Open Payments expense management

Help your sales team help you during Open Payments season

In Spend management by Heather Lohmann

As a business leader, it can be hard to ensure that every one of your employees is as aligned with your company goals as you expect him or her to be. Whether it’s in the form of strict sales quotas that must be hit, documented finance processes that must be followed, or submissions deadlines that must be adhered to, there will always be those requirements that can fall by the wayside if your organization’s teams aren’t all on the same page. This is true for all businesses, but for those in the Life Sciences industry — who are required to comply with strict Open Payments regulations — company-wide alignment is critical.

Open Payments submissions can be a pain for everyone within a Life Sciences organization. But the impact on Sales can be especially stressful. Sales guys and gals want to focus on what they’re great at — selling (duh) — and not on what they might see as annoying, tedious processes that slow them down and burn them out.

The point is this: If your sales team isn’t on board with the rest of your organization when it comes to Open Payments compliance, it slows the whole thing down. You need Sales and Sales needs you — but no one benefits when the players responsible for generating new business are bogged down with busywork.

So, what can you do to help your sales team help you when Open Payments season rolls around?

1. Be clear about travel and expense expectations and policies up front.

Rules are rules — but you can’t expect your employees to follow the rules if they’re not sure what they are in the first place.

It may seem like a simple concept but it’s one that a lot of organizations seem to take for granted. If you don’t want to get stuck paying the price of out-of-policy spending, you need to be clear about what spending is allowed where, when, on what, and with whom. Just like it’s hard to scold someone for cheating at a game if he or she never knew the rules, it’s hard to expect your teams to follow your T&E policies if they’re not properly explained from the beginning.

2. Free your sales superstars from receipts and other paper transaction records.

We live in a digital age. Think about it — when’s the last time you sent a credit card payment by mail or asked that a contract be faxed to the office? These days, you can access almost every important document on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Your sales team hates keeping track of paperwork just as much as you do. So why do you ask them to hold onto piles of receipts and other transaction records?

Implementing a digital solution such as Automated Receipt Processing — which uploads receipt details with the snap of a photo — does away with the risk of lost or illegible reports. And when all records are stored in the easily-accessible cloud by date, time, and NPI, your team doesn’t have to spend sleepless nights sifting through six months’ worth of paperwork trying to locate the receipt from that one disputed transaction.

3. Streamline your pre-submission processes to ensure a painless Open Payments compilation experience.

If your NPI lookups happen in one place, your transaction categorization is recorded somewhere else, and line-by-line transaction checking is done by a single person who keeps his own written log, your end-to-end compilation process could take a while. And let’s not even get started on how long it takes to manually upload ToV records one by one.

Integrating every step into a streamlined, intuitive process makes tracking easy for sales, which makes uploading and submitting easy for administrators, which makes work easier for everyone across the board.

Imagine if your sales team could record every piece of the transaction puzzle at the point of sale and track it in a cloud-based system accessible by anyone permitted access. Then imagine that each of those records was easy to compile and export as a CSV file. The result? Open Payments becomes almost an afterthought.

4. Remind them that their business relationships depend on your good reputation.

Members of your sales team put a lot of sweat and tears into building the right professional relationships. They address these physicians and other professionals by first name, have shared photos of their spouses and kids, and know off the top of their heads how they take their steak.

It’s important that Sales understands how an inaccurate record can affect an important relationship down the line. A physician can dispute a transaction that she doesn’t remember, especially if she thinks it makes her look unprofessional to her patients. And if your sales rep can’t prove that the transaction actually occurred, it not only makes your company look bad, it could destroy the relationship that your rep has spent a lot of time and energy building.

Help your reps see that connection from the get-go and they’ll make a point of being careful when tracking ToVs.

Invest in technologies that help your sales team stay focused and stress-free.

When you give your sales team tools that help them better adhere to Open Payments requirements from the beginning, it will help your business track, compile, upload, and submit with ease all the way through.

To learn more about how your company can adopt game-winning submissions strategies, check out our new ebook, “How to Avoid Open Payments Roadblocks.”

About the Author
Heather Lohmann

Heather Lohmann


Heather Lohmann is a Content Marketing Manager at Deem and has been working in the SF tech industry for over 4 years. She received a bachelor’s degree from CSULB and an MFA in creative writing from the California College of the Arts.