Preventing the Death of Medical Device Sales

July 13, 2022

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The medical device sales industry is slow to change. It’s behind on how hospitals and physicians adopt and adapt to buying, sales strategies are out of date, and increased costs are leading to diminished returns. What are specific tactics that MedTech companies can take to develop their sales process?

In this episode of the Global Medical Device Podcast, Etienne Nichols talks to Omar Khateeb about preventing the death of medical sales with new data that shows where you can find prospective buyers for your medical device products.

Omar is the founder of Khateeb and Co., which helps MedTech companies grow sales and drive product adoption through social media and content.

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Some highlights of this episode include:

  • Omar describes the death of medical sales as the death of an old way. The world has changed and buyers in every industry have become more sophisticated. Social media content now influences buying decisions.

  • Rather than unscheduled clinic and hospital visits with physicians, Omar describes the new way of medical sales as liking, commenting, and resharing their content.

  • LinkedIn and other social media channels are powerful for communication and influence. The real value is building thought leadership and creating attention-getting content to persuade someone to meet with salespeople.

  • Companies need new categories or different ways of doing something. A marketing campaign should include: What problem do you solve? Who do you solve that for? How are you solving it in a unique way?

  • Be as specific as possible because your message needs to resonate with specific people. If you can’t satisfy one specific person, how can you satisfy an entire market? The riches are in the niches.

  • There are pitfalls that some people and companies get into when utilizing a social media approach on their own. Spend more money to buy time. You can always make your money back, but you cannot get your time back.


Omar Khateeb on LinkedIn

The Death of Medical Sales: Igniting a New Future

Upending the Medtech Sales Model

Alex Hormozi on LinkedIn

Geoffrey Moore

Greenlight Guru YouTube Channel

MedTech True Quality Stories Podcast

Greenlight Guru Academy

Greenlight Guru Community

Greenlight Guru

Memorable quotes from Omar Khateeb:

“How the buyer’s journey for everybody, not just doctors, has become more sophisticated.”

“We should be selling and marketing to physicians and hospitals using social media.”

“You shouldn’t be posting stuff about your product as a salesperson.”

“The riches are in the niches.”

“I help medtech startups drive technology adoption and gross sales using social media.”


Announcer: Welcome to the Global Medical Device Podcast, where today's brightest minds in the medical device industry go to get their most useful and actionable insider knowledge direct from some of the world's leading medical device experts and companies.

Etienne: Everyone. Welcome back. Today, we're going to be talking to Omar Khateeb from Khateeb& Co. The title of today's episode is The Death of Medical Sales. So we talk to Omar, we get into the weeds. So if you wait till the last third of the episode, he really starts getting into specific tactics on what companies can take as they're developing their sales process. But what he talks about is the industry is behind in adapting on how hospitals and physicians buy. He talks about the sales strategies that are out of date and the driving increased costs with diminishing returns. He talks about some of the new data that shows where you can find those prospective buyers for your medical device products. So this is an interesting episode. It's a little bit different than maybe what we've done in the past, but he gives some very actionable insights. So definitely encourage you to stick around to the end and thank you for listening. Hey everyone. Welcome back. Omar, it's good to be with you today. How are you doing?

Omar Khateeb: I'm doing well, Etienne. It's a pleasure to see you, pleasure to be on the show.

Etienne: All right. Well, when we were talking about doing an episode, you sent over a title called The Death of Medical Device Sales. I wondered if you could maybe use that as our introduction. You tell me what does that mean to you?

