Businesses learned to adjust to the changes when the pandemic happened. And selling on social media has been the way to instantly reach your target audience. Join Jeff Smith as he dives deep into a conversation with Samuel Adeyinka about healthcare’s emerging commercial model through social selling. Samuel is the host of The Medical Sales Podcast, and he helps professionals utilize social media to their advantage to grow, connect, and provide value to people. In this episode, he explains how he got interested in the business side of medicine. He discusses how you can build solutions through platforms and enable technology that gets exponentially better over time. It’s time to take your professional career to the next level of personal development. Tune in to learn how to conquer your life and make things happen despite setbacks!
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Social Selling – Healthcare’s Emerging Commercial Model With Samuel Adeyinka
In this episode, I interviewed Samuel Adeyinka, President and Founder of Evolve Your Success. This particular episode is important because it builds upon the last episode that I did on how to gain access to our customers in med tech. I met Samuel in 2021 and he’s been coaching our team at Providence Medical Technology. Content creation to break through the sea of sameness gain attention to our access customers is going to be a key feature. Content creation and cutting through the sea of sameness is going to be a key feature of successful med-tech commercial strategies. I hope you enjoy the episode.
In this episode, we have a guest. The timing could not be better to accompany this arc of the physician entrepreneur. We’ve talked about a lot of different things in starting a company, but should you, as a founder, get to the point of commercializing your medical device or product, you’re going to want to hear this episode. Samuel Adeyinka is the Founder and President of Evolve Your Success. He’s also the host of one of my favorite podcasts called The Medical Sales Podcast. The title alone speaks to Samuel’s background.
We have a lot in common in that. He also was a pharmaceutical sales rep. He did med-tech sales. He worked his way through different parts of companies, but now he is an entrepreneur, building his own business and scaling it by being a value to other med-tech innovators like what we’re doing at Providence. There’s a lot to get into here. We’re going to try to keep it tight, but Samuel, thank you for being on the show.
It’s nice to be here. Thanks, Jeff.
You’re welcome. I’ve been looking forward to this. For the audience, Samuel and I talk often. Even though we have these 30-minute intervals where we speak and talk about him coaching me and our team, what I looked forward to the most was the conversations we had about entrepreneurship. You’ll want to keep an eye on Evolve Your Success and you can find them at EvolveYourSuccess.com because that business has a lot of potentials. I would also follow Samuel because I don’t believe Evolve Your Success will be the last thing he does. With that intro, Samuel, put it on a timeline for us for a couple of minutes. Where did you grow up? How did you arrive at running this expanding empire, Evolve Your Success?
I’m a California native, so I came from California. The Bay Area is where I originated from. In the early days, I wanted to get into medicine and thought I wanted to be a physician. It took me to UC Riverside, where I went to go study Biomed. I was in the Biomed Program. In that process, I learned that there was another side of medicine that intrigued me even more, and that was the business side. I started studying with a scientist and we were working on a diuretic for the kidneys. In working with him, he introduced me to pharmaceutical sales. He said, “You got the personality and have the business interest for this. There’s a whole business side of medicine that you should look into called pharmaceutical sales.”
I looked into it and found interest right away. I got my first role with GlaxoSmithKline back in the day and it took me down this path of pharmaceutical and biotech sales. In that process, I experienced a lot of different things, life events, and what happened like they happened to anyone else. There was a life event that rocked my world a little bit, and that’s a divorce. It happened pretty early on as a young man and introduced me to personal development groups. I was in a pharmaceutical role. My career was flying and performing at the top of the company. I’m doing well. This life event happened, and it knocked me for a loop.More and more professionals utilize social media to sell, and then COVID happened. Click To Tweet
I started asking myself, “How do people get back into the right state of mind to conquer their lives and make things happen after a personal setback>” I was introduced to these developing groups. You might have heard of them. Landmark is one of them. That’s popular, like Klemmer & Associates, Tony Robbins-ish type field, and Les Brown. I’m sure people reading are nodding their heads to some of it. I was fascinated. They showed me a whole new way of living and being that brought me back to not only perform professionally but this whole new level of personal development that I wanted to take into my professional career.
