Medical Device Sales Reps have a reputation as top earners in the life sciences industry. Well, it isn’t so rosy for all of them. Sales Reps are of course taking advantage of CRM systems to increase their productivity. However, CRM alone might not be enough to avoid some sales pipeline disasters that result in badly skewed forecasts and unfavorable results.
When the pipeline is a bit more complicated – many products, diverse customers, and a variety of payers involved, you need a more sophisticated analytic solution on top of your CRM system. Here are some classic sales pipeline pitfalls that could be prevented with a good automated analytic tool.
Minimize Rep Forecast Errors
Your Reps make every effort to provide accurate forecasts but are limited to the data they have at hand to come up with a sound prediction. To minimize unrealistic forecasts, you want to equip your reps with easy-to-access information about each of their customers. You want to keep a customer database with broad information on orders history, payer engagements, supply levels, etc.
Your best bet is an automated analytics tool that doesn’t leave out any information, but doesn’t overwhelm your reps with too many unnecessary details either. An automated analysis tool will look for outliers and trend breaks, and highlight the information that matters for an educated decision.
Avoid Unreliable Forecasts
Even with a robust database of customers, products, and payer contracts, you cannot just trust the Reps’ forecasts blindly. You ought to routinely inspect your pipeline to detect errors early in the process. All sorts of irregularities should raise a flag so they can be double-checked.
You want to catch orders that are stuck because supply is missing; deals that end up losing money, opportunities that are trapped for too long in one of the funnel stages, and any other problem that merits attention.
An automated analytics solution that regularly combs through the data and highlights irregularities is your best bet to avoid lingering problems.
Beware of the Big Picture
Your sales pipeline has several stages. You might be doing very well on the first two, but getting stuck for far too long on the third. Looking only at the total sales cycle time will hide this problem, as the overall time spent might seem quite average.
To prevent this problem, when analyzing your sales performance, make sure to look at each stage of your pipeline separately. Most effectively, look at a graphic presentation that shows each stage and analyzes it separately – it will immediately pop out that on stage three, for example, too much time is being spent. Obviously, there is a problem that requires your attention.
Don’t Get Trapped in a Single Angle
There’s a number of ways you can look at your sales pipeline and analyze its health. To conduct a useful analysis, make sure you’re not trapped in a single point of view, but rather, analyze your forecast and performance in a variety of ways: by product, by customer, by geography, by brand. Again, a big picture might hide details. Scrutinizing these specifics will reveal which products are growing and which aren’t, which brands are driving more revenue, which customers are outliers, which geographies are not supported with effective marketing, etc.
A good analysis toolwill allow you to slice and dice from a variety of different angles and easily make educated decisions where to put more effort.