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Medtech guide to healthcare lead generation during COVID-19

Proven techniques for remote prospecting, appointment-setting and virtual inside sales

Anika Temperante
Anika Temperante
Senior Account Executive

Let’s face it. When it comes to medtech marketing and sales, the doctor is almost always “out.” Busy healthcare professionals rarely respond to emails and routinely ignore digital ads. Getting your message across—and your sales team’s foot in the door—takes skill and persistence.

Add to the challenge the impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has grounded most medtech companies’ road warrior sales reps. Business travel, networking, conferences and face-to-face meetings have evaporated, leaving medtech sales and marketing teams searching for new ways to meet healthcare lead generation and sales goals.

Healthcare lead generation best practices during COVID-19

A year later, we’re still adapting our marketing and sales best practices for COVID-19. We’re pivoting to virtual sales options, and giving the humble telephone call a much-needed comeback.

At Volkart May, we’ve proved a number of techniques that work for healthcare lead generation and appointment-setting with hospitals, clinics, labs and pharmacies. We routinely generate 10:1 ROI for our clients—even in their very first campaign

Below are some specific virtual selling best practices for medtech and healthcare companies.

We’re also happy to discuss real-world COVID-calling metrics and recent campaigns that can work for your medtech organization’s needs.

Step 1: Set a new course

Whenever market circumstances present new challenges, it’s smart to update your strategy. With a plan in place, medtech sales and marketing can align on objectives and maximize efforts.

In our new virtual selling environment, you’ll need to:

  • Review your brand story
  • Evaluate your campaigns
  • Align your resources in new ways

Timing will also be critical. The economic impact of COVID-19, business restrictions and stay-at-home orders ebbs and flows with the pandemic’s progression; every sector and geography’s ability to rebound will differ.

We’ve got a number of tips to help medtech marketers develop the right recovery plan to refill your healthcare lead pipeline. This includes coming up with offers and resources to help your healthcare customers improve their business performance.

Read: Ready for recovery? Plan now to refill your lead pipeline

Step 2: Refresh your approach

When we look back on the last 12 months, so much has changed. Virtual meetings and work-at-home flexibility are now the norm; phrases like “Zoom” and “social distancing” are part of our everyday vocabulary.

Healthcare experienced numerous changes and challenges during the pandemic. Telehealth showed phenomenal growth. Data, diagnostics and technology proved indispensable. At the same time, frontline providers faced unimaginable workloads and fatigue with the burden of COVID-19 care. Depending on your healthcare niche, much will have changed that your marketing and sales efforts need to reflect.

As you adapt your healthcare lead generation efforts, take time to recalibrate your approach. It’s crucial that your medtech companies interact with your healthcare customers and prospects in a way that’s relevant, memorable and shows empathy to their situation.

Outbound calling can be particularly impactful as you reconnect with your audiences. That’s because it’s a two-way conversation. Human contact is especially powerful right now and gives you the opportunity to do far more than sell your services. It’s also crucial to listen to your healthcare customers and prospects. Showing empathy, respect and understanding goes a long way to creating rapport with potential buyers and relationships that lead to sales.

Read: Four ways to refresh lead generation during COVID-19

Step 3: Add new marketing and sales tools

The pandemic upended the tried-and-true toolkit that medtech sales and marketing teams relied on. Large-scale healthcare and medtech tradeshows, events and conferences were among the first to go; they’ll likely be one of the last to return, even when COVID-19 lessens.

If events were a central part of your healthcare strategy, check out these four recommendations to rethink your options and keep your lead generation goals on track.

Social distancing and other safety precautions will also linger long after the COVID-19 epidemic ebbs. That means you’ll need new techniques for prospecting beyond face-to-face networking. Cold calling and outbound sales prospecting campaigns are a great way to fill that gap.

Here at Volkart May, we’ve got 30 years of experience with telephone-based prospecting and outsourced inside sales. We provide lead generation, appointment-setting and customer insights, all through professional outbound calling. We never see a prospect in person. Ever.

We know achieving lead generation goals outside of in-person channels is not only possible, it’s an everyday practice. Check out our tips for inside sales calls during COVID-19.

Read: Coronavirus cancelled our biggest industry event. Now what? 

Read: 5 tips for inside sales calls amid the coronavirus outbreak

Step 4: Retrain your team

While your healthcare target audiences at labs, pharmacies, clinics and hospitals may not be working from home, there’s a good possibility your medtech company’s inside sales reps are. Making remote work effective—especially cold calling—means investing in training, equipment and processes geared specifically for virtual lead generation and sales.

Working from home presents numerous challenges. Your medtech sales reps may feel isolated and unmotivated. They may lack adequate support or equipment. Managers can struggle with maintaining performance standards and measuring call effectiveness. Leadership may even wonder if it’s worth the investment.

Fortunately, a remote healthcare sales force can be just as strong as one that’s in the office, as long as you take the time to modify your practices for virtual selling. At Volkart May, our outbound callers work in a hybrid environment, with some in our Minnesota office and others at their homes. Everyone uses the same professional equipment, and we’ve developed new ways to collaborate, motivate and keep each other on track.

Once you adapt your healthcare cold calling and lead generation efforts for a remote environment, consider how your medtech company will handle virtual sales appointments with healthcare decision-makers. After all, as those infamous cat-faced memes show, it takes more than just a videoconferencing platform for a virtual meeting to succeed!

We’ve gathered a number of dos and don’ts to help your medtech team not only get that virtual lead or sales appointment, but also to execute with confidence during an online sales meeting. One of the biggest challenges is conquering distractions (everything from that barking dog to FedEx ringing the doorbell) and staying focused.

Read: Dos and don’ts for effective remote calling

Read: Dos and don’ts for virtual appointment setting

Step 5: Scale up quickly

Our final recommendation helps medtech companies determine how to optimize your internal resources. Studies show sales reps routinely give up after just two or three calls, even when reaching a healthcare or B2B decision-maker can require six or more attempts.

That’s usually because not every sales professional enjoys—or excels—at remote work and virtual sales. Outbound calling takes a specific personality and skillset.

Your company may also struggle with the bandwidth to manage a remote team. It takes daily dedication and the right infrastructure for appropriate measurement and collaboration.

How quickly you need to scale up your healthcare lead generation volumes presents a final consideration. If your market has ebbs and flows that make staffing a challenge, or if you need to accelerate activity quickly, relying solely on the internal team may not be enough.

In each of these instances, working with a professional lead generation and outsourced inside sales firm can be the answer. At Volkart May, we understand the nuances of the medical field. Our experienced callers speak healthcare fluently. And, we can handle healthcare campaigns large and small to help medtech companies test a new market, launch a product or simply keep your healthcare sales pipelines filled.

Read: 5 ways to use outbound calling with hospitals, clinics, labs and pharmacies

Work with the professionals. We believe that with hospitals, clinics, labs and other medical facilities, there’s so much you can accomplish through a live conversation! Contact us to learn more about our medtech practice.

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