Omnichannel Approach: Masterminding in MedTech World
To get started with an omnichannel approach, MedTech companies must adopt an 'all hands on deck mentality. Only a genuine team effort will result in success. Breaking down barriers between market silos and functions, as well as developing strong governance and execution at multiple levels throughout the organization, are all part of this. Cultural change is also important when introducing these new capabilities. Companies that have implemented an omnichannel strategy report that internal communication was critical in gaining employee buy-in and guiding them on a successful and collaborative journey in a changing culture.
Changes in the sales and marketing functions are also required. Low-performing sales representatives, some of whom have been in the industry for many years and have grown accustomed to simply serving their existing customer base, will face difficulties as those customers migrate to lower-touch channels. Higher-performing representatives who understand how to work within the new omnichannel framework will do far much better.
Marketing for medical technology companies will need to become more agile and data-driven. In order to attract high-quality leads, they must create high-quality content that tells a story and guides, customers, on a journey. In many cases, this will necessitate a marketing transformation in order to build the muscle necessary to empower the various channels.
Steps to Omnichannel Approach
Make omnichannel a C-level priority. Implementing an omnichannel strategy necessitates the involvement of the CEO and other C-suite executives. Because it affects all functions and capabilities and has a direct impact on revenue edge costs and overall business profitability, the C-suite must be invested in the program's success.
Begin small and quickly expand. Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) and testing it in a small number of markets or countries. Then, using the lessons learned from these pilot projects, scale up more broadly while building out customer, technology, and business capabilities on the fly.
Make a concerted effort; no half-measures. A program of this scope is likely to produce sub-optimal results unless there is a serious commitment across the organization. You'll need a strong governance structure in place, as well as a solid operating model that allows for quick execution and decision-making.
The Customer-Centric Strategy Will Drive Success
The product- and rep-centric model has always been the dominant driver of profitable business models in MedTech. For a long time, MedTech companies relied on the strength of their in-person distribution network to deliver product innovations to customers, with other channels of customer engagement serving as a backup. Despite some long-standing market trends that are putting pressure on MedTech leaders to evolve this customer engagement model, many MedTech leaders have continued to enjoy commercial success. These are not new trends, but the pandemic's disruptions have magnified them:
For MedTech, the definition of "customer" is expanding beyond the core clinical and surgical medical device end users. Administrative stakeholders such as hospital management and the C-Suite are involved in purchasing decisions, other physicians may diagnose and refer patients for surgical intervention, and patients themselves are becoming increasingly important.
Based on their personal and professional experiences, these customers already have expectations of a multichannel or omnichannel experience when interacting with MedTech manufacturers.
Many commercial organizations are still under the drive to develop effectiveness and competitiveness while also trying to maximize the impact and effectiveness of their existing field resources.
Although the head model remains the primary interaction channel for MedTech, recent ZS research with MedTech customers (including surgeons and hospital administrators) reveals that customers are already engaging with other channels in significant numbers. They are particularly interacting in virtual and remote conversations with MedTech representatives via clip or phone during and outside of clinical procedures, and through emails, websites, and other online information sources. These customers told us that their interactions with MedTech do not reflect their preferences and that many are dissatisfied with their current experiences across virtual and digital channels. These findings highlight the importance of MedTech companies evolving their customer engagement strategies.
The next-generation model for MedTech manufacturers will be to engage with customers through a combination of in-person and remote interactions that are harmonized and seamlessly integrated with digital and online channels and informed by deep insight into customer needs, preferences, and actions.
How well and how quickly MedTech companies embrace omnichannel engagement will most likely determine whether they join or remain among the industry's leaders. They only need to look to other industries with more advanced omnichannel capabilities to see how these dynamics might play out. First movers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead the omnichannel trend and, in doing so, address significant unmet needs among healthcare stakeholders.