Omar Khateeb: Yeah, yeah. Really, it is the death of the old way. So just for context for your audience, my background was I'm a former medical student. So 10 years ago I was in medical school in Texas, realized I wanted to go into technology and I dropped out. Fortunately I was on a full scholarship so I didn't have any debt. And I started off carrying the bag. I was in sales. Started in surgical robotics at Missouri Robotics, which is a robotics spine surgery company. And after some time in sales, I moved into marketing. And as they say, the rest is history. So since then I worked at Potrero Medical, Restoration Robotics, essentially companies with very expensive, first of its kind technology ranging from robotics to SaaS, to predictive health and AI, and taking it to new markets. And so along the way, I paid close attention to what other industries were doing and how the world was changing. Specifically the use of digital marketing, social media, and how the buyer's journey for everybody, not just doctors, has become more sophisticated. Even the way you and I decide to buy soap. We don't just go to our grocery market and buy it. A lot of times, if it's done the right way, we might look at some reviews online, maybe read something about it. Maybe there's somebody who we follow who uses a certain type of soap and that influences our buying decisions. And so to circle back to your question, the death of medical sales, since 2015, I've been a strong advocate in a very provocative way about we should be selling and marketing to physicians in hospitals using social media. And everyone agrees with that, especially... I mean, you can't deny it anymore, but our industry has been very slow to change. And I would say, I don't know if it's out of pure ignorance and stupidity or laziness, or both. Maybe not enough fear of the future. But the pandemic happened in 2020. And I said," Hey, finally." I was like," This is going to be the thing that makes them change because now everybody sees,'Oh my God, when we can't go to the hospital, we're screwed. We can't hit quota. We can't sell, we can't market.'" So I was like, that's the thing. And I remember a few months into the pandemic, nobody really changed. They were still doing their old outdated ways. And so that inspired me in 2020 to write this article called The Death of Medical Sales. And in it, I describe how the old way, which is showing up with no permission, interrupting people during their work hours, and just trying to leverage force your way into a meeting, to just show up and throw up your product, is done. And that got a lot of attention. And some organizations actually took that to heart and changed. SI- Bone, which you might know them. They're a large, publicly traded spinal technology company. They're president, Tony Recupero, spoke with me a few months ago and told me that when he read the article, he's like," I thought it was a little crazy, but when we read it, you were right. All those things are true." And that actually inspired him and his organization to hire a VP of digital marketing out of the consumer world. And so fast forward to today, and sorry for the long winded intro, but I felt like this necessary background, a lot of these companies have not changed. And my heart goes out to all sales people because while I'm very hard on sales people, their quota, quota went up for everybody. 17, 18, 19, 20%, 30% increase in quota. Very aggressive goals. None of these companies have spent a dime saying," Hey, we're going to train you on a new way to sell. We're going to teach you how to be persuasive through emails. How to you use social media like LinkedIn. Because that's where our customers are having conversations." Yeah. How do you leverage that to grow a pipeline? They haven't done any of these things yet. They've expected more from their sales teams and they've laid people off. If you look in the pharma world, and this is happening in our industry too, Pfizer who made 80 billion last year... Reuters came out with an article. Pfizer laid off a significant portion of their sales team. They didn't mention how many, but probably definitely closer to the thousands. And the reason they cited was that their customers want more digital first engagement. And laid off 500 salespeople for the same reasons. And they're not even bothering training people. So that's why I wrote that article. And I actually rewrote it and updated it for 2022 with more data to say, hey, don't take my word for it. Look at this data. You cannot deny the data of how many physicians are spending time online, how many of them are preferring that kind of engagement. And so that's a big foundational piece to my work and what I believe and the things that I'm trying to accomplish.

Etienne: So the old way, as you mentioned, just showing up, doing their thing, trying to get those conversations in person versus the new way with social media marketing and all the other different aspects that you mentioned, what are these more specific things that people can be doing though to leverage this new way? And maybe you can describe a little bit about what you mean by a new way.

Omar Khateeb: Yeah, absolutely. So let's look at costs. It costs a lot to have a sales team. They're very expensive people. And so the old way... Let's look at it from the point of view of a startup. And just for context, I'll share the link, but there's a talk that I was part of that was about upending the sales model at the Life Science Intelligence Emerging Med Tech Summit. It's our industry's most prestigious investor summit. Greenlight Guru is a big sponsor there. You guys put on a great show. You sponsored a great happy hour, which I love. I always love interacting with your team. But the old way is you raise a bunch of money and you hire 20 salespeople who have some experience and some network in the industry and they go hit the pavement and sell. Well, the problem is what happens when you don't have hospital access? And a lot of these physicians already... Keep in mind, what salespeople don't realize is that if you're a doctor, it's not just the med tech medical device salesperson who's showing up unannounced. There are biotech, there's people selling accounting services, legal services. The average doctor's office gets anywhere from 17 to 20 salespeople a day.

Etienne: Oh wow. And they may not even be the right person to talk to.

Omar Khateeb: Exactly.

Etienne: Okay.

Omar Khateeb: Yeah. So imagine you're trying to do your work and that happens. So you can be the greatest salesperson on the planet. You can be the amazing trusted clinical advisor with all this knowledge. You can genuinely help a surgeon let's say with their clinic, with their procedures. They're not going to listen to you because you're being grouped with all these other spammy, annoying, cringey salespeople from all these industries. Versus let's talk about the new way. My company, Khateeb& Co., we focus on helping med tech companies grow sales and drive product adoption using social media. As of today, here's some data. Let's look at orthopedic surgeons. Orthopedic surgeons last month on LinkedIn... You can pull this data. It's publicly available on LinkedIn. Last month in the United States, there are 22,000 practicing orthopedic surgeons, according to definitive healthcare. Of those 22,000, if you look on LinkedIn, there's around 16, 000 to 17,000 with profiles on LinkedIn. It's a good amount. I think it's actually higher because not everybody says orthopedic surgeon in their headline, but let's just go with that number. Of those 16,000, last month, 2, 000 of them in the United States posted something in the last 30 days on LinkedIn. Meaning that they didn't reshare something. They literally created their own post. Okay. 30 days later, 2, 500 orthopedic surgeons have posted in the last 30 days. Meaning that an extra 500 surgeons, that's a 25% increase, are now posted. And that's not counting the number of surgeons who are actively liking, commenting, and re- sharing. So why am I sharing all this? You mentioned the new way. Rather than going to the clinic or showing up at the hospital and trying to interrupt a surgery or find a way to just slip in clinical knowledge, something to impress a surgeon, go on LinkedIn where they are having deep clinical conversations. They're literally posting their cases or posting a picture like," Hey, I just did my first case using this implant or this robotic system or this approach." And you'll see these posts, there's like 20, 30, 40 comments, very deep conversations. All physicians. How many salespeople are commenting? Zero. This is the free money on the table. If you want to impress a surgeon where they're like," Yeah, actually I want to talk to this person," there it is. There's that opportunity. And what people don't realize is that forget about medical devices, for any sales call, when you book time with somebody to meet with you, the reason for meeting is your technology, but that's not the reason they decided to meet with you. Early on, the real reason is that you've done enough to show that you're worth meeting with. So as a salesperson, how do you provide that value ahead of time so you develop that trust, you develop a little authority, a little persuasion so that they say," Yeah, I recognize this lady, Jessica Smith. She engages me on LinkedIn." Or," I've seen some of her posts." Or," I've seen some of her engagement with other physicians. Yeah, I'll meet with her." That's the new way. And that's the tip of the iceberg really.

