Dental Market Insights Blog

How dental suppliers can empower their sales teams in a virtual landscape

Is your team prepared for selling remotely? A data and analytics mindset can make all the difference.

 November 2, 2022

Three years ago, it would have inconceivable for many organizations to envision a future where teams were working remotely and conducting business across multiple time zones without ever setting foot inside an office. These days, it’s a fact of business.

While many team members have thoroughly embraced a remote work lifestyle as the new normal, some in sales roles may struggle with an increasingly virtual world — where the traditional handshake is far less frequent than electronic signatures and Zoom meetings. In fact, recent data from HubSpot indicates that as many as 64% of sales professionals struggle with selling remotely — 21% of whom said “operating remotely made selling harder.” However, dental supplier sales teams who are prepared with the right data will be ready to embrace the virtual landscape and reap the rewards.

The communication paradigm has changed — and sales teams are unprepared

Selling has always been a skill involving direct engagement and a personal level of interaction in order to build strong relationships. Prior to the pandemic, the world was moving inexorably towards the digitalization of the sales process — even so, this technological transformation had barely touched the sales organization. COVID-19 kicked that process into high gear and with great urgency. Forbes recognized this, noting that “to keep afloat, businesses need to find a way to smoothly integrate the digital tools in their channels of sales systems.”

It’s no surprise that some sales professionals may feel as though the increasingly virtual landscape of business makes it a challenge to forge the personal connections traditionally necessary to drive sales. But remote selling isn’t necessarily the only difficulty dental sales reps face in this new digital environment. Consider:

  • Now, it is often not even the sales representative who initiates the process. The potential customer decides when the salesperson should step in and how he or she can help.
  • As dental offices face unprecedented staffing shortages, dentists have even less time to meet with reps (in-person or virtually).
  • The pandemic drove more practices to begin sourcing even more supplies through online sites instead of their usual supply rep.
  • Despite an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, many dental offices are still restricting non-patient visitors, making in-person interaction with staff difficult.

Even amid these challenges and the likelihood that things will never entirely go back to the way they were pre-COVID, dental manufacturers, dealers and labs have a great opportunity to turn the tides in their sales teams’ favor.

Dental organizations can reap the rewards of digitalization by supporting their sales professionals with data & analytics

Research indicates that suppliers who focus on the long term and adopt a growth mindset are poised to succeed in the marketplace. Adapting to a new “digital first” market by embracing data-driven strategies can help these organizations grow even stronger. Data has always been the key to understanding the customer. Sales teams who are empowered with the right data and are coached on how to make the best use of it, will have what they need to forge meaningful connections, even in a digitally-driven world.

Another Forbes article noted, the better the quality of the data that is utilized in an organization, the more confidence users will have in the outcome. Better data enables more accurate targeting and communications, and for those in sales roles where in-person interaction has become less common, working with data that provides behavioral insights is an excellent way to understand potential customers before the first call is even made. This type of data, known as “intent data,” allows sales teams to create a specific profile of the potential customer and refine their sales approach accordingly.

But data and analytics have tremendous potential beyond just providing guidance on who to target. Some reps aren't ready for a remote selling environment and can be helped by having deep provider behavioral insights at their fingertips to better understand their potential customers. In this way, a rep can provide insights to dental providers that they can use to improve their practice’s operations — not just what’s stocked in the supply closet. This can lead to a richer, more collaborative relationship between the salesperson and the provider. For example:

  • Insights like how many dentists are working at the practice and what their specialties are can enable a sales rep to create an personalized outreach strategy that is more effective than a blind call or email might be able to accomplish.
  • Learning whether or not a general practitioner performs a large amount of endodontic or implant procedures can help a rep understand the growth areas of the practice.

Know your customer better and improve the dental sales process

A recent Harvard Business Review article notes that “companies can reap great benefits from digitalizing their sales organizations — that is, using technology, data, and analytics to improve the sales process.” HBR goes on to say that “done well, digitalization increases customer engagement, boosts the skills and performance of salespeople, and supports a more customer-focused business model.”

Deep targeting data, behavioral analytics and the clinical domain expertise to guide implementation of insights with the sales team can supercharge your sales efforts so that members of your sales team will have the tools and confidence to close business — whether remotely on their laptops, or in-person. With provider- and practice-level data from DentalMarketIQ, the #1 dental data optimization partner, it is possible to understand your market and customers, supporting your sales organization every step of the way.

For insightful tools that can enhance your sales team’s confidence and put you ahead of the pack, contact DentalMarketIQ, today.


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About this blog

Welcome to Dental Market Insights, our DentalMarketIQ blog, which we hope will become a source of information and reference for anyone interested in oral health and the dental supply industry. Check back frequently for updates and resources, as well as product announcements and opportunities to connect with us at conferences and events throughout the year.