Intuitive Surgical: The Importance of Internal Sales Training

Intuitive Surgical: The Importance of Internal Sales Training


Generally speaking, salespeople are trained
to do sales. In our case salespeople also are trained to help train surgeons and nurses
on how to use our technology. So it’s some additional information in training they have
to get in order to best prepare the surgeons. We have a long training process– with multiple pieces of it, and so the salespeople
fit in part of it. But the surgeons ability to get as most out of the next part of it
is really dependent on how well prepared to the salespeople get them during the first
part of it. So, they have to — the salespeople are not only part of the sales organization,
but also part of the training organization, and what they do is key for the success of
training. The training organization will train both
our customers as well as do some of the training of the sales team. There is also a separate sales training team
that really focuses on how do you train somebody to be a salesperson. But, our salespeople
also need to know about anatomy, they need to know about procedures, they need to know
about the complications of those procedures, they need to know how to do those procedures,
so that they can answer questions that the surgeon has about how do you use this device
in this procedure that the surgeon already does. So, my group, the training group is responsible
for putting that material together. They’ll put the anatomy together, they’ll put the
information on the diseases, they’ll put modules together or tests together. So we
work very closely with the sales training organization because then there’s a different
things that to the salespeople need to learn, and some of it comes from the training side,
and some of it comes from the sales training side.
When the company first started out, because we were just in urology it was pretty easy.
We trained them very very well on prostatectomy, and then slowly added some of the procedures
like partial nephrectomy. And then the next specialty was GYN, and that
was kind of similar. Then they needed to know a couple procedures in urology, and then hysterectomy,
and a couple of additional procedures in GYN. I think we’ve really become more aware of
the consequences now that we’ve gone into general surgery, where general surgery is
four or five procedures. So now our salespeople not only need to know urology– procedures and GYN procedures, but five or
six general surgery procedures. And so we’ve discussed a lot about what’s the best way
to do that, and we actually are now looking at a model where there is kind of an introductory
sales person that will focus on the established procedures of urology and GYN. And then our
more experienced salespeople will focus on our growing areas in general surgery and thoracic. And so then the introductory sales people
don’t have as much anatomy, and physiology, and diseases and procedures to learn, but
they can become comfortable dealing with customers, learning how to be salespeople, how to be
support people, and then once they have that they can then be taught all this additional
anatomy, and procedures, and things like that. So that’s a first for our company, and I
think is really a response to the complexity now of all the procedures that we support.

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