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Alexander Group Study Reveals Physicians Prefer Hybrid Engagement Methods With Healthcare Sales Reps

·3-min read

As patient volumes recover, new commercial challenges emerge

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., October 21, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Alexander Group, Inc., leading revenue growth consultancy to Global 2000 companies, released a new study examining physician preferences for engagement with medical device, pharmaceutical and health tech sales representatives. With third-party vendor in-person access limited in healthcare facilities, many physicians still prefer to interact virtually with their suppliers. In fact, 58% of physicians still prefer a virtual interaction – email, video or phone call with a sales rep – rather than an in-person visit, when interacting with an existing supplier. Such findings suggest that commercial model agility will be vital for healthcare organizations as they navigate the evolving healthcare environment while emerging from COVID.

"The pandemic has thrown numerous curveballs at everyone, including healthcare organizations," said Craig Ackerman, principal and leader of the Healthcare practice, Alexander Group. "With rapidly changing business realities, medical device, pharmaceutical and health technology organizations need to continue employing agile commercial strategies that can quickly adapt. That means doing everything from using shorter planning cycles to building more in-house sales capabilities to strategically adjusting compensation to incentivize talent to perform."

The research is based on a survey that included 100 physicians across private practice, ambulatory surgery centers and hospital settings.

Here are some other key findings from the research:

  • Physicians expect sales rep in-person visits to increase from about 69% of what they were pre-COVID in Q4 2021, to about 89% of pre-COVID levels by Q4 of 2022

  • About 50% of hospitals now require appointments for in-person visits from third-party suppliers

  • 80% of physicians expect a permanent change in their preferences to interact with sales reps because of COVID-19

  • For clinical education and training, physicians prefer about 60% of their interactions with suppliers to be in-person, about 40% virtual

  • Half of physicians surveyed said that group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and integrated delivery networks (IDNs) are either "very influential" or have "total control" over physician decisions on product and service usage

Alexander Group’s research also found that healthcare organizations will need to adjust to commercial challenges beyond changing physician expectations. These challenges include supply chain disruptions that are resulting in significant backorder issues and increased costs, and larger-than-usual staff turnover within healthcare suppliers, with increasing pay expectations.

"There’s no doubt that 2020 made the healthcare industry pivot in a way we never thought it would," said Doug Beveridge, principal and leader of the Healthcare practice, Alexander Group. "While healthcare suppliers have made great strides with changing their commercial models to meet buyer expectations, many continue to search for the right combination of tools and technology to create a digitally enabled, analytics-driven infrastructure. Going forward, a "test and learn" mindset is critical to respond to changing business conditions and deliver solutions that meet customer and patient needs."

Visit the Alexander Group Healthcare Practice, to learn more.

About Alexander Group

The Alexander Group provides revenue growth consulting services to the world’s leading sales, marketing and service organizations. Founded in 1985, Alexander Group combines deep experience, proven methodologies and data-driven insights to help revenue leaders anticipate change, align their go-to-customer resources with company goals and make better informed decisions with one goal in mind—to grow revenue. The Alexander Group has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Scottsdale and Vero Beach.

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Paula Clark
Content Marketing Manager
The Alexander Group, Inc.®

Mary Amenta
Senior Account Executive
Matter Communications

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