AMS Relies on Qstream to Boost Sales Rep Knowledge of Medical Device Products
“Very few times do you come across something so simple, intuitive and valuable for helping sales reps change their game.”
In a highly competitive marketplace where physicians and hospital decision makers are increasingly difficult to reach, sales managers at American Medical Systems (AMS), a provider of world-class medical devices and therapies to restore pelvic health, needed their reps to differentiate quickly and sell consultatively, while adhering to regulatory guidelines.
Despite a variety of training reinforcement approaches – such as in- person meetings, post-event emails and quizzes, even CDs that reps could listen to while in their cars – the company found that its sales force’s ability to recall critical product information would decline in as little as two weeks following a sales meeting. “You could see that it wasn’t working,” said Ryan Casey, manager of global curriculum design and development for AMS. “We would have a new hire sales training, followed by advance training, and we could see that they weren’t retaining information at the level we wanted.”
In November 2013, AMS began piloting Qstream with 75 reps from its women’s health division. Every two days, reps were asked to spend three to five minutes responding to simple, scenario-based Q&A challenges using their smartphone or other mobile device. Questions were randomized based on a rep’s specific responses, then repeated until the rep had answered a specific challenge correctly twice before being retired. Game mechanics, such as scoring and leaderboards, made the experience fun and engaging, ensuring reps would want to participate.
Casey and his team identified several critical success factors during the initial pilot:
Communication – Casey gained agreement from AMS senior leadership that “wrong answers” would not be viewed punitively, but instead be considered part of the learning process for reps. “[This was] vital,” said Casey, “and helped us demonstrate that this was not a Big Brother initiative but rather a genuine approach to help- ing reps remember what they needed to know to boost sales performance.”
Content – Questions were thoughtfully designed to represent real scenarios AMS reps might experience in their process to initiate productive conversations and drive purchasing decisions. Explanations were offered for both correct answers, to cement understanding, as well as for incorrect answers.
Competition – Sales reps are naturally competitive. AMS built on that knowledge to make the Qstream experience fun, using the ability to top the leaderboard and compare results against their colleagues to keep reps motivated. “The competitive nature of it – that’s one of the things that drives 99% of sales reps,” said Casey. “They don’t want to be at the bottom of the list.”
During the initial pilot, Qstream was able to drive post- event mastery scores of AMS participating sales reps from a baseline of 68% to upwards of 92%, with more than 96% engagement. “While we love that Qstream provides us with data on what reps know, the real proof are the sales reps who say, ‘I know this information now and used it while selling because of Qstream.’ That’s success,” Casey added.
The data collected during the trial also provided unique benefits for AMS sales managers. According to Casey, “Because we were tracking what sales reps really knew in real time, we could correct any issues quickly, instead of waiting months until it could negatively impact our business results.”
Based on these positive results, in January 2014 AMS debuted three new Qstream initiatives, one for each of its three business units – women’s health, men’s health and prostate health – following the annual kickoff meeting to make sure reps retained the information related there.
AMS also debuted a separate international program using Qstream in seven languages.
According to Casey, “After just nine months, Qstream is now built into our culture as a way of going beyond the ‘fire hose’ of product information we give to sales
reps during Plan of Action (PoA) sales meetings. It’s fun, non-intrusive, works on mobile devices, and helps reps to have the level of conversations that clients require to make purchasing decisions.”
“Even previously skeptical reps are now asking for more Qstreams,” added Casey. “I certainly don’t get that sort of response from other initiatives.”
About American Medical Systems
American Medical Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceutical headquartered in Minnetonka, MN, is a diversified supplier of medical devices and procedures to cure pelvic disorders in men and women. American Medical Systems’ products reduce or eliminate the incapacitating effects of these diseases, often through minimally invasive therapies.