Etienne: Oh yeah. And you bring up a good point. This is worldwide. When I have people who talk to me about looking for a new job or something like that and I say,"Well, send me your LinkedIn," if they don't even have a LinkedIn, it blows my mind. And similar situation. You mentioned that the medical device industry has been slow to adopt this new way. And you mentioned a few thoughts about why that might be the case, maybe lack of fear of the future, things like that. But I guess historically the medical device industry, we are a little bit slow to adopt certain changes because of the regulatory environment and so forth. But are there any real concrete reasons why? Any thoughts as to why it might be the case?

Omar Khateeb: Yeah. It's because, like most people, people are conditioned for instant gratification these days. And it never made sense to me that if you have a sales... There's this thing in the software... I left med device and I went to software for it kind of like a retreat. So I can be like, how do other industries do it? And I came back to the industry like the prodigal son. But they say in software, your ACV or annual contract value. The higher it is the more complicated the sale, the more that's involved. So if you sell something that's$ 2, 000, you can do little marketing tactics, run some lead gen, get somebody on the phone, make somebody make a decision. That's fine. But when you're selling a deal that's in the millions of dollars and involves multiple parties, you have to have a very sophisticated approach to that. And so I think one of the reasons why our industry hasn't changed is because there hasn't been enough pain. The pain is starting now, but there hasn't been enough pain to change. They've been able to get away with just spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on conferences and stuff. Which I have no problem with conferences. I think that's part of the strategy, but it's hard to understand how a board or a CEO will scrutinize a$ 5, 000,$10,000, let's say social media campaign, even taking a video and saying, we're going to promote this. And they want to say like," Well, what's the ROI of it?" Blah, blah, blah. But yet, we don't scrutinize the ROI of spending what,$ 50,000,$60,000 on a booth space or maybe$ 5, 000 on these hotel room key dropoffs. We don't scrutinize that. And on the other side with salespeople, I know that not every sales... A lot of sales people have tried, but their idea of trying is I'm going to do this for a couple weeks, and the moment they don't get that instant gratification, like, oh, it works, I'm just going to go back to what I know, what I'm comfortable with. So I think that's the same reasons why. I mean, look, if you were an alien and you came to planet earth and I showed you, let's just say, I was trying to teach you how to drive a car. And I'm like," Okay, you've got to start the car and everything." And then after two or three days, you're like," No, this is too much trouble." You've now missed the opportunity to take that car and drive from one location... Let's say to the beach or take people from one place to another. You lose all the benefits of using this vehicle because you were just not patient enough to learn about it. And let's say again, let's say you've never driven a car. How much more difficult would it be if, let's say, I just give you a car and you're there trying to figure out like," Okay, this thing that's... I think it's a key. Where does it go? Go in here?" That's what most people are doing on LinkedIn. Social media, it looks like it's a fun, cute thing, but they're very powerful channels for communication and influence. So I think it's a combination of those things.

Etienne: That makes sense.

Omar Khateeb: Yeah. The last thing I would say on the regulatory side, regulatory is kind of part of it. Larger companies, they make it a lot harder. And so regulatory doesn't want salespeople posting anything. But again, here's the thing is I tell salespeople in my program, and by the way, I'm going to provide a link for your listeners to click on so they can learn more about it, you shouldn't be posting stuff about your product as a salesperson. You can post stuff like when you're surgeon uses it, that's perfectly fine. The real value is how do you create content and how do you get attention so you can persuade somebody to meet with you? That has nothing to do with promoting your company. Let marketing do that.

Etienne: Yeah. So it's almost like building that thought leadership to a certain degree.

Omar Khateeb: Exactly.

Etienne: And we talked about the old way and now some of the new way, some of the reasons why you might use the old way, but can you give a little bit more specific or I don't want you to necessarily give away the secret sauce, but whatever you give away, yeah.

Omar Khateeb: Look, man.

Etienne: Let's have it.

Omar Khateeb: I'll tell you something, on the sales and marketing side, I'm open book for everything. Because my thing is you can watch 10,000 hours of Bruce Lee videos. That doesn't mean you're going to be Bruce Lee at the end of the day. So yeah, I'll give away. So be more specific. What would you like me to share?

