In this day and age, when you need information, you only have to search for it. If you want to put something out, post it online. The world is now within reach, and all you need to do is put your hand out. In this episode, Eric Anderson talks about how social media provides a marketing avenue for both medical practitioners and sales professionals or distributors. He also shares insights into the platform they created to provide information about medical device sales and resources to those who want to get into the medical sales space. Don’t miss this episode and learn how you can introduce your brand to a bigger audience and take your business to the next level.
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The Reach Of The Medical Device Distributor With Eric Anderson
In this episode, we have with us another special guest. He goes by the name of Eric Anderson. He’s the Founder of a medical device media organization that provides exciting content on video, podcast, and print platforms. He’s also the Cofounder of an online platform dedicated to medical sales professionals. I’m honored to have him as a guest because like myself, he’s someone who works within the medical sales space to provide value to medical sales professionals.
We are going to get into some of his backgrounds, some of the things he’s working on, and the things he’s bringing out to the forefront. This is a bit of an older interview. There has been some development that’s active now that’s going to be cool to learn. As always, we do our best to bring you innovative guests that bring value, resources, and innovation to the medical sales space. I do hope you enjoy this interview.
Eric, how are we doing?
I am great, Samuel. How are you?
I am fantastic. I have no complaints. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
My name’s Eric Anderson, and I am the Founder of a couple of different things. You may have heard of my podcast if you are on the LinkedIn platform. I am also a Cofounder. I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire, to say the least.
Is there a leading iron in this fire?
I am a medical device distributor or broker. That’s our main business, and I’m located in St Augustine, Florida. We are a distributor that focuses on the extremity space. We’ve represented several independent companies in the extremity space.
We get a lot of readers, and a lot of them want to get into the industry. They don’t understand the different components that make up the industry. Real short, give us a little bit about what a distributorship is and how that compares to something like Stryker or Medtronic and working for a company like that.
Seeing I’ve done both, I can give you a pretty good idea of what both look like. With the medical device distributor, we are independent contractors. We represent companies who don’t have a direct sales force, which would be a W-2 directly hired salesperson for that organization. Most of the big orthopedic companies, the DePuy Synthes, Zimmer Biomets, and the Strykers of the world, have a salesforce that is majority W-2 and only represents those Stryker products. We do represent different lines from different organizations and companies, and that’s what makes us unique. We are a 1099 independent contractor.
I talked to quite a few sales reps that have started off as sales reps, worked for W-2 positions, and then went on to start their own distributorships. How did you get into that space?
I will make a long story short. I started out back in the ‘90s for a company. I was a direct employee. I made my way from one company to another organization. I then went from being a sales representative to holding some mid-level management positions, as well as an RVP position, all within the trauma segment. I loved the opportunity to sit down with the guys who were in marketing and R&D at different organizations. I found that for me, I liked the idea of being independent, owning my own small business, and representing some innovative technology companies. That’s why I decided to make the transition to being a 1099 contractor or representing those companies that needed a sales force in certain areas.
To get into that, you must have had some pretty solid relationships. Was that your experience? You saw it and are like, “I can do this,” or did you say, “I want to do this, and I’m going to figure it out and make it happen?”
It was a little bit of both. I decided I wanted to do this, and I’m going to figure it out. I did have some good relationships. I will be honest with you, there were some curve balls that I didn’t expect. I did a lot of research and made a lot of contacts with people that I know within the industry to make the transition. I made the transition, and then I was like, “That’s a curve ball. There’s another curve ball.” I decided, “I’m here. I’m going to do it. I’m going to figure it out.” I started researching in 2018. The implementation phase is in the back half of 2019, and you know what hit in 2020. It made it even more interesting. That goes right back to you. You just got to figure it out.
When did you start your distributorship?
The real start of it is in 2019.
That’s a big step. You have been in the industry for years, and you finally decided to go the entrepreneurial route.
I’ve always done some entrepreneurial things on the side, different things in real estate, and things of that nature but this foray into the medical device was my first entrepreneurial venture.It's interesting that still, to this day, we have such a large group of people who are not embracing and creating a brand. Click To Tweet
Talk to us a little about the history. I always ask this anyone who comes on the show. When did you decide that medical device sales were going to be your thing? Is that something you knew about in college? Did you get into the workforce, something came up, and you found something out? How did it happen?
