When it comes to med-tech advertising, the company that today’s guests represent is ahead of the competition. There are times when patients don’t come into practice from their providers. This can happen for many reasons but this company finds a way to fix it, no matter the specialty. Join Samuel Gbadebo as he talks to Zed Williamson and Clark Wiederhold on the second episode of this two-part interview. Learn how they help reps in fulfilling their practices. Find out more about med-tech advertising. And, discover how they create predictable, trackable patient demand for specialty medical practices and med-tech companies.
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Advertising In The Med-Tech Industry With Zed Williamson & Clark Wiederhold
Welcome to the show. This is part two with Zed and Clark. Providers have so many services, especially private practices. They have so many services and different types of patients they can treat within a specialty. A lot of times, there’s a specific patient type that’s not coming to that practice. 1) It is because that patient does not know that that provider is out there to service them, and 2) That provider’s not sure how to get access to that patient. This is where their company has completely changed the game.
In this part two episode, we’re going to get more into the details around why this works, how it works, and the neuroscience behind what’s happening that allows their company to be so effective. We’re also going to see a little bit more detail around the model. If you’re a healthcare professional out there, whether you’re a sales rep or a sales leader, or a provider, this is an episode you want to tune in to. As always, thank you for tuning in to the show, and I do hope you enjoy part two of this interview.
Why would we not tell people what the benefit would be? It’s because they’re not wired for that. Hope is not the most motivational thing in the world. Loss aversion is, so let’s talk to the person about their pain. Let’s connect on an emotional level. After that, they understand. They start nodding their head like, “These people get us.” Let’s speak emotionally to them so that we can motivate their behavior.
A guy by the name of Jonathan Haidt came up with a pretty cool way to think about the brain. It’s referred to as The Elephant and The Rider. The elephant represents the limbic system where our emotions are. The rider, the little guy on top of the elephant, represents the prefrontal cortex. Imagine talking to the little guy on top of the elephant about which way to steer the elephant when the elephant has an opinion about which way it’s going. The elephant wins.
I’ll bring this to med tech. If you’re a device rep and you’re trying to inform a physician into changing their surgical behavior, you’re telling the little guy on top of the elephant which way to steer that elephant. It doesn’t work. That’s how we do it from a messaging standpoint, but here’s something that I learned and I wish I had thought about it before I learned it. Private practices aren’t that great at talking to patients on the phone.
From the first campaign I did, we got an insane result. There were so many phone calls for a very high revenue procedure. I got a call on my cellphone. The physician started screaming at me that we wasted all his money, and I didn’t understand because we had transferred 40 patients to his practice. The calls were recorded. I listened to him and that’s when I met who I refer to now as Agnes, who hates her life. She was taking all the calls and was talking patients out of the appointments.
The other way we do it is we own the entire conversion path. We create the demand and take the phone call. We have a staff of patient advocates who talk to the patients and book the appointment for the practice, so it’s not a high five about, “We did some advertising.” It’s a high five of, “John Smith with United Healthcare has an appointment at 2:00 PM. Here’s what he’s suffering with. It’s been ten years.”Hope is not the most motivational thing in the world. Loss aversion is. Click To Tweet
Everyone in that account’s winning, from the front office staff that’s not going to be overburdened with all this new business to the provider that desires and wants the new business. That’s good. To everyone reading this and they’re thinking, “This makes sense,” give us your ideal med tech professional.
From a company perspective, you’ve got two lenses to look through. This is what we talk to commercial teams about all the time. Are enough surgeons offering your procedure? Yes or no? If the answer is yes, that’s awesome. You’ve got deep penetration and utilization from a provider perspective. If it’s not, then you likely are looking to grow your utilization base and there are some offenses to run there.
You have enough or you’ve got enough for you. The next question would be, are they at capacity? If the answer is yes, that’s fantastic. You’re probably looking to acquire some other technologies or something else to put in your bag. If the answer’s no, there are some offenses to run there as well. That’s an oversimplification, but it’s starting at a very high level. That’s where we start when we’re talking to the commercial teams at a high level.
