading devices, allografts, negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), and other consumable and capital medical devices to budget for and purchase, including while serving as director at a leading management company in the United States. At other times, that experience has been gained through involvement on the selling side — assessing and negotiating with medical distributors,1 facilitating a business war-gaming workshop for a new wound care product launch in the U.S.,2 or training wound care and regenerative medicine sales and marketing professionals on how to drive product adoption and usage from the customer’s perspective.3 In both situations, one prevailing question continuously resurfaces: “Why are so many intelligent, sharp, knowledgeable, and articulate wound care and regenerative medicine professionals unable to gain customer trust and drive product adoption and usage?” In response to the search for an answer, this article will offer a compilation of this author’s personal experiences, including information gathered through speaking with colleagues and industry professionals. As it turns out, there are many individuals throughout the wound care industry who are also interested in this information. What follows are ten of the most common and devastating mistakes made by some of these professionals (and ways to avoid them).
1. “Showing Up and Throwing Up” (Instead of Asking Questions)
This isn’t in regards to the representative running into the bathroom and vomiting during a product in-service (though that does happen on occasion). “Show up and throw up” is a behavior most sales and clinical education professionals are guilty of at some point, especially when in a new role or after in-depth product training. Often due to nervousness, or simply being eager to demonstrate newly acquired knowledge, a sales rep (and often the manager) will arrive for a meeting, blurt out a quick introduction, then launch into a rapid-fire barrage of product features and technical specifications, regardless of the audience. “Asking nurses and doctors questions, rather than lecturing them about your product or what to do, is key,” says “Isaac” (all names have been changed in this article), clinical nurse manager at a leading outpatient wound clinic in the Mid-Atlantic U.S.
A sales professional fresh out of an intense week of training is likely to want to talk about how his/her company’s antimicrobial foam line has more silver molecules or absorbency than the competition, or that one’s tissue-based product has a higher percentage of living cells or a thicker extracellular matrix. It’s understandable behavior, but it’s ineffective. Rather, establishing a relationship and learning the audience’s pain points by asking questions will yield greater success. “Ron,” a mentor, sales executive, and senior vice president of business development for a leading wound care services firm, quotes one of his favorite sales analogies: “Questions to the sales professional are like a scalpel to the surgeon. It’s the primary tool for doing your job well.” Asking the appropriate, probing questions will both effectively build rapport and help determine which products and their features will solve real problems for clients.
2. Not Understanding a Facility’s Clinical Quality, Operational, & Other Metrics
All products being sold probably solve one or more real wound care problems. Adhesion, elasticity, wicking, and fluid retention are all examples of important characteristics of wound care products. But of equal importance, can the rep competently carry on a discussion with customers about the key clinical and operational metrics and goals that products supposedly help achieve? Can every wound care product manager, account executive, clinical specialist, and executive on staff answer (or know how to find out) the following questions that directly affect customers’ clinical and operational goals and challenges?
- What are the most common wound etiologies treated by customers, and which ones present the greatest challenges (and why)?
- Does the rep know how to define key clinical metrics such as median days to heal, outliers, and others (which can vary across management approaches and care sites) that stakeholders are evaluated on?
- Does the rep understand clients’ key operational metrics, such as staffing and patient ratios, cancellation rates, average supplies per encounter, and clinical flow metrics? (Also, see Mistake No. 3.)
While an effective NPWT product manager or allograft account executive does not need to know all of these points for each customer, a big mistake that many make is not attempting to learn more about them when planning or discussing. Strategically, corporate executives can use this knowledge to drive future direction of their research and development efforts and product portfolios. Tactically, field-based professionals can use it as a tool to gain customer trust and to select which of their products’ features to focus on. Unfortunately, most employees at all levels of most wound care and regenerative medicine firms are unable to articulate these critical considerations, much less incorporate them into their daily sales, marketing strategies, and clinical education activities.
3. Not Knowing & Adapting to Clinical “Flow”
When it comes to wound care clinical flow, it’s OK if a wound care salesperson is not a Six Sigma Master Black Belt workflow optimization expert. What is a problem, is if he or she clearly doesn’t care about the clinical flow or disregards how he or she impacts it. Every patient care setting has a “flow.” This is particularly important in the outpatient setting. Some flows are rigid, some are flexible, and some are a total mess. Regardless, astute and effective wound care executives have a basic understanding of clinical flow considerations and psychology. They leverage it to both improve the relationships they have with their customers as well as to optimize their own schedules by reducing the amount of time they spend idly waiting. In well-managed centers, the flow may be more formalized and will often adapt to patient volumes, physical layout of the unit, mannerisms and approaches of the providers scheduled, and skill mix of clinicians and providers. Various clinical flow methodologies exist, such as “The Case Manager Model,” “Nurse 1, 2, 3,” and several others. Isaac has even invented “The Hybrid Model,” which combines best practice clinical flow principles and was adopted by several top wound care clinics. Some related examples of poor choices include:
- Showing up to the clinic on a busy day with no appointment (or not offering to reschedule for a less busy day if you show up and the flow is running behind).