That’s where I decide whatever I do moving forward, even if I stay in the industry. I want to ultimately have some organization where I’m creating this development for other people, whether it is some type of training or development where people are learning more about themselves, how to be performers and different ways for them to do whatever they know how to do even better.
Long story short, it brought me to start a company called Evolve Your Success. In the beginning, it was me, the trainer, training all sorts of sales reps. Think about people in the food sales, real estate agents, resort sales, you name it. I was training people how to be better sales reps. When they found out my background, they would all say, “I’ve always wanted to get into pharma. I’m so curious about the medical device.” At that time, we were training pharma or medical device reps, and any sales rep.
I saw that all of these people outside the industry want to be in the industry. That’s when I realized something needs to exist where people can come from any industry and be able to showcase their skillset to get into the medical sales industry. Hence, one of our flagship programs, The Medical Sales Career Builder. That created this whole opportunity to work within the medical sales space and help people get into the industry. That also continued with our sales training. We knew once our sales shared a little bit more for people that were outside the industry, we helped them get in. For people that are within the industry, we help them perform better.
We were utilizing online tactics to do all of this. I am a Millennial, but I’m the last bastion of a Millennial. Most Millennials were very accustomed to social media. It’s been there all the way back to the MySpace days. Social media was a natural thing for us, and it came organically to us. We started seeing that it was very useful to get a position and also to sell. We started seeing more and more professionals utilize social media to sell, and then COVID happened.
Our company took off at the idea phase in 2018. The actual traction pen to paper and making things happen and execution was at the end of 2019. That was when COVID was around the corner. We were already saying, “Social media is going to be the future. We need to make better ways for sales reps to use this to be more effective.” I don’t even know if it was fake, but COVID hit right when we figured it out. It took off because it made so much sense. What was like a nuanced luxury to dab into social media and tried to get access became the mode of getting access.
Social media became the theme. It continued to grow. That’s when we said, “This is it.” For one, as you know, Jeff, it’s always been an issue to have access to pharmaceutical and medical devices. Let me generalize it. In any medical sales industry, where you need to get access to health administrators or physicians, there’s an access issue. You have either the accounts that believe that a sales rep is too much of a time. It’s a time-waster, in their opinion. You have the accounts that had health administrators that believed it, but the physicians didn’t. You had the fact that so many reps are coming into the fold and there’s too much competition. Accounts are saying, “We don’t have the time.”
This made sense when COVID hit for everyone to go to the social media route. Not only that, there was research now to back that up. When we met, Jeff, I was able to showcase a lot of the research by Gartner. They have data that proves that not only was it in the medical sales space that the customer did not want to experience the sales rep for a number of reasons, business in general. The customer does not want to experience a live sales rep as much as they prefer to go online and make decisions based on their own research.
That created a window of opportunity for a sales rep to become part of that decision-making process by having a social media presence with a social media brand that carried a message that facilitated what their company and what they wanted to put out there as an individual. When you marry that, you focus and stay consistent with that for as short as six months, you can go from a sales rep trying to get access to the sales rep that has your customers searching and want to get in touch with you. We were able to do that with clients and things continue to happen. Ultimately, Jeff, you and I met. Now, we’re doing it together. It’s been quite the journey and very exciting.
Thank you for that background. I appreciate your vulnerability and telling us about your early days. It’s funny when I think about a mental map of what you said. We all start off. We go to school because it’s the law. If we’re lucky enough, we get turned on by some subject. We’re naturally curious. It sounds like, for you, it’s science leaning towards medicine. We’d both know Jeremy Lane or start by starting to take a step to UC Riverside and through the work that you could have never planned that you might do and your mentor get exposed to a business, science, and pharmaceuticals. I’m interested because it is core to the entrepreneur journey, which is life happening. Life shows up.