What are they looking to achieve? It’s usually a couple of different goals simultaneously. What does that look like? What’s the timeframe? It goes on down the line. We’re very mission-driven, whether it’s a solo practitioner and a private practice, or a division of a Fortune 500 strategic, or you got around seeing commercializing for the first time. We are your whole marketing team or the extension of your 1 or 2-man marketing team.
That’s one, but we also work with industry. We work with a lot of reps all over the country. This is how I came to know the business in more of an informal manner where they’re looking to be more valuable for their customer base and they’re looking to grow and hit the targets that they need to hit. Those device reps and biotech reps want to be more than a vendor usually when they’re working with us or they’re leveraging us as a tool in their territory and introducing us to their customers that also meet one of those two things.
Usually, they’ve got more capacity. It’s that client or customer of theirs that says, “If I had more of this type of patient, we’d be rolling,” or, “This and my practice would change,” or, “We’d be able to work together more.” That’s a good start for introducing us and seeing if there’s a fit. Zed mentioned earlier that it doesn’t always mean we’re necessarily creating demand. There are often times when there’s enough demand there to meet the actual practices’ needs or goals by capturing more of what’s already there or looking for what they want to do more of.
It almost sounds like you guys do business consulting for these med devices and companies and maybe even so much for the sales reps as well. Is that the case? Do you guys find yourself needing to dig deep and say, “Let’s find where the opportunity is?”
Yes. Here’s what I love about this stuff. Knowledge gives you places to pivot the conversation. My favorite thing in the world is we talk to a rep and they’re saying, “I have this practice. If they had more patients, they would do more of my procedure.” We say, “Let’s chat with them.” We get on a call, and as a third party, we’re able to ask questions that maybe the rep didn’t think of or wasn’t able to ask. We uncover something in that call that lets the rep realize that this physician is not using the device to all the indications that the rep thought. We turn into consultants at that standpoint for this rep because we’re not going to move forward on the deal because now, the rep figured out, “I didn’t realize that this guy or gal believed what they believe.”
We love those conversations. Typically, it doesn’t turn into a new client for us, but to me, that’s furthering the industry where we’re able to help that rep uncover like, “They weren’t going to use my treatment or therapy on a lot of these patients,” so they can go now do their work. The other case is we have a conversation and that practice is ready. The rep would be like, “If I had more of these people, we would rock and roll.” We connect and fast forward a year later, the rep is on the stage at the award ceremony because their top customer’s up to their volume by 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50%.
It’s not all altruistic either. It’s how we run our business. What I mean by that is we’re typically trying to talk customers out of spending money with us at the beginning, and it’s because we don’t work on contract. If that physician in this scenario that Zed outlined isn’t as far down the line as a particular rep might think they are or hopes that they are, we don’t want to waste their hard-earned money going towards something that’s going to fail in their eyes in terms of them converting before we even start. It’s not good business for us. It hurts everybody, including the person that referred us in. We’re trying to find the reasons why it wouldn’t make sense for them to invest resources in that direction. It sounds counterintuitive, most likely, but that pulls out a lot of honest feedback.In business, you have to help pull someone out of traffic when they're about to do something that they shouldn't do. Click To Tweet
It sounds like you guys probably turn away some business then when you dive deep and explore what the opportunity is. If you don’t see that it fits, then it doesn’t fit.
We refer to it as pulling a kid out of traffic. Sometimes, you’re pulling them out because you need to help them make a decision that is good for their business. Other times, it means pushing them away out of traffic because they shouldn’t do what they think they want to do based on either capacity that they don’t have that they wish they had and they’re not willing to double or triple book. They’re not willing to change their practice on the provider side or they don’t want that many of those patients. They thought they did, but they don’t. On the kid out of traffic piece, it doesn’t matter if it’s your kid. You’re still going to grab the child out of the traffic because that’s the right thing to do. It turns out that it helps our business at the same time.
I’m going to ask you guys a question that’s a little bit off of what you guys do specifically. It’s more about where you think the direction is going. We talked about advertising, disconnect with the awards, and disconnect with what’s being taught at university programs. Talk to us a little bit about if this problem exists and hasn’t been resolved, and it has allowed professionals like you to get in and make a difference. Where do you think the future is headed for advertising within the med tech space? When I say med tech, I’m talking about anything medical sales for the providers and patients. Where do you think it is all going?
