The Death of the Generalist

By Doug Beveridge, Principal and Health Care Practice Leader at The Alexander Group

This is an exciting time for health care. MedTech companies are expanding beyond traditional products and boundaries. Value is moving from a physical product to the information the product collects. 

Most recent insights garnered from ongoing Alexander Group (AGI) research suggest a return of historical growth levels within the MedTech industry. In addition, aggregate productivity per sales head is increasing while productivity per sales resource is flat. This is due to the decreasing investment in the generalist rep role in favor of specialist roles. 

More complex buyers and solutions require innovative approaches to serving customers. Commercial models must evolve to keep up with the customers’ needs. MedTech companies are augmenting traditional selling roles with functions such as clinical specialists, key account managers, junior sales representatives, IT specialists, digital lead generation, field marketing and clinical educators.

In recent discussions with 50+ sales and marketing leaders across the health care ecosystem, some recurring themes emerged about priority investment and opportunity areas:

  • Patient support and clinical support roles: Adding more muscle to support cases, patient reimbursement and economic buyer stories
  • Strategic Accounts: Dealing with consolidation and the importance of properly meeting the needs of more complex/complicated key accounts (e.g., IDNs, GPOs)
  • Digital Emergence: Investing in new IT resources and digital capabilities to better service customers and enable field resources

The need for new job roles, organizational capabilities and revenue motions means an increase in the level of commercial model complexity needed to sustain growth. Sales deployments are shifting from simple generalist to complex pre-sales roles and customer success roles to drive greater demand and improved account expansion at lower SG&A expense. 

Dealing with complexity represents a significant challenge for commercial leaders across the health care spectrum. AGI believes some answers reside outside of traditional health care practices in industries such as high tech where such complexities have existed for many years.


Does your organization have the necessary clarity of coverage, capabilities and enabling support programs to sustain your revenue growth engine? Contact an Alexander Group Healthcare leader today! 

Learn more about the Alexander Group’s ongoing health care research efforts aimed at providing insights around the strategies, roles and investment across the buyer journey.

To hear more about Evolving Commercial Models in the New Health Care Ecosystem, join Craig Ackerman, principal and health care practice leader at the Alexander Group during The MedTech Conference’s Super Session on Tuesday, September 25 at 10:00 am – 10:20 am in the exhibit hall, 200 aisle.

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