- Assuming that spontaneously bringing donuts makes it OK to grab the physician for a spontaneous 20-minute sales pitch. (The cost of paying the salaries of 10 clinicians and administrators to wait while the rep schmoozes is enough to put a down payment on a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise.)
- Similarly, if the nurse case manager has to pay his or her child’s preschool a “late pickup fee” because of that 20-minute delay the rep caused, he/she is not going to be that rep’s biggest advocate, to say the least.
- Likewise, if that nurse case manager gives the program director a letter of resignation because he/she is unable to consistently pick up the child on time due to the rep throwing off the clinical flow, there will likely be even bigger problems.
Clinical flow is not rocket science. But it’s another area in which a little bit of preparation and mindfulness can go a long way. The most successful wound care reps not only avoid uncomfortable clinical flow situations, they also find ways to show respect for the flow, and even augment it, which, when combined with other best practices, subconsciously (though not officially, of course) makes them almost part of the wound care team. When training wound care sales reps, managers, and clinical specialists, consider clinical-flow best practices and encourage participants to share their insights, which can lead to productive discussions and sharing of approaches. Lack of training on wound care clinical flow and how to leverage it into real-world sales and marketing success is another huge mistake made by many sales and marketing professionals working in this space.
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4. Demonstrating a Lack of Knowledge of (or Disregard for) Wound Care Finances, Purchasing, & Other Operational or Administrative Considerations.
Ambitious wound care sales and marketing professionals demonstrate a command of the financial impact of their products or services, yet also confidently ask the right questions to ensure they are discussing relevant topics with the different stakeholders involved. This means being able to dive deeper than the words, “It’s reimbursable.” This is possibly one of the biggest missed opportunities for wound care device and services sales growth. Ironically, it’s also one of the easiest mistakes to overcome. A wound dressing product manager need not recite all of the reimbursable indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, nor would a total contact casting (TCC) clinical educator attend a budget-planning meeting with the hospital’s chief financial officer. However, wound care professionals, from field reps and specialists through the executive leadership level, should have a basic command of the drivers for revenues and expenses specific to each calling point (eg, inpatient, outpatient, skilled nursing, home health). Let’s now look at another real-world scenario of a missed opportunity, this time involving a high-level regenerative medicine executive who failed to apply practical financial considerations in his sales discussion:
Several years ago, when this author worked in a wound clinic operated by a management company, staff would attend quarterly business meetings for leadership throughout the zone to share strategies, challenges, successes, and to be held accountable for any shortcomings. As was usually the case, a product vendor (in this case the firm was selling a human dermal substitute) sponsored the dinner portion of the meeting. After all, it was a chance to present to several dozen directors from across the region. (Unfortunately, vendors spend a ton of money on meals, travel, and presenters for these types of events, but almost always do a poor job of effectively tailoring them to the wound care leadership audience.) The wound center that this author was managing at the time was a designated mentor site for the zone and had recently won a coveted national award for the second consecutive year. The usage of the product being discussed had dropped significantly in recent months. One of the vendor’s top executives at the time engaged this author in a conversation because he knew that the patient volumes at the clinic were very high, yet the usage of the product was down significantly. (Note that while the product was considered to be a good option when used for the right patient and at the right time, the clinic had shifted some of its allograft supply budget that year to fund increased staffing as a result of the high volumes.) While this executive began the dialogue with two conversational, probing, appropriate questions (about the patient volume and product usage), when the topic of budget and costs was broached, he immediately shifted into a generic cost-argument mode and began discussing how they proved using the product reduces overall costs to the healthcare system. However, he was not informed of, nor did he attempt to explore (through more probing questions), these key financial points:
- Half of the hospital systems represented in that room had recently switched to a new, universal budgeting system (global budgeting) that significantly changed financial incentives. Many of them had cut back usage as well, for similar reasons.
