Devices & Diagnostics

5 Ways mobile Is revolutionizing medical device sales

Mobile technology has dramatically changed how many people and industries do work, and it is revolutionizing medical device sales — or it at least has the potential to. Properly implemented, and especially used in conjunction with medical devices sales CRM systems, mobile devices and apps can improve the efficiency and productivity of sales reps as […]

Mobile technology has dramatically changed how many people and industries do work, and it is revolutionizing medical device sales — or it at least has the potential to. Properly implemented, and especially used in conjunction with medical devices sales CRM systems, mobile devices and apps can improve the efficiency and productivity of sales reps as well as support staff and medical liaisons.

For example, Medtronic, a large medical device manufacturer, has created more than a dozen apps to help its sales staff of more than 4,500 people work better. The apps help reps access proprietary information and track sales activities.

Here are five ways mobile technology can improve medical device sales.

1) E-detailing: This uses mobile technology to make complex information easier to understand. Consider a company that manufactures a heart stent and needs to teach physicians how it’s used. Putting the stent in is a complicated procedure, and the company accrued tips, best practices and potential pitfalls that need to be communicated to the physician. An iPad can present the information with 3-D renderings and easy-to-navigate information. E-detailing has been in widespread use in pharmaceutical sales for a while, and is finally starting to be used in medical device sales.

2) Reduce paper: Mobile can eliminate brochures, forms, day planners, maps and even business cards. In the past, reps had to lug around trunks of paper sales materials. Apart from being heavy and unwieldy, these materials were often out of date soon after being printed. Information accessed via a mobile device is much easier to keep current.

Switching to mobile also eliminates the cost of printing and distributing materials. Furthermore, a rep new to an area can use a mobile device to easily schedule and find different appointments — no more fumbling with paper maps and day planners.

3) Collaboration: Mobile technology, especially when used in combination with a medical device sales CRM system, offers great opportunities to improve collaboration. Consider medical science liaisons. They’re experts, often doctors, employed by medical device makers to answer questions that doctors have about medical devices. Because both the physician and the liaison tend to have busy and unpredictable schedules, this often means a game of phone tag that can take days. With mobile, they can have a quick chat over video or even instant message, getting the physician quick answers to important questions.

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4) Cameras: This may not seem at first blush like a revolutionary feature, but the cameras in mobile devices can be important tools for medical device sales and technical support. Field technicians can send a picture of a needed part to make sure the right one is shipped, and customers can send a photo or real-time video to help describe a problem. Isn’t that easier than trying to describe “the red thingamajig underneath the belt, about four inches from the bottom”? Those types of conversations are frustrating for both sides, and a problem that’s essentially eliminated by mobile technology.

5) Voice recognition: Some might consider this the Holy Grail of mobile technology, and tech companies have been pursuing useful voice recognition for years. While basic voice recognition is common and functional — “Say ‘one’ for sales, say ‘two’ for support” — the key to making it really useful is understanding intent. Can it accurately understand what you mean when you say, “Make an appointment at 2 p.m. next Tuesday to discuss new marketing campaign”? That takes a lot of processing power and some very smartly written software.

We’ve reached the point where devices are small and powerful enough to be able to use voice recognition. The iPhone’s Siri is one example, and Microsoft reportedly has plans to release a device that could go even further than Siri. For medical device sales reps, this could mean they might be able to “call” an app and simply dictate the information they want to store.

Of course, what’s so exciting about mobile technology is how quickly it advances and changes. Think about how different your smartphone is now from the clunky cellphones that seemed so impressive 10 years ago. As it continues to advance and evolve, mobile will surely find new and unexpected uses in medical device sales.

Mike Hammons is the Senior Director, Life Science Solutions at Infinity Info Systems and a 23-year veteran of high-tech software and life sciences industry, with 17 years focused on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).