Etienne: So let's imagine we have a company that... We'll stick with orthopedic, I suppose. So we have maybe a small company who's developing an orthopedic, maybe a knee replacement, and they want to get on this way of marketing. What would you recommend early on? Maybe they have a sales team. Maybe they don't. How would they build that out? How would they start that marketing campaign?

Omar Khateeb: Yeah. What I would say is the first thing that you have to understand is, and this might sound self- evident, but what problem do you solve? Okay. Who do you solve that for? And how are you solving it in a unique way? A lot of companies think they have this. They really don't. They vomit features and benefits." Oh, our product is this and that." Nope, that's not it either. Who do you do this for? It's like," Well, we sell vascular surgeons and then interventional radiologists." I'm like, too many people already. The one thing, the most valuable thing I can tell people from a marketing standpoint is that it's a noisy world and people are going to forget a lot about you. You have one chance to insert a new belief in someone's head. And so that one belief which you can say is a sentence, what is it? And if you look at a formula that breaks it down, it's there is a new opportunity to solve an old problem and satisfy an existing desire and relieve an existing pain. And it's only possible through this new mechanism. I'll give you a very perfect example. Let's get creative here. Subway. Subway sandwiches. Here's the belief that Subway came up with. Eating healthy fast food. That's the new opportunity. Think about that. Eating healthy fast food. That gets attention. Eating healthy fast food is the key to losing weight and staying very fit. There's the existing desire. And there's the pain that wants to be relieved. I want to lose weight. I want to look good. Okay. And it's only possible through a diet of Subway sandwiches. Now, that's the vehicle. Very, very simple. So a lot of companies, they can't tell me that. And what I would say is that to take this a little bit further, along with that belief, I tell this to marketers. If the company is not designing a new category or a truly new and different way of doing something, don't go work for the company. Just don't. It's a bad career move. What that means is that... Look, Greenlight Guru is a great example of it. Okay. Do you guys get compared to other quality management systems? Yeah, of course you do. But you guys are very new and different. You can't directly compare what you guys do to let's say an arena. It's two completely different things. So instead of forcing a comparison, which in case your features and benefits, well, which one's better, which one's cheaper, which one's this and that. Which people will do no matter what, at the end of the day, though, you're forcing a choice, which is you use this thing, which yeah, it's really arena or whatever, really well known, all these things, but it's not designed for you. Or you use us where we have templatized all these things. We've designed this very specifically just for you to solve a very specific problem. Which one of these things you want to go with? That's how you position, that's how you market. So I would say this to a startup company. Figure that out. And that needs to be very clear and evident on not only a company page, but your CEO's page, your employees page, because all those pages I just described, like let's say your CEO's LinkedIn profile, that's a website for what you guys are doing. And if you go and search your name... Look, I've created multiple podcasts. I have two podcasts at the moment. I have YouTube channels, everything. You Google my name, the very first hit that comes up is my LinkedIn profile.

Etienne: Yep. I think that is the same for a lot of us at Greenlight Guru. So you mentioned a formula there. What pain, what solution you're solving. And you gave a good example. I love that. You also mentioned who are you selling this to. And you already said, if I'm selling this to an orthopedic surgeon, it's already too broad. How specific do you need to get with that person that you're selling to?

Omar Khateeb: Yeah. This requires a lot of discipline. Even myself with what I do, I'm trying to get more. So I'll make this easy for your audience to remember. The riches are in the niches. I always tell people that. The riches are in the niches. And I have to take this from Alex Hermozi who is a very famous internet entrepreneur, which is when his companies, his portfolio companies aren't specific enough he always tells like," Don't make me niche slap you."

Etienne: Oh man.

Omar Khateeb: So what I would say is... And I can really go down the rabbit homeless, but as you can tell, brevity is not my forte but I'm going to try and be concise. If you think about... You know crossing the chasm, the technology adoption curve?

Etienne: A little. I've heard of it. And I think I might have seen the graph, but let's talk about it.

Omar Khateeb: Yeah. So if you think about... This is Jeffrey Moore's work. So if you think about just a regular bell curve, a parabolic bell curve. Or for those who are listening who don't know what that is, you start at the ground floor, you start moving up. That little line starts to go up like a hill. Then you see the hump of the hill and then it goes back down. Most companies, even if it's a huge company like Striker, when they create a new product, they're at the very beginning of that curve, which means there's not a huge market yet. They don't have a bunch of customers. At that beginning where you're dealing with not even early adopters, we're talking about before early adopters, which is innovators and pioneers, which means somebody who looks at your technology while it's in its first generation, even though the baby's ugly and doesn't work really well, they can close their eyes and say," You know what, I see the future and I want to use this." These are the people that when the first iPhone came out, before the iPhone people even used the iPhone, they were such fanatical nerds about it they lined up day one. Those are the people you want, right?

Etienne: 3:00 AM. Yeah.