Everything that we can do to plan for success in our business, but ultimately to be happy, you can do everything right and there are things that are going to be out of our control. I have many friends. I’ve been married for many years. Not every one of them did I know I would get out of it married. I’ve learned to take it like I’m going to try to be married, happy, and a good husband now, and we’ll see how tomorrow. When I’ve had those issues, I’ve thought deeply like, “What will it mean about me, my identity, and my image?”
It’s so funny listening to you on the other side because when half of the population goes through this transition of getting married to being unmarried, it’s so normal, except when it’s happening to you. I love that after or maybe in the midst of going through that, you turn towards personal development. What a productive and healthy thing to do when you would reach an inflection point and something gets stale. There are so many parallels to draw in our careers. The core theme which I look for, try to preserve, and foster myself is curiosity, the willingness to be open to new ideas, and ultimately a bias towards growth and development through action. We could talk all day about GlaxoSmithKline. Did you sell Coreg by any chance?Social media is going to be the future. We need to make better ways for sales reps to use this to be more effective. Click To Tweet
I’ll do you one better. I am selling Coreg CR.
I sold Toprol XL indicated for heart failure, 25-milligram starting dose. There’s a lot to unpack there, but where your career has gone, there are obviously some consistent themes, discipline, constantly trying to improve and be better at your craft and your profession. What I love about this is, on my website, JeffSmith.co, I look for as an entrepreneur, adviser, and angel investor. There are a number of different patterns that I look for on where I’m going to invest my time and energy. Obviously, the qualities that you described, curious, a rule follower, but not compliant, always looking for a better way.
Someone that takes everything, how it is now, ask why, and reduces every business or problem to first principles as you’ve done with access as a first principal problem of sales, and employing technology to come up with a solution. The thing that you can’t plan for other than the fact that it always happens are societal shifts, often the result of a Black Swan event. All the Black Swan event like a global pandemic and a Black Swan event like COVID-19 usually doesn’t create completely new societal shifts that weren’t already in motion. It’s the catalysts.
For folks that read regularly, I talk about building your solution upon a platform and enabling technology that gets exponentially better without you doing anything. Zoom, which we’re using to record, there could be a number of other services, was only able to exist because of infrastructure that came before it. If I think of the billions of dollars of capital invested into the Evolve Your Success platform that you didn’t have to raise or solve the problems, that’s the tailwind that gives you a better chance in a very difficult journey. Where I’d love to go from here is maybe a personal story very quick, which is that catalyst, COVID-19. If I go back, it’s April 2020 at Providence. We’re coming off a great year.
We raised a big round of financing led by a new investor. We’re starting to roll our prospective randomized controlled trial. First quarters off to a great start, COVID hits, and our board of directors determined that the most prudent thing to do, given that we had no idea when surgery would start again, was to assume no revenue for the rest of the year. We made a decision that we weren’t going to try to do new financing. We had to get cost-conscious and only invest in things that were going to work. It’s April 2020. We’re all sheltering in place. I got three kids at home and my wife, who’s the best talent acquisition professional I know and head hunter of great talent, was working at Providence and laid her off. Talk about uncomfortable.
She had plenty of opportunities. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but we’d furloughed 30% of the company, which ended up in a 20% layoff. In that year, we had a goal to be sustainably profitable. We had to relook at everything that we were doing. To me, the best way of looking at it is the med-tech commercial model viable. How many dollars of growth does the company get if you invest $1? The timing is coincidental and it’s all because this is a topic to be talking about now. I get a call from one of my most supportive board members. He’s like, “I did a complete analysis of all the public traded companies that are in emerging growth med tech.” There are two groups.