- Insurance companies, HMOs, accountable care organizations, and healthcare policy think tanks all care very much about calculating total cost of care, but unfortunately, at the time of the conversation (and still today), most clinics and hospital units had (and still have) little if any incentive to be mindful of what happens at other care sites outside of their cost center.
Following the meeting, usage of the product continued to decrease (and ultimately stopped altogether), and the clinic opted for substitutes instead (clinical outcomes remained consistent). The executive knew that balancing clinical outcomes with financial/budgetary considerations was an important driver of that decision-making process. But in trying so hard to sell the supposed surface-level healthcare economic benefits of the product, he demonstrated a lack of attention to the specific wound center and the financial considerations. He also did not address the significant logistical and opportunity costs associated with staff training, ordering, storage temperature, preparation and application, and processing returns, which may have painted a very different financial picture than what he was presenting. Wound care and regenerative medicine financial literacy is a critical topic for industry professionals to understand in order to sell successfully. It is a topic, perhaps more so than any other, where even a modest amount of education and learning the right questions to ask can be the difference between getting shut out of a facility or developing it into a top account. Some more common financial, logistical, and related mistakes that wound care vendors frequently make include:
- Disregard for the administrative burden of setting up charge codes, supply chain processes, etc., and, more importantly, what the sales professional can do to alleviate these burdens, thereby eliminating barriers to adoption.
- Not understanding the wound care inpatient, operating room (OR), outpatient, skilled-nursing facility (SNF), and home health budgets, as well as the effects that product(s) have on them (and the product evaluation process for each one).
- Repeating to everyone how the product “is reimbursable” without having any idea about the facility’s supply charge threshold, local/national coverage determination, payer mix, vendor policy (see Mistake No. 9), or charge description master setup process (and a host of other critical factors).
- Not understanding the costs and budgetary considerations involving staffing (eg, full-time equivalents).
- Lack of understanding (or disregard for) the differences in facility versus professional fees, care settings, and other financial interactions between providers and their sites of care.
- Ignorance of the structure and financial drivers of a facility managed independently versus being outsourced.
- Assuming it’s always better to start by selling to the providers and clinicians, and worry about the administrative and financial obstacles later (the opposite approach is generally more effective).
5. Thinking They Still Work in Pharmaceutical or Surgical Sales
Pharma sales is a complex business. Pharma reps must be able to manage time; work independently; and learn and convey complex indication, contraindication, side effect, and other important clinical information. In addition to needing these skills, there are crucial scenarios that wound care sales professionals regularly find themselves in that pharma reps seldom, if ever, must navigate. These include navigating diverse clinical settings, offering real-time plan-of-care and treatment support, and selling to/supporting multiple stakeholders simultaneously. While there are many transferable and overlapping skills, many successful pharma sales and marketing professionals have a hard time transitioning to wound care and regenerative medicine. When done correctly, they can become top performers. But without the right approach, many formerly successful pharma reps cause big declines in product usage. This has to do with the nuances of advanced wound care. In most wound care settings, non-physician stakeholders drive at least half of the decision-making process. In many cases, it’s much more than that. Firstly, even in the outpatient setting, many wound care encounters involve a combination of diagnostics and procedures, requiring the rep to provide clinical consultation and product expertise in real time. How frequently are pharma vendors consulted by a provider about a particular patient in real time (ie, sitting right in front of them)? Likewise, how often is that pharma vendor asked to be present for that patient’s follow-up visits (and do they generally need to explain why a particular treatment is not working for a particular patient)? Wound care vendors, especially those coming from pharma sales, must learn to fluidly transition between office- and non-office-based clinical settings. While they are not actively treating patients, they must be confident and at ease attending and discussing medical assessments and surgical procedures alike. Without proper new-hire training, the pharma-turned-wound-care-professional is often caught off guard by the different dynamics of the wound care environment.
Another mistake that former pharma professionals often make is not taking a holistic approach to the discipline. When marketing an endocrinology or cardiology drug, the rep is likely focused on one or two medical specialties and indications. Wound care, however, is practiced by virtually all types of medical and surgical providers. Moreover, the actual wounds being treated have vastly different causes and less defined standards of care compared to other specialties and indications. A third, and perhaps the biggest challenge that the pharmaceutical-turned-wound care vendor needs to deal with, is educating and selling to multiple stakeholders simultaneously. In pharma, do the administrators, medical assistants, and other providers in the practice really have a vested interest in which painkiller or beta-blocker a provider prescribes to patients? In contrast, in the wound care setting, non-provider stakeholders absolutely care which dressing, NPWT, or allograft is used because they are involved in purchasing, ordering, applying, and educating patients, as well as maintaining quality clinical outcomes. When wound care sales, marketing, or clinical specialists see the provider as the only customer, without being able to understand and address the needs of other stakeholders involved (including the patient), they are unlikely to generate and/or maintain adoption and usage of their products and services.