Omar Khateeb: Yeah, yeah. So you need to be as specific as possible because your message needs to resonate with that person. And you can adapt your messaging as you go up the adoption curve years later. But at the very beginning, you have to be very specific. So for example, if you look at a robotic platform. Let's say you have a robotic platform you sell to urologists. It's not enough to just say that it's a robotic platform for urologists. You have to say something specific such as we are a robotic platform for urologists who do minimally invasive XYZ surgery out of the office. That is very, very specific because at the end of the day, you're trying to find a niche group of people. Because if you can't satisfy that small group of people, what makes you think you can satisfy an entire market?

Etienne: That's a really good point. I've heard the niche conversation before, but I don't think I've heard that specific point before. That's a really good point. If you can't satisfy that one specific person, why do you think you can satisfy everyone? That's a great point. Okay. Let's say we've got this foundation laid, and I'm calling it the foundation. So you correct me where I'm wrong here, but of who-

Omar Khateeb: Great term.

Etienne: And so forth. Now we've got this information. What do we do as our imaginary orthopedic company? Now we've got this foundation laid, what are we going to use this information or how are we going to use this information?

Omar Khateeb: Great question, great question. You use that information to guide everything you do from a marketing standpoint. So social media campaigns, you're at a conference or whatever. This is like brainwashing people. So it's like when you go to church, there's a reason why all the verses are the same. Everybody says the same thing. Because you do not want your engineer, when let's say an investor comes through or a doctor or somebody and they say," Oh yeah, tell me about your company." And they're saying one thing, your salesperson is saying something else. Everything has to be uniform. The same language has to be somehow designed and implemented, not only your company LinkedIn page, but on your employee pages. So when I was at Potrero Medical, when I sat down with Joe Urban, we talked about what we wanted to do, he's like," We're going to help physicians predict acute kidney injury before it happens through automation and predictive health." So all the employees, we made sure to have on our profiles that where I work at Potrero it's like, driving predictive health or helping physicians predict. So that way it's very clear what we stand for, even though the product can be used for many different things. Now, outside of that, again, all this messaging. A lot of times marketing is not about creativity, it's actually just about consistency. Consistency and persistence. Look, Coca- Cola, if you look it up on YouTube, it could be used for a lot of things. You can take rust off of old things. There's many things. You can make popsicles out of it, everything. Coca- Cola has one use. Satisfying and quenching your thirst. And by the way, I'm very anti soda. But you have to be very specific as to what you do. Because at the end of the day... Let's look at my business, for example. I have an online program and coaching course for sales teams. And then also I do strategy and I help companies with lead gen and webinars, et cetera. I tell people that I help med tech startups drive technology adoption and grow sales. If I stop there, here's the problem. Well, everybody does that. And that's where you start getting into the comparison game. Like, well, how's he compared to this consultant? How is his firm compared to this group? But when I say I help med tech startups, drive technology adoption and grow sales using social media, that's very specific. And I force people to make a choice. And do I lose business over that? You better believe I do. But that's business I'm worth losing because those other people are not the people I'm trying to serve. They require more convincing, more selling. And this is something very important for the people who are listening that are CEOs and salespeople. When you get on a demo or call or even people at Greenlight Guru, you should never be getting on a sales call. Because on a sales call, you are selling something. You're trying to convince somebody. You're trying to do the song and dance. By the time somebody gets on a call, if you really are doing a good job of marketing, every call I get on from my company is a closing call. Meaning that they've already been indoctrinated. They are convinced of this new path of using social media. To date, I have not lost a single deal because someone disagrees with the approach of using social media. Every person, whether it's a CEO, a salesperson, I've even had sales associates get on calls to qualify for my program. The only reason they don't get on is because just at the moment, it's a little bit too expensive. But you get what you pay for. That is it. So every call you get on, it should be a closing call. Yeah. You get on a call and you're trying to do the song and dance, something's not working.

Etienne: That makes sense. So some companies, I can see them maybe adopting this to a certain degree, maybe saying," Hey, I'm going to go at it my own." But you used that analogy, what if you give a key to someone who's never seen a car? Where do you stick that key? What are some of the pitfalls or maybe correlations to that example that you see some companies getting into when they start trying to utilize social media marketing approach?

Omar Khateeb: Oh yeah, yeah. By the way, I can tell that you've been doing this a lot. You ask great questions.

Etienne: Oh, thank you.

