The value of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in your market strategy cannot be overstated. You need them to launch a product, to tell your story, to train others on your procedure, to sell your device, to expand your market reach. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to engaging KOLs in the medtech space. Your company’s needs will vary, and you’ll need different types of KOLs based on potential opportunities.
When managed effectively, working with a well-balanced group of KOLs can have a major impact in product adoption and moving the market in your favor. With that in mind, here are six types of KOLs and how to engage with them to drive your business.
Data-Driven. Objective. Outcome-Focused.
This KOL is often heading up clinical studies and working with medtech companies to provide the data that helps get a product to market. Typically associated with an academic center, they’re well published and work for an institution that is accomplished in clinical studies. These centers have the infrastructure in place to complete a study on time, making them ideal to use in your next trial. They’re the knowledgeable and objective voice you want on the podium delivering results and disseminating the data-backed information that your product has to offer.
Opportunities to Engage:
These KOLs shine as primary or sub investigators in clinical studies and are great for publishing. They have read all of your studies and the competitor’s studies as well. Get them involved early to help develop study protocol and incorporate the voice of the customer early in process. This is often your “go-to” KOL for speaking engagements as well. Workshops, podiums, booth presentations…they have the presenter chops and expertise to be a credible advocate.
Ways to Nurture:
Help them brush up on public speaking skills necessary to deliver study results — offer training opportunities to enhance their podium presence. Keep them engaged throughout the year and at major shows so they don’t fall prey to competitors.
Established & Emerging
In addition to identifying your KOLs, assessing their strengths and creating an engagement plan that fits their skills, you should also keep experience in mind. Keeping a balanced mix of well-established experts and up-and-comers is crucial to the sustainability of your program.
There will undoubtedly be overlap with these categories. Maybe you’ve found that rare KOL that does all of these things for you or performs several of these roles well. But these are some important categories to think about when building out a successful KOL strategy that helps you make a big impact in the market.