9 steps for modernizing your medtech account segmentation strategy

The complexity of the medtech purchasing ecosystem has rendered a traditional approach ineffective. Here’s how to get up to speed.

Account segmentation and targeting used to be a pretty straightforward business: Examine CMS claims data to get a read on volumes being performed and compare against historic sales into the account to prioritize sales rep visits accordingly. In a world where the physician was king and efficacy was the metric that mattered, this was enough.

But in recent years, the balance of decision-making power has shifted from physicians and individual facilities to organized customers (sprawling health systems and hospital networks) and non-clinical stakeholders (such as hospital administrators and GPOs). And there’s been a corresponding shift in how decision-makers are evaluating new devices and procedures, to include cost and outcomes as well as clinical efficacy.

So while physicians remain influential in treatment decisions and can play an important role in championing a product with the value analysis committee, they are no longer the ultimate decision-makers and need to be engaged in coordination with the non-clinical stakeholders making the final call. And while procedure and diagnostic volumes are still important, relying solely on this data runs the risk of missing the real seat of decision-making power within an account, or important affiliations and referral patterns that can make your commercial strategy much more precise – and that can potentially impact deal size and the length of the sales cycle.

Fortunately, we have a much more robust set of data sources to draw on, and more sophisticated tools with which to untangle the complex web of relationships impacting today’s device marketplace.

For example, in previous years, a company might have deployed its reps to facilities based solely on ranked procedural data. But used in isolation, this data can obscure some important opportunities. Now, a medtech company might enhance their account targeting by layering analysis based on new data sources and methodologies over that more traditional volume-based stack ranking, and then using a statistically-driven method to classify accounts by level of opportunity. This synthesis of old and new, incorporating the potential universe of unidentified patients, KOLs and network affiliation as well as volumes, can reveal heretofore hidden potential for growth – perhaps a hospital in Jacksonville that wasn’t even on their radar before.

Here are some key factors for success in prioritizing your accounts and deploying reps, whether targeting the individual clinician or at the enterprise level:

1) Look beyond procedural volume in deciding where to allocate resources. Factors like network affiliations, referral influence and as-yet unidentified potential patients can be as or more important than procedure or diagnosis volumes in the context of complex models of payment and delivery.

2) Know what business questions you need answered, and prioritize data inputs accordingly. A basic but oft-overlooked point that can save teams a lot of headaches: Before diving into the data pool, ensure that you’re aligned on the key business questions you’re looking to solve in light of your therapy area, commercial strategy and position in the market. Then, map to the data sources that can get you the best answers. In today’s purchasing ecosystem, that may mean looking beyond CMS claims data alone to leverage other types of data from public and private data sources, including purchasing, epidemiology, EHR, affiliations, social intelligence, publicans, clinical trials, Open Payments and conference engagements data.

3) Secure the talent needed to derive value from those data assets. Assembling a treasure trove of data won’t do you any good if you don’t have the right skills and expertise on hand to manage that data and derive actionable insights for the sales team from it. In addition to data analytics expertise, you need deep therapeutic and commercial knowledge to navigate condition-specific clinical idiosyncracies and place everything in the context of competitive and market dynamics. For example, if you’re logging a procedure like FESS with balloons, you need the expertise to know that physicians may under report balloon codes because they are not reimbursed separately. Missing this nuance could mean that your outputs fall wide of the mark.

4) Prioritize account engagement with a segmentation framework. The opportunity matrix we use places accounts in quadrants based on factors like network affiliations, referral influence, patient reach and volumes, including: low priority accounts; expansion accounts where we can leverage relationships to expand account reach and boost performance; maintain/monitor accounts where we’re seeking to maintain high market share; and high-risk/high-reward growth accounts.

5) Craft relevant messaging tailored to different audiences within each account. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for the multitude of stakeholders and their unique roles and responsibilities. Reps must be able to speak to what matters to each stakeholder audience, whether that’s economic value, clinical outcomes, patient experience or product benefits and value. That means understanding the key decision-making drivers, what they perceive as ‘added value,’ what evidence they consider in making decisions and what types of messages will resonate.

6) Upskill your sales organization’s readiness. Communicating value stories that resonate with multiple stakeholder audiences demands versatility and a much deeper knowledge base among your reps. In addressing non-clinical stakeholders, they must be able to speak to cost-effectiveness and efficiencies, ROI over current therapies, and budget impact; in addressing physicians, factors like ease of use, benefit over existing therapies and reduced risk of complications – not to mention quality of life, treatment satisfaction, tolerability and out-of-pocket costs.

7) Embrace a multichannel approach to rep engagement. With clinicians and non-clinical stakeholders alike swamped, in-person meetings are ever tougher to get. Taking a multimodal approach and using email, phone calls and virtual visits can boost rep responsiveness and fill in the gaps between 1:1 meetings.

8) Align sales KPIs to encourage use of data and analytics. These advanced targeting outputs can only be effective if sales reps are incorporating them into their account planning. Integrate incentives into your compensation structure to promote compliance in usage.

9) Invest in change management. Incorporating these enhanced analytics should be made as seamless as possible for your reps. Have an understanding of how they go about strategizing for their territories, what prep work they do and how they have accessed inputs for planning, in order to infuse their workstream with new data and insights in a way that’s consistent with established practice and minimally disruptive.

Aligning your account segmentation and targeting approach to the realities of today’s complex purchasing ecosystem can help companies realize greater efficiency, deeper customer relationships, bigger deals and faster sales cycles.

However, we understand the many challenges this resetting presents.

Set up time with one of our commercial specialists if you’d like to talk about your account segmentation and targeting needs and challenges.

And learn more best practices and strategies with our recent playbook and webinar resources: