The days of the community hospital seem to be numbered, as more and more healthcare organizations continue to merge into mega health systems. The decline of the local independent hospital has been driven by a number of factors including evolving reimbursement models, requiring greater operational efficiency, and changing demographics leading to volume pressures on community hospitals.
With greater competition from larger facilities, financial problems have plagued community hospitals, further fueling the trend toward consolidation. But is bigger better? And, what does the new mega health system mean for medical sales representatives that sell their products and services into these larger, more complex entities?
Integrated delivery networks (IDNs) have carved out a place for themselves in the healthcare industry. An IDN (in the recent past also called integrated health network [IHN] or multihospital system [MHS]) is a network of healthcare providers and facilities within a specific geographic region that offers a full range of healthcare services. An IDN is often designed to offer a full spectrum of care inclusive of primary care physicians, specialists, general acute care (i.e. inpatient services), and home health services.
Like accountable care organizations (ACOs), IDNs exist to coordinate patient care, improve the quality of care, and control costs. Unlike ACOs, which may not work with group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and may not contract directly with local employer group plans, IDNs have negotiating power. Their negotiating power comes in two forms.
Across the US, 39.8 percent of total healthcare spending is spent in hospitals (ranging as high as 49.4 percent of dollars in South Dakota to as low as 32.9 percent in New Jersey). Collectively, hospitals employ 42 percent of the physicians in the country.
Clearly, hospitals play a central and significant role in our $3 trillion healthcare system. Given those stakes, it should come as no surprise that hospitals are complex businesses.
There are multiple layers of leadership and decision makers; it can often be challenging to identify the right stakeholders to target. One of our recent posts focused on the C-Suite level of hospital leadership — who they are and what they care about — but there are more roles within a hospital that a MedTech business needs to understand. Clinical leadership encompasses some of those roles. In this piece, we’ll examine what clinical leadership is and who makes up a clinical leadership team.
Your MedTech system may add value to healthcare providers in a wide variety of settings, but successfully selling to different types of organizations takes different approaches. To illustrate this point, consider these five types of hospitals, what makes each unique, and how marketing and sales need to adapt their messaging and processes for each to move prospects through the sales funnel.
An Accountable Care Organization (ACO) plays an important role in reducing costs and re-aligning incentives across the healthcare system to encourage less focus on the volume of services delivered and emphasize the quality and outcomes of the services delivered. ACOs have the potential to revolutionize healthcare, but what exactly are ACOs, and why should they matter to you?
Selling to hospitals is complex. With multiple decision makers and stakeholders, it can be difficult to know which titles to target, as well as how to target effectively. Once you define who you want to go after, you have to understand that buyer intimately, including what they are responsible for and what matters to them.
When looking at the highest level of hospital leadership, some argue that “selling higher” is the best approach. However, according to a study published by Forester, executives consider less than 20 percent of their meetings with salespeople to be valuable.
So, how do you get to be part of that 20 percent? You have to know that persona completely with a 360-degree viewpoint. In breaking down the who’s who of leadership, you need to know what they do and what matters to them, so you remain relevant.
If a physician’s phone system and receptionist are good at their jobs, you probably aren’t getting through to that prospect with a cold call. And although you may be able to find physicians on social media, you may not be able to communicate effectively with them on those platforms. Email is the best option for reaching out to MedTech prospects and getting your message across.
A personalized email allows you to get straight to the point in your subject line and boil down information into an easy read, complete with clear ROI. When used correctly, email gives you the opportunity to capture a physician’s attention with the advantages of your MedTech product and sets the stage for continued engagement.
First, however, you need to actually find the doctor’s email address.
If you’re willing to spend the time doing some detective work, there are five ways MedTech sales reps and marketing departments can track down doctors’ email addresses.
Imagine your team has been iterating on an innovative idea for a new MedTech device. So how do you decide if commercializing that product will result in ROI for your business? Costs to develop MedTech products can be significantly higher than in other industries, which makes commercializing a new product a high-risk proposition. To ensure your team makes a smart, informed decision for your business, start by estimating the potential market opportunity.
“Market opportunity” is defined as a need or demand in a market that a company can capitalize on by introducing a new product or service. You should be able to express market opportunity in terms of numbers, not just by describing trends. For example, it’s not enough to say that a current product on the market doesn’t work well enough so surgeons will want to upgrade to the new device. Instead, you should be able to determine the size of the market in units and dollars and how much market growth (or decline) that market will experience in the next few years — which allows you to calculate the revenue you could expect to capture with your innovation.
To develop a clear picture of a new product’s potential market and calculate market opportunity, follow these four steps.
MedTech isn’t a typical B2B industry. The systems you develop and the partnerships you form literally transform — and even save — lives. MedTech success has always required higher doses of trust, relationship building, and customer focus. Today, you have a somewhat-overlooked tool that can make achieving those objectives easier than ever before: social media.
If you need some convincing before you can believe that social media can be effective for raising awareness about your MedTech innovations, and for growing your business, here are eight compelling reasons to consider social media for your next marketing activity.
If it seems strange to think about marketing and sales organizations in the same company as “frenemies,” you probably haven’t been a part of marketing or sales teams.
There are many understandable reasons why dysfunction exists between these teams that are so dependent on each other for shared success, most notably:
For scalable success at any company, including those within healthcare and MedTech, it’s important to keep harmony between marketing and sales teams. Here are six tips for fostering win-win relationships.