I have a very interesting story about that. I got into college. I knew I wanted to be in sales. I went into the computer world. Back when they had computer systems to do a lot of their in-house things in doctor’s offices. I went out to Napa Valley one summer. I visited some family and came back, “I’m going to quit my job and start a wine bar.” My wife and I started a wine bar. I can tell you. It’s the hardest work. That’s why whenever I go anywhere or in food establishments, those people work the hardest of any people I’ve ever met. It was a twenty-hour day. You look around and make $52 in tips or something and you are going, “This is hard.”
Passion has to be there.
It has to be the love of wine or all the above. I had a gentleman who used to come in all the time to the wine bar. We used to talk, and he ended up being a district sales manager for a medical company. That’s how it happened. We met and I said, “This is my background. I would like to look into the medical device space and get into it.” He said, “Let’s talk,” and the rest is history.
You went on to have this great career. You were a sales rep. You got into sales management, and you rolled that out until you finally decided to do your own distributorship. What brought about the podcast? When did you decide to get into that and say, “I’m going to create a podcast?”
I had thought about it in early 2020, and it was at the end of 2019. I thought, “This is the new medium of how we are going to communicate ideas in the business world. I was an avid podcast listener. In March and April of 2020, we know what hit. I said, “I’ve got plenty of time on my hands now. I’m going to create a podcast.” I’m not a guy who says to themselves, “I’m going to go create a podcast.” I was like, “I’m going to do this,” but I’m not a guy who says, “I’m the media mogul that I am.”
I called a bunch of people that I knew and said, “Would you be interested?” They are like, “Yeah. I have nothing going on. I’m sitting in my house. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t do anything,” and the podcast was born. That’s basically how it all happened. It is our marketing platform for podcasts, videos, and print media, the things that we are doing. I thought, “I’m going to go deeper into this podcast.” The thought of it is the medical device world is such an elementary way you market things. It hasn’t changed since they started. They are still mailing out pieces of literature to people. It’s mind-boggling to me.
I always make a joke. I’m like, “Why don’t we mail out VHS tapes and newspapers?” That’s the way we used to do it. My whole aim and goal were to change that and put it on to ears. That’s why you will see a lot of content marketing that we do as an organization on LinkedIn and the podcast. We have something where we put a funny spin on reviewing medical device products and things of that nature.
I love that you said that. That’s something that I have been a big advocate of is how everything is going towards the digital space and the importance of anyone involved in anything to create a brand in this digital space to let people know who you are before they get to know who you are. It serves you in all ways, from doing business to helping your customers and providing more value to the people that follow you. It’s important. I’ve seen that with healthcare, it’s the last bastion to catch on. It’s almost reluctant to want to make that move. Talk to us a little bit about, what are some of the significant changes you’ve seen from before COVID to now that this online branding has helped you create?
Before COVID, I noticed that it was beginning. I noticed that on LinkedIn, people were putting some content out there. They were creating a brand. There were only a few that were doing it, and I watched you being one. I was watching and I’m going, “This is happening. This is how we are going to do it.” Every other consumer product group, consumer packaged goods, and things of that nature, they are all on, whether it be Instagram or any other social media. That’s where social media influencers live. This is how they are doing it.
You then turn to the medical device, and you hit the nail on the head. It’s archaic. There was nothing there. I saw all this happening and said, “This is the time to engage in this.” If you are on the LinkedIn profile, there’s a gentleman by the name of Matthew Scott. We knew each other way back in the day at a company we both worked with. We talked a lot about different things, and I brainstormed. I decided that I needed to create my online brand and my brand all the way around. That’s why I decided to do that. I made the commitment that whether it’s posting daily on LinkedIn, I made a goal to do it once a day for a year and come out with innovative content every day, if possible.