The first thing I’ll say is it is changing. The change has accelerated since COVID. Here’s what I mean by that. We were working in a growing part of our business, and along with private practice were our med tech clients who were working directly with them and their commercial teams. That has accelerated on both sides. The providers have realized that they want to have control over patient flow, and an accelerating problem for them is also their referral networks being gobbled up and disappearing. They’re having to choose sides based on networks expanding their footprint.
On the med tech side, it’s as we talked about earlier. They’ve done a good job of educating a lot of other parties along the line, but they’ve never traditionally done a good job of owning patient education. At the end of the day, that’s the collateral that’s valuable in healthcare. We talked about the benefits and the loss. You do it in a way that’s loss aversion, but if they know that there’s a better option out there and they don’t have to live this way, they’re likely to take action and find out if they’re a candidate.
That’s a heck of a lot better than just hoping that more patients come to providers that believe what you believe.
The second piece of that is the piece where the acceptance of this knowledge is starting to pick up in the industry. I’m super excited about it because it’s healthy for patients. It’s that most companies are looking at patient populations through CPT codes and codes that are quantifiable. Those are simply patients that are already in the system that have already been diagnosed or have gone through certain treatment algorithms of some kind.
There’s a massive patient population in most instances that haven’t even gotten in the game yet because of preconceived notions of what they don’t want. C-PAP is a great example. A vast majority of patients that needs the CPAP don’t even get evaluated for it because they know they need and want it. The patient population is much larger than what shows in any piece of data that you can buy. That’s a massive patient population to go to speak to and create behavior change. Zed, would you add anything in terms of what’s changing?
As technology moves along and there’s the ability to target people with advertising digitally, you’re going to see some frustration grow with advertising and marketing because you can get so fancy on your targeting and focus on it, but then your results get worse. There’s going to be a little bit of a dip from people getting excited about investing in certain types of advertising, and then we’ll see it come back.
Clark nailed that the audience is the key. A lot of the technology that’s coming out, and you see it across the board, is about being minimally invasive. It’s about treating someone earlier. It’s about ways to keep people off medications. You have to get patients earlier in their disease state for that to work. We have to shake people awake from what they’re suffering with and that’s got to be done through advertising and marketing.In med-tech, you have to shake people awake from what they're suffering. That can only be done through advertising and marketing. Click To Tweet
You’ll see more co-marketing between med tech companies and private practice where they’re owning the patient education together. We’re seeing that start to grow, and the outcomes are incredible. You’ll see more med tech companies take ownership of educating the patients, so the patients are advocating for themselves from a therapy standpoint and reaching out to providers specifically requesting treatments.
One thing that I also want to know from you guys and specifically to your company is when it comes to providing this service for the providers and for the med reps, is it just an as-needed basis? Are there certain times that need to be committed to? How does that work?
Everybody is going to be very specific. I view us as similar to a really good doctor. A good doctor is going to have a very strong patient visit that gives them the information to know what treatment should be, what are the underlying causes, and then how to move through treatment. That’s how we treat business. It’s hard to say that no matter what, this is the answer. There are so many variables that we got to uncover what is the underlying cause or whatever’s the barrier to what they’re achieving.
I want to try to simplify it for the audience because if I was reading this, I might be a little bit confused about what I should do. I know this because our business is confusing. If I were a med tech rep reading this, I would think about whether I have a practice that loves my technology’s outcomes and would they do more if they saw more of the right patient? If the answer to those two questions is yes, that device rep should contact us and discuss what it looks like to introduce us to their practice. If I was a distributor and wanted to pull in relationships with my clients, I would look for the same thing. Who do you have that has strong outcomes? I would connect with our company and understand how I can be a little bit stickier in this competitive environment.
