Author: Sean McCarthy
A medical device sales manager has plenty to worry about when it comes to what your sales reps are doing in the field to reach their sales goals. Are they making enough calls? Are they in surgery enough? Do they have the tools they need? Where are they when you try to call them? But in today’s current regulatory environment, a sales manager’s biggest worry is what they are saying when in front of customers. How do they convey the message when they are standing at the scrub sink or in the physician’s office?
The stakes are higher today than ever, and the consequences to your sales reps and the medtech company may soar into millions of dollars if your rep goes down the off-label path. What can you do to equip your sales force to make sure they remain on-message and not off-label? Three things:
- Educate: Your reps need to know what uses are approved or cleared and what is off-label. Before your quarterly sales meetings, review current best practices and emerging uses occurring in the field and consult with your in-house legal, regulatory and/or compliance to avoid being caught off guard by trends. Some of your products and devices may inevitably be used off-label, so prepare your reps do the right thing.
- Practice: Have your reps role-play these situations at sales meetings so people know how best to address off-label marketing issues. Practice the elevator pitch and the scrub sink in-service to make sure sure that they won’t go down the wrong path. Practice how to handle an unsolicited request–or whatever company-approved process exists for handling these off-label questions–and still provide the education needed for the physician and staff.
- Participate: Make sure that you are spending time in the field with your reps, listening to their presentations and continuously coaching them. Encourage them to call you with any questions about safely and appropriately navigating these off-label questions.
Sales reps are still an important resource to the clinicians for valuable clinical information and trends from their colleagues. They are interacting with physicians and other HCPs nearly every day. Surgeons will often come back from a society meeting having talked to their colleagues about new uses; be prepared for this. Just remember that you can provide off-label information only where, when and how your company’s procedures dictate. Finally, remember that clinicians are now being asked to report off-label marketing through the FDA’s Bad Ad program*.
- Top Three Off-Label Marketing Strategies and Tactics (goodpromotionalpractices.com)
- Save a Sales Rep: Wisdom from a Front-Line Trainer (goodpromotionalpractices.com)