Omar Khateeb: This is applicable to both companies and individuals and I'm going to speak very carefully here so I want your audience to listen to what I say. The main pitfalls of trying to do it on your own is will you be able to figure it out? Yeah. You probably will. Will you do it extremely well? Probably not, but let's just assume that you do. In this life, you can always make money back. Always. Let's say you spend$ 20,000, you go to some training and you realize it was the wrong one. I should have taken Omar's course. Okay. That was a shameless plug. Okay. Let's just say you can always make money back. What you won't make back is the time. Because when you go down the route of, I'm going to figure this out on my own, you don't know how long that's going to take. I run a small business and the one thing that I learned is that, and I do, I overpay to get somebody to teach me their skills or teach me how to do things. I overpay because that's the one trick in life that it's kind of like buying time. For me, I run my online program. I was trying to figure something out. Again, I'm a marketer. I've been using social media. And I said," I can either do this myself and I don't know how long it's going to take me to figure this out or when I'll figure this out." There's risks around that." Or I find somebody who is well vetted and I respect and at least have heard of, and I pay a premium." So I paid$10, 000 to be in a specific program just for online courses. I recouped that money within two weeks because they pointed out some key things on my program. I said," Oh my God, I had no idea." Who knows how long that would've taken me. That's the pitfall, man. Time. Especially if you're a startup. Let me tell you the dumbest thing I hear from startups. A lot of these people have raised money before. When you get money, when an investor writes you a check, including myself, like when I angel investment in a company, I'm not writing you a check to sit on the money and let it collect dust in the bank. You're to deploy that capital to accelerate traction. And so a lot of things I hear is like," Oh, we want to be careful where..." Yeah. Be careful where you spend your money. But again, if I audit these companies, I'm like," Where are you spending this$ 5 million you just got as a check?" And again, what doesn't make sense is that the actions I see and the words I hear don't line up. People have very aggressive goals." We want to hit five, 10 million in revenue when we get our FDA clearance this year." I'm like," Great. What's your plan to hit that?" Crickets. Always.

Etienne: Yeah. You mentioned that spending money to get the time back. There's a phrase I heard once that really stuck with me. I think about it quite often actually. Why spend less when you can spend more? When you first think about that, you're like, that seems kind of dumb, but actually the more you think about it, actually, if you can spend more and you can gain that time back, why would you spend less? It makes sense what you're saying.

Omar Khateeb: Absolutely. And something I want to add to this and I experience this myself, which is depending on what you sell, especially for those who are consultants, consultants who they have very, very low fees and essentially they're in the game of, oh, we're the cheaper solution. Don't ever work for a company like that either. Don't be the cheap solution. A lot of times, people who struggle selling, they buy like they sell. All buyers are liars. Like me, I can afford a car. Now when I'm going to go buy a car, I'm going to lie and be like," Ah, that's a little out of my price range." Or like," Ah, I can't do that." All buyers are liars. But when you buy like you sell, meaning that you try and spend as little as possible to get a subpar product and then you're surprised by the subpar results. Those same people sell the same way. Because for them, the idea of getting someone to spend that much money or to do something like that is subconsciously, they feel like they don't believe that will happen. The reason why my program is priced the way it is, and again, it's an expensive program because it's focused on delivering results. The reason why I have no problem selling it is because I buy like I sell. And so I myself have purchased very expensive programs that hurt. They hurt me when I gave my credit card up. But the moment that I got in you also get taken care of at a much, much high level. It's the same thing with getting a trainer. You can go and get a trainer who charges you let's say$ 500 or$1,000 a month, but they're going to train you. You're going to look amazing in six months and your life is going to change. Or you go to 24 Hour Fitness where it's like a$ 20 a month membership and then you get the free, BS training there. And then you wonder why," Oh, I've been going to this thing for a few months. I'm not getting results."

Etienne: The psychology's real. If you overpay for a gym membership, you better use that. At least that's in my mind. I'm like," Man, I got to use this membership. I'm paying this much a month." Versus something that you could," Ah, I could afford to lose that. Whatever." Yeah, the psychology's real. Okay. I'm going to ask you a question. So we laid the foundation as our company, we kind of talked about how to use that information, and then we talked about the pitfalls. You mentioned earlier that you don't mind giving away the secret sauce so I'm just going to ask for a little more detail. This company now... You know what, time out before I ask the question. You probably get some customers who've tried it and failed. And I don't know which is better. A customer who just says," You know what, I'm just going to use Omar," versus somebody who's like," I'm going to use Omar's techniques, fall out of my face and then come back." I don't know which one's better, but I'm sure some are more appreciative than others. Anyway, the question that I have though is if you have that foundation, you've laid it, now I, as a company, I want to go implement that. I'm going to go to LinkedIn. I don't know. Can you walk through this specific company as if I was maybe a consulting call? What do I do next?

