• Jason Baker

10 Ways to Increase a Surgical Device Sales Rep’s Productivity

The job of a surgical sales manager is a challenging one. One of the biggest challenges that they face is how to keep a team of sellers motivated and producing quality results.

Some of the best ways to make surgical sales reps more productive doesn’t include spending a fortune or sending them through another training class. A few of the best ideas are ones that help to reduce administrative burdens and increase time in the field or on the phones.

The following are the top 10 best ways to increase surgical sales rep’s productivity:

1) Technology

No, you don’t have to equip surgical sales reps with the newest iPhone or iPad, but what surgical sales managers do need to do is to give them the tools to do their job effectively and efficiently. If they are working on sub-par technology that’s outdated or doesn’t run the programs they need to use, it can end up being something that distracts them from selling and keeps them on the phone with tech support more than with prospective clients.

Two items, seen time and time again contributing to the productivity of sellers that are in the field, are 4G iPads and the use of personal WiFi hot spots. This keeps the surgical sales reps connected to internal systems and the Internet, which can be used for a number of things while out of the office.

Each year it’s good to take a technology inventory to see what new productivity tools and technology is available and what might best help to make surgical sales reps more efficient.

2) No More TPS Reports

The movie "Office Space" had a continuous joke throughout the movie that had to do with the “TPS Report” that the employee’s managers kept asking the main character for and focusing on. Surgical salespeople are on the front line and if they are bogged down with administrative duties that keep them from selling, productivity will suffer. Hire an administrative assistant to work with several of the surgical salespeople so that the focus can be on selling and not pushing paper... unless it’s surgical sales orders.

3) Get Out of Their Way

This tip is similar to tips 1 and 2 in that it entails the overarching concept of removing any obstacles that might be distracting surgical sales reps from making appointments, seeing prospects, and closing business. It doesn’t matter what the obstacles are, as a surgical sales manager you need to be constantly looking out for obstacles and finding ways to overcome them.

4) Remote Surgical Sales Meetings

If you are like some surgical sales managers and like to meet with the surgical sales team each week and give them an update on revenue numbers and hot prospects, it’s a good practice every once in a while to cancel the in-person surgical sales meeting and arrange for a teleconference, or just send a quick note to the team with plenty of advance notice that the surgical sales meeting is canceled. In some organizations this might be seen as instability, but if it’s clearly communicated that the intent is to create more time to focus on new business or closing prospects it can be seen as a positive step.

5) Training 

Even though training is typically something that keeps sellers away from selling it’s sometimes what they need to increase productivity and to focus on selling. Maybe the training isn’t standard surgical sales training but having an expert discuss how certain technology (like smartphones) can make a surgical salesperson more productive.

6) Appointment Setters 

Instead of having your top paid surgical salespeople “dialing for dollars” you can find some outbound marketing companies offering “Appointment Setting” as a service. Appointment setters do just that… they arrange for appointments from a list of qualified prospects during times that the surgical salesperson(s) has available. This keeps the surgical salesperson involved in meetings with prospects and closing more business as they can focus more on the bottom of the surgical sales funnel.

7) Introspection 

Most surgical sales managers have a few good people on their surgical sales team, a few great ones and also a few not so great. As a Surgical sales Manager, understanding what makes the top performers perform, and what inhibits the bottom performers from making their goals, is crucial to the success of the surgical sales organization. Without singling out anyone specifically, pointing out the best practices within a surgical sales team and learning from the surgical sales team’s experience is a great way to increase productivity and build on successes.

8) Walk-in Their Shoes 

Ask surgical sales reps regularly what challenges they are seeing in the marketplace and what objections they are getting. If not enough insight is gained by simply asking the surgical sales team, take some time and shadow or accompany them on a few appointments. This will truly provide insight into what they are experiencing so that it can be determined how best to support them.

9) Start an Inbound Marketing Program 

One of the biggest challenges that surgical sales managers face is keeping their surgical sales teams’ calendars filled with appointments and keeping them in the field following up on leads. Generating leads through the use of blogging, social media (LinkedIn and Twitter primarily) and email marketing can increase productivity as well as revenues.

10) Keep Them Motivated 

Every surgical sales rep isn’t motivated by the same things. Unfortunately, not all of them are motivated by closing more surgical sales and making more money. A good surgical sales manager keeps their finger on the pulse of the surgical sales team and knows when to push and when to encourage. Finding what motivates each specific seller can go a long way in making sure the entire surgical sales team is motivated. What works for seller A might not work for seller B and knowing that can make the difference in how motivated they are.


Following these 10 steps for increasing productivity of your surgical sales reps won’t guarantee that surgical sales forecasts will be met or exceeded. However, it will ensure that proactive steps towards improving productivity are in place, and should help set up your surgical sales organization for long-term revenue growth.

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© 2020 by Author Jason Baker