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Orthopaedic Sales Rep Roles Continue to Be Scrutinized, Redefined

Posted in Health Reform Watch | Jul 2017 | Comments (0)

Tags: Featuredorthopaedic industry trendshealthcare costscost reductionorthopaedic implant costsmedical device sales repsomtecbusiness plan

Expect the role of the sales rep to be redefined as cost is scrutinized throughout the entire orthopaedic delivery system. The OMTEC® 2017 opening Keynote Panel asserted this opinion as they predicted the companies and technologies that will lead orthopaedics through 2025.

The consensus of the panel, which included perspectives from a surgeon, analyst and a sales rep-turned-investor, was that by 2025 there will be fewer sales reps and their responsibilities will have changed.

The conversation began with Smith & Nephew’s launch of Syncera in 2014. While Smith & Nephew leadership has stated that the model continues to capture business, its revenue, profitability and clinical outcomes remain unknown.

Panelists commented that they expect more companies to roll out differentiated service models with the ultimate goal of decreasing the cost associated with sales and inventory management.

In considering the primary functions of a sales rep—surgeon nurturing, surgical guiding and inventory fielding—one suggestion was for companies to take a tiered approach, whereby one set of reps supports simpler cases and logistics, while remaining reps take on more complex cases and convert accounts. 

Panelists did not dispute the value that sales reps bring to their companies and to the surgeon. As we have learned from previous conversations, industry sales leaders and consultants believe that the great reps will become more valuable as companies condense their forces. Additionally, while a portion of the market could be served under a repless model, companies and hospitals would need to invest in technology and resources to ensure that outcomes are maintained.

Scott Bruder


Kyle Rose


Eric Lohrer

Here are the panelists’ predictions:

Scott Bruder, M.D., Ph.D., Principal, Bruder Consulting and Venture Group, Chairman of Spinal Elements said that to eliminate the sales reps’ downtime, companies with broad portfolios across market segments would boost the array of products that a rep supports, meaning that sales reps would not specialize in one product or anatomical region.

Kyle Rose, Principal, Medical Technologies at Canaccord Genuity believes that there will be fewer quota-carrying reps in orthopaedics by 2025. “[In keeping with the theme of] value-based healthcare, this gives companies an opportunity to have a conversation with their [customers], because [hospitals] are basically getting a free scrub tech or a free PA based on the amount of cases these high-performing sales reps see and the knowledge they have from ten to 20+ years in the OR. If [the hospital] doesn’t want to pay for that rep, it doesn’t have to. If they do want that rep there, it’s going to come with a different service model. That evolution will occur.”

Eric Lohrer, former DePuy Synthes sales rep and now Partner, Loreda Holding and Board Member, Lima Corporate commented that removing the rep altogether would require foolproof technology, like a kit with one implant, minimal instrumentation, a technique guide and perhaps even a set staff to assist the surgeon. Keep an eye on the niche market of disposable or single-use systems currently found in spine and trauma.

Companies will take different approaches based on size, but there is an appetite at the hospital and device company level to play with salesforce dynamics. It bears repeating that no matter which size or market segment, success will come to device companies that are able to assist hospital and surgeon customers in sketching out the myriad ways that value can be drawn.

What do you think? We would like to hear your predictions. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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