The surgical sales executive moving to wound care must adapt in other ways. Consider these tips:
- The majority of wound care patients will not require an OR procedure to heal (and of the OR procedures rendered, a large amount are vascular interventions, which the wound care vendor usually has nothing to do with). Still, regarding surgical sales professionals who are transitioning into wound care, wound care is a complex subspecialty and spending time in the OR may be an important activity, depending on the product and situation.
- Don’t treat every outpatient debridement, allograft, or NPWT application as a complex cardiac transplant or pediatric neurosurgery case, especially if it’s a busy day.
Many effective wound care executives come from pharma or surgical backgrounds. These individuals manage to adapt while maintaining their strengths (such as the ability to distill complex clinical concepts and articulate them effectively). Still, some inside perspective can go a long way in setting them up for success in wound care.
Wound care is a unique specialty. Many salespeople and marketers transitioning into it will fail if they are unable to adapt. On the flip side, professionals who are able to apply the right mix of elements learned from the office and OR settings to wound care will have great potential.
6. Lying About or Exaggerating Product Details
While one might assume this is more likely to happen with a new vendor who’s still learning about the product, an informal poll of former colleagues conducted by this author suggests otherwise. And it’s clear to most people that lying or exaggerating about a product is not OK. Let’s get the most obvious reasons for that out of the way: patient safety, poor outcomes, and regulatory compliance. Many wound care patients tend to have underlying health issues and can significantly decline between treatments if inappropriate modalities are selected based on false product promises. Even if no patient harm occurs, the legal and regulatory fallout can cost millions. Taking a behind-the-scenes look at some clinician and administrator feedback provides a deeper understanding of why lying (or exaggerating) about a product is a risk that tends not to provide return in the long run. Following are some real-world examples illustrating this point:
- According to “Brenda,” a seasoned inpatient certified wound, ostomy, and continence nurse (CWOCN), “Recently, a rep told me that [a prominent wound care physician I had worked with] liked his product so much he was switching to it instead of [a competing product]. It was totally untrue. Another rep told [our physician] he could hook [Company A’s NPWT device] up to run on [Company B’s NPWT dressing]. Who do they think they’re kidding?”
- “Amanda,” a CWOCN and director of the inpatient and outpatient wound care programs at her hospital, shares her thoughts on transparency in wound care sales: “While they certainly should make every effort to learn their product inside and out, I value honesty. It’s OK to say ‘I’m not sure, but I will check and get back to you with an answer.’” Isaac, the clinical nurse manager, agrees: “Many times, reps are not familiar enough with the product they are selling and making mistakes when talking to clinicians who are already familiar with the product. This is a big mistake, but if I feel they are lying or exaggerating to compensate on purpose, I will quickly lose respect for them as a product consultant.”
7. Using the Inpatient Setting as a Back Door to an Outpatient Sale (or Vice Versa)
In advanced wound care, it’s a fact that many patients are medically complex and receive treatment in the OR, inpatient, rehabilitation, outpatient, and home settings, often visiting several different settings weekly. Wound care reps and clinical specialists can play a valuable role by helping to ensure that providers at all care sites understand and are comfortable using the products (educating a home health nurse to not “clean out” an allograft or SNF clinician on proper NPWT application are two great examples of how reps can provide value and contribute to good clinical outcomes in these situations). However, an all-too-common mistake that vendors make is attempting to use one care site as a back door to another. Vendors can cause a lot of confusion and other problems when they say, “Dr. Smith had the patient on my brand of NPWT when she was in the SNF, so you need to order a unit of my brand to apply to her wound in the clinic when she follows up next week.” Facilitating communication is one thing. Taking advantage of hectic transitional points and interfaces within the healthcare system to slip in an extra sale is something entirely different. If a rep or the wound care clinician is unsure of which category an interaction falls under, it’s likely the latter. Despite all the talk about value-based and patient-centric care, the fact remains that most U.S. providers and departments, even within the same hospital, are still very much siloed in most major healthcare systems and community hospitals. This needs to change, but vendors blurring these lines to sneak in sales is not an effective way to do so.