If I was leadership in med tech, I would be thinking about how can I make my commercial team more effective faster? How can I take a rep that’s new to a region? Instead of having to wait 18 or 24 months, how can I make that person black coming out of the red as fast as possible or as early as 3 or 6 months? If I’m a med tech leader and I’m concerned about how many people use the device from a utilization standpoint, how can I drive demand by the use of patients asking for my therapy? If I’m reading this and I’m a physician owner of an independent practice and there’s any sense of me being busy, but I wish I was busy with somebody different, then that would be another person to potentially reach out to.
This is the last question. I know that the medical sales world is vast. Therapies are vast. There are so many different specialties. How are you guys able to address anyone that shows up regardless of what their specialty is?
We get that a lot. They’re like, “Have you worked in this specialty or that?” Here’s the beautiful part about it. Since neuroscience and behavior change is the underpinning of everything we do, it doesn’t matter the specialty as long as we’re dealing with humans. That pretty much covers the basics, and that’s because those mechanisms in our old software, our brain, stay the same.
As long as you have the disease, you guys have a team that can do the rest, and because the mechanics are the same as far as how to change behavior, it always seems to work.
We’ve worked in patient populations as broad as sinusitis and back pain all the way to single-sided lower limb amputees. It’s about understanding the emotional connections and the neuroscience behind them.
This was an amazing time with you. This is an exciting company you guys are working in and making things happen. This is an exciting space, and we can’t wait to see more that comes from both of you in the near future.
Thanks. We appreciate it. We love your show.
Keep doing what you’re doing.
If anybody is reading this episode and they’re saying, “I need to call these guys now,” where should they go?
Hit us on LinkedIn. We’re both pretty active there. Samuel, I’ll happily provide you with my cellphone number and email address. I would also like to say the things that you’re doing with your organization for the young reps that are out there looking to up their game or get in the industry, they need to check this out because that kind of content wasn’t there when I was trying to break in. They should be taking advantage of it.
Thank you for that. We’ll be hearing from you soon.
That was part two with Zed and Clark. It’s always great to have guests that create innovations that allow healthcare to run better. It’s cool to see that when there’s a gap in how healthcare functions, someone comes up with something that connects or creates that bridge and allows things to work better. Maybe you’re a sales professional in medical device sales, pharmaceutical sales, or biotech sales. You’re reading this episode and you’re thinking to yourself, “I like tuning in to this show. I’m always learning new things. There are some things that I want to do in my own career.”
Maybe you want to get to the president’s club. Maybe you want to simply grow your numbers. Maybe you have a new position or a new opportunity, or you’re new to medical device sales or pharmaceutical sales and you’re not sure how to even put it all together to make sense of what you should be doing day-in and day-out. You’re looking for help or you’re wanting help. If this is you, then you need to visit EvolveYourSuccess.com. Select Improve Sales Performance and allow someone to speak with you about what Evolve Your Success is and what is done there can change the game for you and get you to where you want to be.
If you’re someone that’s looking to get into the industry, maybe you’ve been reading these episodes, putting on applications, or chatting with some people online. You’re doing things here and there, but you’re not getting where you want to be. Maybe you’re not getting the interviews you want or you’re not able to get the offer after you have the interviews you want, or you keep being told something like, “You don’t have the sales experience,” or, “Give it a couple more years,” or, “You don’t have any medical experience. You don’t have that right background.”
If that’s you and this is an industry you know you want to get into, then visit EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Attain A Medical Sales Role. Follow the prompts, fill out the short application, and have a conversation with someone that can get you where you want to be. As always, we like having guests who bring innovations and do things in the medical sales industry to enlighten those of you who are our audience and showcase what can be done in this space. Please continue tuning in. I look forward to you tuning in again on another episode of the show.
- Zed Williamson
- Clark Wiederhold
- Improve Sales Performance – Evolve Your Success
- Attain A Medical Sales Role – Evolve Your Success
About Zed Williamson
Founder/CEO at TrackableMed | Podcast Co-host | We create predictable, trackable patient demand for specialty medical practices and MedTech companies.
About Clark Wiederhold
Chief Sales Officer at TrackableMed | Podcast Co-host | We create predictable, trackable patient demand for specialty medical practices and MedTech companies.
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