Do the podcast and these reviews where I’m out reviewing products, using video, and doing that branding. When COVID did hit, it jump-started it all. Now, I noticed there are several people who are migrating that way but I heard an interesting statistic that on LinkedIn, 98% of the people who are on LinkedIn don’t post any content. They don’t do anything. They lurk or they post a resume. I don’t know what they do. It’s interesting that still, to this day, we have such a large group of people who are not embracing and creating a brand. With COVID, it is even more accelerated. It is happening.
We work with a few individuals who want to get themselves out there. They want to be seen but all they know are to postmarketing material for maybe the company they work for or they are going to reshare something that they’ve seen. They don’t understand the concept behind original content. We are not going to get into how to make original content right here on this episode but talk to us a little bit about what value have you seen from having more original content? From your perspective, as someone that decided to get on this platform and committed to doing it for a year, what value have you seen in giving people that personal touch?
It came to light when we were able to go to our first conference, and it was out in Las Vegas. I walked in the door and introduced myself to people that I had never met before. They go, “You are the podcast guy.” I got that 5 or 6 times that I was like, “I guess I’m the podcast guy now.” It was interesting. Another gentleman said, “I saw you throw that frame off that rock, and that was so cool that you did that.” I’m going, “What is he talking about? That’s right.” I took an Orthofix frame and threw it down a mountain in Maine. He had said it like I was throwing something on a rock or something but I couldn’t figure it out.
I realized that within a matter of hours, I had that many people come up and talk to me. I went, “This is exactly why we are doing this.” I’m not the brightest guy in the world but I was like, “This is how people are communicating. People are consuming content.” Even if you don’t think that people are consuming content or even if you are somebody who doesn’t think you are but you’ve jumped on LinkedIn and rolled by a video and go, “That’s interesting.” You are consuming content.
I like to think about where this is all headed and what’s ultimately going to happen. We don’t know the future and don’t have crystal balls but I would love to hear your best guess. Where do you think we are going in the next few years with MedTech sales specifically and utilizing LinkedIn, becoming content creators, and putting ourselves out there? Where do you think this is all headed?
It’s going to become an integral part of the sales process. I believe that instead of spending the time going and knocking on doors, this is the virtual knocking on doors, and your time is going to be so much better spent in creating positive activities. Whereas before, our world was a lot of, “Let’s throw it up against a wall and hope it sticks.” I’m not saying the personal touch or the face-to-face meetings are going to go away because they are not.
They are going to become even more important because they are going to recognize you because of your brand and what you are doing. They are only going to want to meet you. The difference is they are not going to have this face guard up about, “I don’t know this guy. I don’t know this lady. I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”Part of moving forward is creating your own brand and having brand recognition. And it's not the name of the company you're working for, it's you. Click To Tweet
That’s what this does. It creates a level of trust.
That’s why people buy from who they trust, and that’s where it’s going, in my opinion. As you said, we don’t know. A few years from now, who knows? We don’t have a crystal ball but if it follows the same trajectory, that’s what’s going to happen.
One thing that I’ve seen too that’s really picking up is the customers when it comes to medical sales. They are realizing the value of branding themselves. You are seeing surgeons left and right coming up. They were already thought leaders but they are making it a point to become thought leaders on this platform. Again, where do you see that going? Do you see that picking up and becoming the standard? Do you see it still being fringe, and maybe they won’t? Where do you see it happening?
I believe it’s going to become the standard for those independent surgeons and independent physicians that are out there. I say independent, even in the hospital setting. Even in a hospital system, they are hospital employees. The way to differentiate yourself and build trust no longer are the days, and doctors can tell you this more than anybody. If somebody decides, “That says Dr. Smith on the door. I hope they can help me. I will walk in the door.” They are going to go find out and learn.
Dr. Scott Sigman is out of Massachusetts. His hashtag is ThePro. If you watch his content and the things that he’s doing, how can you not trust that guy? I guarantee patients go out there and look for somebody who can do some type of shoulder procedure and they go, “There’s Scott Sigman. I saw him.” When I went and put his name on LinkedIn, there he was, walking on a beach with his hair flowing or whatever. That’s going to become the norm, and there are several surgeons who are starting to do that.
