Evaluating Contract Sales Organizations for Medical Device Companies

    Has your medical device company hit a sales slump?

    It can be hard to focus on building your sales team when you’re testing a new market or getting ready to launch a new product.

    A contract sales organization (CSO) might be just the solution to allow you to increase sales while you focus on more important tasks. They can fill in gaps, or you can fully outsource your sales team and the logistics needed to get them producing quickly. CSOs give you the flexibility to scale your sales force up and down as needed while helping you control your costs.

    The question is, how do you evaluate a CSO to find the right partner? Let us show you six ways that you can assess potential CSOs to find the right one for your medical device company.

    6 Ways to Assess Contract Sales Organizations for Medical Device Companies

    You need to choose the right CSO that will be professional, efficient, and effective at helping you meet your sales goals. They should be transparent on their processes and successes, fit in with your company culture, and have your best interests in mind.

    The CSO that you choose will play a vital role in your company’s success, so it’s important for you to thoroughly review your options and find the right partner.

    1. Evaluate their Record of Compliance

    The medical device industry has unique challenges when it comes to compliance with different regulatory agencies. You have rules, regulations, and obligations to follow — the cost of failure it steep.

    In the sales field, one of the biggest issues you face is off-label marketing. Off-label marketing is illegal and tightly regulated by the FDA. Failure to comply can, at best, ruin your reputation with consumers and medical professionals. At worst, it can also cost your company millions in lawsuits.

    Your sales team needs to be very clear on the usage of your device and what is — and is not — allowed in their marketing. To ensure that you hire the right CSO for this complex task, you should ask to see their Record of Compliance. You also need to understand how they train their staff to ensure that the messaging they use is within the boundaries of your label claim.

    2. Ensure They Are Fit for Your Needs

    Before you choose a CSO, you need to have a thorough understanding of your own needs and goals.

    • Are you launching a product?
    • Will you be opening a new territory?
    • Is developing a scalable and repeatable sales strategy at the top of your list?

    Taking the time to define your objectives will help you communicate your needs as you interview CSOs. The CSO that you partner with needs to have experience helping other companies like yours with similar goals. Ask them to share case studies or examples. Also, ask them what their strategy will be for helping you meet your immediate needs and reach your goals in the future.

    3. Examine Their Level of Expertise

    Medical devices are a pretty broad category. Simply choosing a CSO that has experience crafting sales strategies and boosting sales for medical devices isn’t a great way to ensure a good fit.

    Instead, you want to make sure that they have experience in your specific vertical. Medical devices can range from simple devices like bedpans and tongue depressors to state-of-the-art imaging and robotic surgery equipment.

    With so much variety in the industry, you need to find a CSO that understands your product, has knowledge of your target market, and can comprehend the value of your device and how it impacts doctors and patients. Be sure to ask for examples of similar campaigns that they have worked on and what their results were.

    4. Determine If They Offer Reporting Integration

    Success in any business is determined by your ability to set goals and track progress. In previous steps, you identified your goals and how the right CSO partner can help you reach them. Now you need to determine how you want to track results.

    Talk with prospective CSOs about their reporting tools.

    • Does their technology integrate with your own internal systems in a way that’s helpful to you?
    • Will you be able to see the data that you need to see?
    • How will you work together to define what a successful engagement will be?

    5. Assess How Responsive Their Support Is

    “The greatest technology in the world hasn’t replaced the ultimate relationship building tool between a customer and a business; the human touch.” - Shep Kyken

    Outsourced sales agents will be the front-line for your company. They will be working with potential customers and representing your brand.

    Customer service is crucial to retain customers and attract new ones. Your CSO needs to have strong customer skills — primarily the ability to be attentive and respond quickly to customer questions.

    Ask your prospective CSO how they train their staff on providing support to potential customers. What ongoing training opportunities do they provide?

    6. Understand Their Time to Market

    A good CSO will have a process in place to deliver results. Their process will have a proven track record and is scalable and repeatable for your business. They will have experience in your industry and in achieving your goals.

    All of this experience means that they should be able to provide a realistic timeline in which you can expect to start seeing results as well as provide a projection of when your target goals should be reached.

    Ask them to describe their process and share case studies of similar companies with similar goals. Examine their processes and ensure that they are meticulous and organized.

    Set Your CSO Up for Success

    Leading device manufacturers know that focusing on quality results produces sustainable market advantages. Your new CSO will be helping you reach new people with your brand, but it’s up to you to build a brand worth marketing.

    Qualio helps emerging life science companies like yours focus on your quality instead of getting buried in tools and systems. You can make a break from disconnected data, people, and sources to empowering growth and crushing compliance audits with full visibility and control.

    We’ve assembled some of our best tips into one powerful ebook that will give you all the details that you need to use quality as a competitive advantage and boost your CSO’s results.

    Download your free ebook: 7 Things You Can Do Now to Improve Quality in Medical Device Product Development.