A medical device manufacturer, headquartered in Western New York, developed a new balance and mobility rehabilitation device for use with physical and occupational therapy in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.
Introducing a novel technology into an established market was a challenge for the manufacturer. This created a need for market education, and required a subject matter expert to participate in the selling process, which tied up valuable resources. In addition, implementation of the device required structural integration within the facility, which was a big investment for the customer. The complexity of the sales process led to a 12-18 month selling cycle.
The company traditionally used independent sales contractors, manufacturing representatives, and some distributors for their new business development efforts. However, it found these sales channels were not a good fit with this product. Because of the longer and complex selling cycle, the reps were not always positioned correctly to sell this type of value-added solution, preferring to concentrate their efforts on manufacturers with products that have a faster sales cycle.
In addition, the company lacked the required front-end sales activity, capacity, and outbound marketing processes to provide a steady stream of good opportunities without fragmenting its existing resources.
Choosing a Partner
The medical device manufacturer realized that without the proper internal resources, it would need to use an outsourced marketing
company to support its sales goals. After reviewing several marketing firms, the company decided to partner with Athena SWC (Athena)
as Athena’s business model and pricing aligned closely with its needs and because of its familiarity with the complex medical sales
cycles in hospitals, physical therapy centers and long-term care facilities.
A Goal Driven Plan
Since this was a new product introduction, the company was interested primarily in new business development and brand recognition. They had spent a considerable amount on advertising to help with recognition, but didn’t have hunters on staff to seek out new customers.
Athena presented the company with an executable, goal-driven plan that would help it develop a sustainable front-end sales
process that is designed to generate and manage new business development opportunities and relationships while increasing
sales rep productivity by providing highly qualified sales leads.
To accomplish these goals, Athena’s processes implement a variety of activities including prospect/contact research, direct mail, outbound phone calls, emails, permission-based e-newsletter, and ongoing follow-up touches to create increased company/product awareness. Each step of the process is strategically designed and Scheduled to provide optimal tracking and measurable results. A Process of Ongoing Improvement is built into the system to allow for continual adjustments based on feedback from these activities.
Getting up to Speed
After the kick-off meeting Athena’s staff quickly came up to speed on the new technology, so they could speak to prospects with confidence about the product’s features and benefits. They even tried the equipment to learn firsthand what therapist and patients would experience.
In addition, Athena worked with the company to develop an extensive sales call script, ensuring that the Athena team’s product knowledge was sufficient to execute successful calls and communication on behalf of the company. For success of the program, it was critical that Athena’s staff was seen by prospects as being part of the company’s infrastructure.
Reaching Decision Makers
The outbound calls and email interactions with industry decision makers and influencers provided Athena the opportunity to gather market intelligence, such as determining how much education on the product was required and understanding which company
positions are the actual decision makers. This allowed them to make adjustments in scripts and prospect lists.
To assist the company further, Athena managed the new sales leads generated from its marketing activities, including regular follow up, setting appointments, providing a monthly review of each lead, determining the probability of winning, quantifying the potential revenue, and providing an aging report, which tracks the time since the last 2-way interaction (phone call, meeting, etc.) with a new prospect occurred.
Athena’s outbound marketing processes allowed the medical device company to accomplish its goal of increasing opportunities and increasing market awareness of its rehabilitation device. In 10 months, the company realized $242,000 in quoted business and has an
additional $1.8 million of potential business in its pipeline.