8. Selling to Providers in Other Settings (Without Coordinating With Management)
This is a bit more nuanced, yet somewhat related to the previous point. Once a vendor has built trust and confidence with the wound care team, it may be totally fine to discuss products with providers in their private office or another setting. Especially if their designated wound care day(s) are frequently busy [see Mistake No. 3], it may be favorable to all involved to have product education occur outside of the wound care center. But when done the wrong way, this behavior will actually set back product adoption. “Karen,” the office manager at a busy hospital-based wound care center, describes the fallout from when a rep obtains a list of providers, then secretly meets with them in their non-wound care office (or at a restaurant or other setting) to discuss products: “When a new sales rep gets too excited and starts selling to and buying meals for the docs offsite, the providers may order the product to be used on the patient without complete documentation or too early in the patient’s treatment [to be approved by insurance]. I then get bombarded by the insurance companies and vendor’s customer service, requesting additional paperwork and signatures. This leads to a lot of wasted time and energy, and the patient may not receive the care they deserve. Ironically, when the physician must take a phone call from the insurance company or explain to the patient why they did not receive the product (or why it was not covered by their insurance and they received a bill), they are much less likely to continue using the product, even if the clinical outcome was good. It’s just human nature. Even when the provider education is done offsite, I’d much rather be involved from the beginning. For one, it shows the wound care team that the vendor is collaborating with us, not against us or in secret. Of equal importance, it allows us in administration to assist by checking that the product is approved for the indication and that the physician documented the required elements before submitting the order. This can save a lot of time and frustration for everyone involved.” As Karen points out, it’s crucial that offsite product discussions be done in a coordinated, transparent, and aboveboard manner. If reps want to meet with providers outside of the wound care setting, the first conversation should be with the administrator of the unit:
- Reps should ask for permission to visit the provider in his/her private office or invite him/her to a product-education dinner.
- Reps should ask if there are any products that should not be discussed (such as large equipment that there may not be space for), and communicate which specific product(s) are planned to be discussed, being respectful of any requests.
- Reps should familiarize themselves with the facility’s policies and procedures (see Mistake No. 9), including the vendor policy, which should generally be followed even when conducting an offsite meeting with the intent of selling products to be used onsite.
- Ideally, even if the provider and staff are met with at separate locations, reps will have already educated them on the relevant considerations, such as ordering and application; so if the provider wants to use the product immediately, everything will go smoothly.
For this highly sensitive topic, it’s generally recommended that sales professionals use an actual checklist. When executed correctly, this tactic will build trust between the vendor and the administration, and save everyone time and energy by focusing on products that have a chance of being sold. (For instance, the rep may be promoting a great nonadherent contact layer, but that facility may have recently signed a three-year contract with another brand for that product category.) A big mistake that many wound care reps make is in thinking they’re being “smooth and innovative” by calling on the providers behind the backs of the wound care leadership team. Is it illegal? No. Is it unethical? Not really. Can it negatively impact professional trust and patient care? Absolutely. Following are some actual issues that arose because wound care reps sold to providers without consulting with the administrative team in advance:
- Patient arrives for outpatient appointment expecting a product or procedure that nobody was aware of, nor set up to order in the purchasing system.
- Patient promised to receive a therapy that neither provider nor staff have been trained on.
- Provider misinformed of (or misunderstood) contraindications for a product; clinician has to diplomatically bring the individual out of the patient’s room to show documentation (both embarrassing and harmful to the patient’s confidence in the treatment).
- Rep recently transferred to region from another part of the country that had vastly different reimbursement criteria for the same product sold elsewhere; physician told patient in her private office, “come to the wound center next week and we will apply the product,” resulting in poor patient satisfaction when it was not applied (and had it been applied, the patient would have received a large, unexpected bill).
When done properly, most administrators have no problems, and may even appreciate, a vendor educating a provider outside of the wound care facility. But doing so in a nontransparent, uncoordinated manner can lead to short- and long-term problems that generally outweigh the extra few minutes of potential provider face time.