Omar Khateeb: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Let's say you have all this buttoned up. Messaging, all this stuff. And your salespeople have their profiles set in a certain way where literally it's branding them as a trustworthy, reliable advisor. But you have things in there that are featuring like key points of your technology. What I would say next is the salesperson has to use LinkedIn. There's two ways to use social media. One is a communication channel and marketing channel. The second part, which a lot of people forget, is that you're using it for intelligence gathering. So if you're a salesperson and you're trying to sell to a hospital, you use LinkedIn along with some other platforms, like let's say Twitter and you use Google. You have to figure out like, okay, I'm trying to sell to this physician. Okay. They're on LinkedIn. Well, who else is in their sphere of influence? Okay. That physician has some partners. There's three partners. Great. Two out of three are on LinkedIn. Well, they also have some residents. Some of those people are on LinkedIn. So I need to connect to all those people. How do I make sure now that they see my content? Well, you go and engage with some of their posts. You go like some of the posts that they have. And there's ways to trigger the LinkedIn algorithm to make sure that some of your content is being seen by them. You also go and look at what posts that they like. So you might discover some new hashtags, some procedures. What are they interested in? And then you start creating content that's going to influence them. That doesn't mean posting garbage about your company. Who cares? How do you create content that's going to endear them to you? So every week, every day, what do you like and comment on that's going to help that network see it? So that includes if they post something from their hospital or their department, how do you go leave a thoughtful comment? Not only just to show that you're reading, have your name pop up, but also engaging them. Let me give you a million dollar tactic. And I've put deals in the pipeline doing this. You're trying to get the attention of a department. You can't. It's hard. So what I recommend is go to that department online, look them up, go to Google Scholar, type in the name of the chair. Look up what they've published in the last year. Okay. I guarantee they've published something. Find a piece, a publication that came out of their department. Take that publication. And I'm going to make this even easier for salespeople. Google that publication you'll see different posts about it. Like maybe New England Journal of Medicine, maybe Elsevier, whatever. Go to the article, obviously read it, screenshot the page. Just screenshot and reduce it down so that it's a square image and it's showing, let's say, the New England Journal of Medicine logo and then the title of the article. Go to LinkedIn, post that image. And then you're going to do three things. You're going to write a scroll stopping hook, which means one sentence, which is... It could be something as simple as," I've read a lot of papers on vascular surgery, but this is the best one I've read in the last year." That's a scroll stopping hook. And you're going to hit enter and you're going to create space. Then you're going to create a sentence that I call a curiosity generating promise. Curiosity generating promise. The curiosity generating promise can be something as simple as," Here are three reasons why I love this paper." Or," Here are the five takeaways that I got out of this paper." Then you're going to hit enter again. And then you're going to write whatever you want. You write those things out. Because at that point, person who's read this or stopped to engage this already stopped. They've paid you. They've paid attention. Now they're paying you with their time. You're indoctrinated. So now they're reading. And you can just summarize the paper. You don't have to do anything special. Go to the discussion part of the paper. You don't have to read the method and design. Go to the discussion, get the key takeaways. And if you're actually good at your job, you'll know how to add your own clinical takeaways because, I don't know, you're selling something to solve this problem. So you should know about the problem, right? The bottom of the post, you're going to use three to 10 hashtags. Let's say you use vascular surgery, vascular. You're going to go look at the profiles of the people you connected with on LinkedIn from this department and see what hashtags they're using. You're going to put those hashtags in the bottom and then you're going to do this. You're going to say," Thank you for publishing this." And you're going to put at every freaking person on that publication. Every single person, and you're going to tag their hospital and you're going to hit publish. And you're going to sit back and wait. What's going to happen is that first... I recommend doing this on Twitter too. What's going to happen is that, especially on Twitter, the person who runs the social media page for that hospital is just social media manager. Nobody's talking about their hospital. When they see something like this, they say," Oh my God, hey, somebody's posting about us? Reshare that. Now." They're going to reshare it. Every single person who follows that hospital on social media... And I've done this with Johns Hopkins, Wild Cornell, Montefiore. And med tech companies argue with me. They're like," Oh, you can't do that. You have to get..." I'm like, I don't have to get approval from the hospital to write something about them. They retweet that. They reshare that. Thousands of people will be seeing that, including all the physicians that follow that account. Then on LinkedIn, what's going to likely happen is that people are going to like that. It's very likely that the people who you tagged are going to like it. To take it further, since you're connected to some of them, I would copy the link to the post, message it to each one of those people and say," Hey, Dr. So- and- so. Hope you're doing well. I hope you don't mind but I wrote something about your recent publication. Here it is. If you can, would love if you can leave a comment because I would love the physicians who follow me to hear from you." So now you're increasing the chances they see it because LinkedIn doesn't notify people very well. You better believe somebody writes something about you, you're going to go read it, right? They're going to go look at it. Let's say they go look at it. They're going to leave a comment. Even if it's just like," Hey, thanks." Whatever it is. But the fact that you said," Hey, I want you to comment, not for me, but because I want my physician followers." He might have five physician followers. They're imagining a bunch of people. They're going to go and put thought into what they comment. So they're going to engage with your content. And let's just say they don't. The mere fact that a physician who by title is a physician on LinkedIn goes and looks at it. Especially if you do it at the right time, like a time where maybe they have a break or maybe it's during the day, within the first hour, it's always called... It's the golden hour of the algorithm. That first hour your post is up the algorithm is scoring it. If it starts seeing, hey, there's traffic coming to this post from physicians, you know what? Let's take this post that Bob put out, let's put it in front of more physicians. Because LinkedIn's trying to figure out, well, this is good content. Bob knows his audience better than we do because he's Bob. Well, let's figure out how this content is good. Let's put this in front of more people. And then after a few days, you better believe that somebody from that hospital, somebody from that department went to the chair. If this didn't happen, one time it's going to happen multiple times, said," Hey, did you see what somebody posted on LinkedIn about us?" And then in five days when you send a message and an email to that chair and say," Hey, I wanted to introduce myself. My name's Bob Ross and I represent this company. I don't mean to cold call you like this, but I'd love to just get on the phone and just get your advice and feedback. I've read your publications." They're going to say," Yeah, I remember you." Is that going to happen every single time? Probably not. But you know what? You've done a good job differentiating yourself from every other schmuck salesperson who's just showing up and just show up and throw up, right? I want to take it one step further and I'll stop. As you see, I don't mind opening the playbook for anybody. Because 99.9% of the people who listen to this are not going to even take action on anything I just said. But just to take it one step further, let's say Bob did all this and let's say it didn't amount to anything. Was it a waste of time? No. Because next time that Bob... Let's say, if Bob has any good at his job, he's going to get a meeting with somebody. So Bob is meeting with another physician. Let's say, Bob is at a conference. He meets with a physician. Bob gets a physician on the phone. Guess what he gets to say? He'll say," Yeah.." He introduces himself, blah, blah. He's like," Oh, by the way, Dr. So and So, did you read this publication out of this hospital? It's really interesting." And now it's not about his technology. Because any salesperson can be like," Oh, did you read our publication on how great our tech is?" Nobody cares. But now when you talk to a physician, you're like," Yeah, I read this very interesting publication from this hospital about this procedure." And it could be completely unrelated to what you do. But the fact that you've shown tribal knowledge, in the mind subconsciously of that person you're talking to, you are now a peer, which makes you more authoritative, which makes you more persuasive, which makes it easier for you to move that meeting further. This is what I like to call black belt level, psyops selling. I don't want to call it a psyop but this is how you make selling... It's not selling anymore. Now you're having conversations that physicians actually enjoy.

