Faster digitization, improvement of communication tools and consolidation of dental laboratories has created headwinds against adoption of full chairside CAD/CAM system for dental offices. Furthermore, higher overall penetration of laboratory CAD/CAM translates into more access for dentists to latest technology that’s often marked by higher investment costs and faster innovation cycles.
2. Equivocal Customers
Our 2021 survey demonstrates persistent hesitation among US dentists concerning going digital. While up to 64 percent of prospects may consider purchasing intraoral scanners, few actually do (6 percent) – a reflection of the challenges faced by manufactures and distributors alike. Based on the outcome of our Mystery Shopping Survey results, the sales process across different brands is underlined by deficiencies in product presentation, objection handling and even lack of clarity in discussing about total cost of ownership during the equipment’s lifecycle.
3. Repositioning the Brand
Manufacturers should focus on creating compelling value proposition for their intraoral scanners – aligned not only with the umbrella brand, but also with third-party service providers and their validated workflows. 3Shape’s long-standing commitment to being an open platform is one such example - despite the brand dominates the global market share of lab software. ALGN’s iTero emphasizes seamless integration with Invisalign is another example - where the manufacturer is positioning intraoral scanner as an enabler for digitized clear aligner workflows.
Companies should also focus on developing attractive new offerings such as bundles of intraoral scanner with implants, clear aligner volumes or even continuous education. Combined, these elements may create a compelling offer that enhances the customer experience and may resolve concerns that could hinder the adoption of intraoral scanners.
4. Sharpen the Salesforce Focus
Convert your salesforce – both internal and external into true digital impression advocates. Our recent mystery-shopping survey highlighted critical gaps in the efforts when advising prospects who are looking forward to digitize their impression taking equipment/ processes.
From our perspective, there were multiple reasons for this disconnect between the field sales and the C-suite corporate strategy of the company: a lack of knowledge among salespeople about some of the potential benefits of digital impressions, inability to talk comprehensively about different intraoral scanners in their portfolio and loss of recurring consumables business (as the Sales Rep could be selling impression kits to the client).
To change the status quo, manufacturers must not only support their distributors to build the relevant infrastructure and capabilities but also incentivize the field salesforce accordingly.
5. Dealer Initiatives
Manufacturers should focus on identifying and optimizing the touch points across the sales journey of intraoral scanners – ensuring consistent messaging & delivery of sales pitch.
Likewise, they should also invest in developing internal champs who may act as trusted advisers not only for customers but also for other members of the salesforce – both internal and external.
Manufacturers should also incentivize distributors to increase the number of test drives (or in-office demonstrations), which would expose more customers to the product. Additionally, encourage dealers to reach out to DSOs while ensuring seamless and unbroken digital and offline experiences.