They’re all growing north of 20%. None of them is growing 100%, as you see in other industries where that’s expected. Software as a service business, you double every year. A screaming growth med-tech companies are growing 30% to 40%. If you take a list of the publicly traded med-tech companies that are considered a growth business, meaning they’re valued on a multiple of revenue versus a multiple of earnings, Medtronic, multiple of earnings, Therese Medical in the foot space, multiple of revenue. I won’t list all the companies, but three of these companies I know well, incredible spine businesses, a public traded. Their market cap in 2021 was almost 2X of what it is now, but they’re trading at three times revenue, despite a high growth rate.
The other group of companies, which is a little bit smaller, are trading at 7.5 times revenue. The point that my investor was making, which was very obvious, is the companies that are valued at three times revenue takes them almost $2 in investment in operating expenses to get $1 out. If you were to go back over many years in med tech, there was a time when you could put in less than $1 to get $1 growth.
Now we have companies that have awesome products, great management teams, direct sales forces, big education and training programs, differentiate technology, IP, clinical evidence, and reimbursement. Why is it take $2 to grow one? In my opinion, which is the segue to this discussion and what I was referencing in my last episode on access is because the model itself is becoming less effective every day.
When we were drug reps, we had a cool trade. It’s like, “You sign my computer. I have to see you do it. I’m going to get five seconds to ask you a question. Try to get your attention. Maybe extend it for 30 seconds, but the minimum I can tell you is that Crestor reduces LDL by 45% at a low 10-milligram starting dose. Don’t forget Toprol XL is on Medi-Cal. You’re going to get a touch. We couldn’t do that if we didn’t have the samples.”
In med tech, we don’t have that dynamic. As you and I both experienced, even when samples of free product is being given to the doctor, when there are fourteen reps a day offering you roughly equivalent products, it’s a nuisance. Fast forward to med-tech, when you’re an operating room sales rep, you get to be there for the case. All of my mentors in med tech sales are the scrub sink. You get to know the people in the OR, and the circulating nurses like the full OR sale because when you do have a case, there’s so much opportunity to be there early and do in-services. That’ll change in part by COVID. It was towards the late end of that. It was that hospitals don’t want salespeople running around the hospital.
It was happening before COVID.Having access to pharmaceutical and medical devices has always been an issue. Click To Tweet
Way before RepTrak and Telecentric. Where we are in med-tech is that nobody wants to do lunches. It’s very difficult to get a surgeon and her partners to sit down for 30 minutes. We do them anyway because sometimes it works like dropping off information. As I look at it, if you give me a territory and give me twenty prospects, I will spend the first three months prior to meeting you and getting to know everybody at the office staff that is not the target surgeon.
Simply the task of trying to build trust, credibility, and be different. That takes a long time. It takes a lot of discipline. It’s a lot of driving gas, and it doesn’t work that well. Cadaver Labs are great if you can get people to show up. They’re not happening that often because they costs a lot of money. If only three people show up, you’ve invested a lot of times.
At every level of the sale, if I go backward, remote case coverage is happening. There are multiple companies. I think avail med systems is very cool. That’s one example, but there are many. That’s on the case coverage side. The logistics and fulfillment are sterile packaged, for lack of a better term, like candy dispensers or something. It’s like how we get our scrubs in the OR sometimes, and then you keep going down. The last part of it where it’s because the commercial leaders of our industry tend to be a little older than Millennials, so we all tend to lean on what worked for us back when we were selling.
When it comes to marketing, medical sales is the last bastion of innovation.
- Evolve Your Success
- The Medical Sales Podcast
- Providence Medical Technology
About Samuel Adeyinka
After graduating from UC Riverside with a B.S. in Biology, Samuel started his medical sales career. Over the next fourteen years Samuel worked for the following Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies, GSK, Aptevo and ViiV Healthcare. Samuel then went on to work as a Medical Sales Development Trainer and ICF Certified Career and Executive Coach. Utilizing his experience in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry, Samuel founded Evolve Your Success, an organization that delivers two tiers of innovative training programs with a focus on underrepresented groups. Tier 1 employs social media to improve the sales performance of professionals within medical sales corporations. Tier 2 serves professionals who want to attain medical sales roles and increase their sales performance.