Etienne: Yeah. You hit the nail in the head. I mean the Bruce Lee of medical device marketing, I guess. It's kind of like a mic drop. I started to use the word hack and I don't like that word hack because it's kind of like you're using a tool in the way it shouldn't be. But this is a tool that a lot of people, like you said, are just totally neglecting. Thank you for opening the playbook. I think that-

Omar Khateeb: No, no, no. My pleasure.

Etienne: That's fantastic. Yeah. We're coming to the top of the hour, but any additional thoughts? I mean, you really kind of left a lot out there. There's a lot to think about.

Omar Khateeb: Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. For one, I'll provide some links for your audience to check out that I think they'll find very helpful. I do these live webinars almost pretty much every week. I'm probably automating them soon. So your audience can follow me and get access to this content. The one thing I would tell them is this. Is that if I were to recommend... Of course, am I going to tell them, yeah, you should absolutely enroll my program? Yes, because if this is the free stuff, you can imagine what the paid stuff comes with. But my biggest thing is that the quality of your life is going to be reflected in the quality of questions you ask yourself. Always. And so what I would say is that if you're a medical device salesperson, and you're listening to this, ask yourself this. If quota went up and hospital access has gone away and it's becoming a noisier and noisier market, how much longer can I go doing what I've been doing? How well is it working? And even if you hit four out of four quarters. Some salespeople are like that. I have a lot of people in my program who are like President's Club winners. Why are they in the program? Because they realize that they've gotten lucky. Could be that they right market right technology at the right time, but that's not going to last forever. So the question you have to ask yourself is, am I going to waste more time and lose time doing the same thing? Or is it time that I invest in my own career and do something new? Your company's not going to do this. Your company's not responsible. As much as I believe they should be, they're not responsible for your own professional growth. And most salespeople listening to this embarrassingly probably haven't even spent$ 10 on their own professional growth. Like not even buying a book. And so what are you going to do now with your time and where are you going to invest it? Because what you can't do is the same thing over and over again. Because at the end of the day, you end up losing your job, your company has some changes and everything. You only have yourself to blame it. And what I would tell you, the thing that makes me most sad is the people who join my program, and my program, the price of it goes up automatically every week and it's slowed down, but it's increasing. It's definitely increasing. The people who learned about my program, let's say back in January, who joined last week for example, when I talk to them, it's not that they spent more money. It's the sound of their voice of the regret that they knew they should have gotten in at the time but they came up with some excuse like," Oh, it was it's too much." Or not now or something. And they realize they wasted time that they're never going to get back and they're behind now. That's the worst thing.

Etienne: Time is the only thing you can't get back.

Omar Khateeb: Absolutely.

Etienne: That was great. I appreciate it. It's a little bit different episode than we usually have, but I think this is really valuable for our listeners. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast. For those of you who've been listening to the Global Medical Device Podcast, thank you for listening. We will see you again next time. Thanks everybody.

About the Global Medical Device Podcast:


The Global Medical Device Podcast powered by Greenlight Guru is where today's brightest minds in the medical device industry go to get their most useful and actionable insider knowledge, direct from some of the world's leading medical device experts and companies.

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Nick Tippmann is an experienced marketing professional lauded by colleagues, peers, and medical device professionals alike for his strategic contributions to Greenlight Guru from the time of the company’s inception. Previous to Greenlight Guru, he co-founded and led a media and event production company that was later...

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