Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Radiology Sales

Sometimes good ideas come in pairs, or even in threes. I've introduced you to PACS-aholic, the new blog from the PACSman and Ms. PACS, designed to give us an inside look at the PACS industry. In today's entry, Mike and Cristen give the PACS sales institution a well-deserved kick in the pants, with some well-justified finger-pointing. This should be required reading for anyone who has even the slightest connection with purchasing a PACS.

I've discovered a new blog that could possibly blow the lid off of radiology sales practices. "Spidey" apparently knows something about this, and his (her?) blog, SPIDEYKNOWS_SALES (, promises to deliver "tales from the streets and rooftops about winning and losing in selling to the Radiology marketplace." "Spidey" is a salesperson, who has been successful at the game, and still likes what he does. Why? "Because I like to win. I like to solve problems and I like to see people have the tools to enable them to do their job better." My kind of sales person; I haven't met too many like him.

"Spidey's" first post is, to put it bluntly, a hatchet-job on the gang-approach to sales, slashing the common practice of bringing everyone from a low-level VP to a low level janitor along for the VISIT to the CLIENT. But Spidey also places some blame on the customer where it is due:
Yet, some clients even demand it...they feel insulted if a "herd" doesn't arrive, because don't numbers indicate how important one is? I wonder how far prices could be reduced and profits increased if vendors and potential clients would focus on learning about solving a problem from the best person capable of solving it? Cut the number of mouths on the Commission food chain and compensate the person or person(s) who go out in the morning and bring supper on the table at night.
And this is what I've been saying in some form for a while. I've been wined and dined over the years, I've been visited by the "herd" and I've been taken on some great junkets. Ten years ago, Elscint took me and a partner to Israel and Germany to look at some new developments in MRI. We flew Business Class, stayed in the finest hotels, and had ample time for touring, at Elscint expense. The irony here is that Elscint's MRI division was purchased the week before we went on this little trip by. . . GE. So, I had a really good time at you-know-who's expense. The bigger irony is that Elscint (and subsequently GE) never even produced more than one or two prototypes of the machines we demoed. Tens of thousands of sales dollars shot to hell. And in many ways, this trip was a little more justified than most, as this was the only way to see what these one-of-a-kind machines could do. But a web-based PACS can be demoed anywhere, anytime, without the entire entourage of suits and accouterments. There needs to be a new paradigm in this industry, with more conscientious investment of time and money directed where it should go, and not toward some administrator, IT-type, or physician's ego. Just show me the machine. Since no one has listened to me on this topic, maybe Mike, Cristen, or Spidey will have better luck.

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