9. Not Knowing/Respecting Facility’s Policies & Procedures
Meeting sales quotas can be a lot of pressure. But not learning or respecting the facility’s procedures is never going to help hit one’s numbers in the long term. Sure, there may be some obscure rules that even some staff members may have no clue about, but that’s a different story. The concern here is there are several crucial considerations that need to be on one’s radar. “Katie,” a senior director of clinical operations for a large wound care services firm (who started her wound care career as a home health nurse before transitioning to a clinical manager), shares two of the ways that sales reps and clinical specialists can quickly lose their welcome: “Not knowing, understanding, or observing HIPAA regulations, and impersonating a clinician [by] wearing scrubs and wandering the clinic.” While it can be tricky in a crowded, busy facility to totally filter out every passing bit of HIPAA info (especially if some rooms have curtains, not walls), vendors in these environments must be especially aware of and sympathetic to the consequences that providers, facilities, and their business associates face for breaches. Vendors wearing scrubs can be another gray area. Some facilities and outsourced wound management firms in the U.S. have specific policies against vendors wearing them, because it can give the impression to the staff (and especially to the patient) that they are part of the clinical team, when in fact they usually have no such designation (and should not lay hands on the patient). Then again, for a sales rep providing product education and support in the OR, wearing scrubs is required. It can also facilitate hands-on demonstrations, such as compression or TCC applications during a clinical training in-service. Furthermore, many sales reps, clinical specialists, and executives are registered nurses or have other relevant clinical certifications. Some hold part-time positions in which they provide direct patient care. Still, at a minimum, reps should know of and respect the policy of the facility and management company (if there is one). According to Amanda, “I once had a rep suggest to myself and my provider that they ‘help us’ identify a patient [to use their product on]. This obviously was seen as ‘poking the bear.’ While the sales rep may potentially have more knowledge on their product, it would be crazy to suggest they were more competent in identifying a patient than the clinic staff.” Amanda shares some additional behaviors that can turn an otherwise professional wound care industry representative into persona non grata in her clinic: “While our sales reps often also become ‘our friends,’ they should not be near phones, back offices, computers, or nursing/provider conversations unless formally invited there for a specific product-related reason … [nor should they] act like they need to shadow the clinic to get some type of ‘mandatory rep training.’ Besides this being at odds with every hospital and clinic policy I’ve seen, it’s just not truthful.” Discussing product reimbursement with staff is another potential pitfall and may violate the facility’s vendor policy in addition to causing other fallout. For the vendor, the best-case scenario of a policy transgression is that perhaps one or two of the center’s team members will notice and quietly resent it. A less common, yet painful outcome is being banned from the clinic, facility, or, in extreme cases, the entire company’s sales force may be suspended from sales calls for several weeks or months while the firm’s compliance team scrambles to “get back on the good side” of the management company or healthcare system’s compliance, risk, and legal departments. Although rare, these situations can result in millions of dollars in costs, lost revenue and goodwill, missed sales, and loss of market share. Many well-managed wound centers will provide vendors with a document highlighting the facility’s vendor policy. Medical device, pharma, and services firms calling on the wound care industry should provide resources to ensure their sales teams don’t violate these policies.
10. Giving Up (or Taking Active Accounts for Granted)
Wound care sales and marketing are not easy jobs. Patients are often complex, products require hands-on familiarity, reimbursement can be challenging, and there are many aspects out of one’s control. One of the most common (and unfortunate) mistakes is when the wound care rep gets no traction out of a visit. Maybe the clinic was too busy or understaffed those days, maybe the CWOCN was on vacation, maybe the leadership was preparing for an inspection, or maybe the rep didn’t ask the right questions. Wound care is one of the fastest growing medical subspecialties. Sometimes, a strategy or tactic that did not work last year will work this year. Reps should consider taking their manager or a corporate executive to a client if difficulties arise (not just to the best accounts). Perhaps the sales approach and products are great, but there’s another rep who has a great relationship with that client (for example, he has been there since the facility opened), but he may eventually get promoted and move away from that region (it happens often!). In other cases, a customer’s situation could change or the vendor might have a new offering. Likewise, when reps whose products are frequently used by a clinic choose to not check in or provide support for extended periods, they could become replaced by a competitor more adept at providing follow up.
Rafael Mazuz is the managing director of Diligence Wound Care Global LLC (http://diligencewcg.com), an advisory firm that empowers clients to become keener wound care executives, specialists, startups, and investors in the developed, emerging, and frontier markets. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Market and Distributor Assessment. Case Study # 2 Market and Distributor Assessment in Southeast Asia. Diligence Wound Care Global LLC. Accessed online: http://diligencewcg.com/case-studies/case-study-2/
2. Business War Gaming for New Product Launch. Case #4: Business War Gaming & Scenario Planning to Prepare for New Product Line Launch in the US. Diligence Wound Care Global LLC. Accessed online: http://diligencewcg.com/case-studies/case-study-4/
3. Wound Care Sales Force Training. Case #6: Wound Care & Regenerative Medicine Sales Force Training and Insights. Diligence Wound Care Global LLC. Accessed online: http://diligencewcg.com/case-studies/case-study-6/