Let’s get back to you, Eric. You have this distributorship. You created this podcast. You’ve created a brand for yourself. You are involved in other projects where you are doing a lot of the things that I’m doing. You are showing people how to get into this industry and how to be better within your role. What do you want for the future? If you can project to ten years, what would you like to be able to say you’ve attempted to accomplish?
One of the other projects that we started working on is a platform that allows for those who want to get into medical device sales or who are in medical device sales to learn or gain more knowledge and find more educational resources. I’m doing this project with Matthew Scott. It’s very rewarding to me because there isn’t a platform out there that somebody can go and access, whether it be vertical within medical sales or whether that’s going to be anything within the medical device sales space. There isn’t a platform out there, so we decided to create that. We are doing that. We are getting some of the most talented course creators around to come on the platform.
Hopefully, that’s where our legacy will be that we are able to create a platform like that and have so many individuals who will be able to learn online wherever they are, anytime, any place or anywhere. Not drop everything and go to a two-month course somewhere away where you are there. Again, using COVID has always been the catalyst for all these things but it taught all of us. Back in the day, people were never going to say, “I’m going to work from home 3 out of 5 days a week.”
People are like, “No, you are not. No way,” but here we are. Ironically, for these individuals who thought they wouldn’t have the work productivity, it’s even better. That’s where I said, “We can have the ability to access some of the top content and course creators in the device space who have done it. They walked the walk and talked the talk. People can go and learn from those people. That’s where a lot of the excitement is.
Eric, is there anything else you would like to share with the audience, the people who want to get in, that are in and are leading the way?
What I would like to share is if you or anybody reading this, I was always one of those people who loved the company that I worked for. I always gave my all in that company, and you should always do that but part of that moving forward is creating your own brand. Moving forward is having brand recognition, and it’s not the name of the company you are working for. It’s you.
That’s what the focus should be for you. If you want to accelerate your career within the organizations you work in, you can follow several people on LinkedIn who worked for big organizations and are building their own personal brands. That’s what people are going to use. If you want to move to different companies or create a side hustle, that’s what I believe, and the number one thing should be if you want to have something to utilize for your future.
Eric, thank you for being on the show. This is an excellent time with you, and we will be keeping tabs on you. We look forward to seeing more of your content.
Thank you, Samuel. I appreciate it. I love everything you are doing as well. Thanks for the opportunity to be on.
That was Eric Anderson. Make sure you check him out on LinkedIn and take a look at some of those valuable resources for medical sales professionals. Maybe you are reading this episode, and you are someone that wants to get into medical sales but you’re not quite sure where you want to be. Do you want to be in pharmaceutical sales? Do you want to be a medical device sales rep? Do you want to be a capital equipment sales rep or maybe a testing a diagnostic sales rep?
You are unclear and not even sure how even to start looking. Stop wondering and spinning. Go to EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Attain Medical Sales Role. Fill out our application and have a conversation with us. Let us help you find the right fit for you within this industry and get you into the position you were destined to be in if you are someone that’s in the medical sales field already. Maybe you are a medical device sales rep, and you have been thrown into a territory. You love the company, the products, and the people you work with but you don’t feel you have the training to get things in order.
You are not sure how to even set up your territory and put together that business plan that’s going to get you the results you are hoping to achieve by the end of the quarter, let alone the end of the year. Why wonder? Why sit spinning and staying up late nights trying to make things work that you don’t even know how to make work? Instead, visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance, and take a look at our medical sales training program. Fill out the application, submit it, and have a conversation with us.
Let us help you get that territory to a high-performing territory, be much more impactful in your position and get you to Winner Circle, President’s Club, and that promotion you have been eyeing or whatever it is you are looking for. To improve your progress in your space and accelerate through your career, let us help you make it happen again. As always, we do our best to bring you guests that have innovation, resources, and different ways to be more impactful in your territory and with your providers and ultimately help your customers do more for patients. Make sure you tune in for another episode of the Medical Sales show.
- Matthew Scott – LinkedIn
- Scott Sigman – LinkedIn
- Attain Medical Sales Role
- Improve Sales Performance
About Eric Anderson
We are a patient care solution organization enabling surgeons to utilize cutting edge technologies in their practices.
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