Marketing teams at medical technology companies are under constant pressure and scrutiny from corporate executives and sales forces to create more demand for their company’s products. Though demand generation is hardly a new requirement for marketing departments, lead generation tactics must continually evolve to keep pace with rapidly changing market conditions and pressures felt by customers and targets of MedTech companies.
What worked even six months ago to increase demand and produce qualified leads may not be effective next quarter, much less next year. “Change is the only constant in life” is not a recent quote (check your Greek history from 2,500 years ago). At the same time, the pace of change has never been faster in human history, and that certainly applies to healthcare — and to marketing for demand generation.
Read on for an update on the most popular demand generation tactics for medical technology companies as they stand today. Each of these topics is worthy of an entire article or series unto itself, so consider this more a brief overview and impetus for further research and reading than anything complete unto itself.
Do you know how much data decay is costing your business? Data loses value over time; what was true and accurate last month is probably not completely true and accurate today. In fact, ZoomInfo compiled the results of research on B2B data quality and found that, each year, 30 percent of people change jobs, 43 percent of people’s phone numbers change, 34 percent of people’s titles and job functions change, and 37 percent of email addresses change.
It’s possible, with the rapid innovation and M&A activity in the MedTech space, that your customer and prospect database could experience even more data decay in a year’s time. So, it’s likely that the next time a member of your sales team logs into your customer relationship management (CRM) system, at least one piece of information that he or she needs will be inaccurate. And the next time your marketing team sends an email campaign, there will be more hard bounces than you’d like to see. Even worse when your field-based sales team is in market and didn’t realize a practice moved offices or became employed by the local hospital.
There’s no doubt that bad data is frustrating for your sales and marketing teams, but remember it can also be a source of frustration for clients. Data that causes a breakdown in communication may seem like unanswered emails or calls to your sales team, but it may come across to the client as a sign of poor service. And in the MedTech space, the inability to connect with suppliers is more than inconvenient; it can directly impact patient well-being, and it may be reason enough to start talking to your competitors.
Just about every marketer is familiar with the sales funnel, a graphic used to depict the buyer’s journey from first discovery to final sale. The funnel is wider at the top to represent all the people that you’ve introduced to your company through activities like brand awareness campaigns. In the middle, you are able to identify who of that initial population you could persuade to consider doing business with you. At the bottom of the funnel is the percentage that converts from prospects to clients.
What may not be familiar to you is how to match marketing activities with those different levels of the sales funnel — particularly which activities will get people into the funnel in the first place.
Healthcare analytics is robust and increasingly critical as a sub-industry and set of tools driving many critical decisions in the arena of healthcare, both in the U.S. and globally. All healthcare analytics are built on a foundation of data, but that data is only as useful and as powerful as it is effectively analyzed, and then applied, to improve clinical and business processes and outcomes.
Big data is increasingly available and used by MedTech and other healthcare businesses in new market development and related marketing and sales strategies.
Data-driven marketing is not new, but is gaining rapidly in popular application. However, data application for use by sales teams, particularly in new market development, is adopted less frequently and at a slower rate, and that translates to missed opportunities.
Below are some guidelines for new market development strategies and tactics that incorporate a symbiotic approach involving both marketing and sales.
The most successful businesses don’t rest on their laurels, and they never get comfortable. Even if you have a great product, it can only take you so far within a given target market before your growth begins to flatten.
MBA students and marketing majors learn about market development as one quadrant of the Ansoff Matrix in Marketing 101, but it’s important for salespeople to understand and contribute to market development as well.
Market development directly affects sales success, and salespeople are on the front lines with the customer - daily. That close connection to the customer makes sales representatives very valuable in identifying new market development opportunities.
When you market solutions and services to the healthcare industry, it’s easy to pick up a lot of terminology that you may even use in your marketing content, but have you ever wondered what those acronyms your healthcare clients use in their everyday conversations really mean?
CPT code is a prime example. You may have seen “CPT” if your solution involves a part of the medical billing procedure — or you may have noticed it on your own medical bills, or Explanation of Benefits statement.
If you’re like most busy healthcare marketers, it can be a challenge to stay on top of news and trends that help keep your campaigns and messaging perfectly on point. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone.
Here are nine healthcare marketing blogs to follow, whether you’re looking for how-to’s, tips, industry insights, or just inspiration to help you move past writer’s block.
After you have had a chance to review our list of best content, be sure to leave a comment with your favorite healthcare or marketing blog that didn't make our list.
It seems like almost every large MedTech company has climbed on the big data bandwagon in an effort to drive more effective and targeted marketing to physicians and sales activities.
Big data for precise targeting is, in fact, one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of both marketing and sales teams when they have access to it and know how to mine, analyze, and use it.
However, there are a number of challenges and inequities that separate the organizations that can track a direct, positive correlation between use of data and increased sales from the ones that can’t or don’t leverage this kind of data and analytics for more accurate targeting, such as:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t a buzzword or the plot of a sci-fi movie. It’s actually revolutionizing sales and marketing in every industry, including healthcare. While there are lots of AI solutions to streamline the buyer’s journey and automate campaigns, you’ll want to choose a tool you know has the features that will make a difference in your workflow.
This isn’t a question of should you embrace AI but rather how to embrace AI. There is also the need to strike the right balance of science and human touch points that will propel your prospect to convert. Let’s explore how AI is changing the healthcare marketplace.
Any discussion of email marketing to physicians must begin with the understanding that most doctors are incredibly busy. Some are so busy they barely have enough time to provide proper patient care, so they certainly don’t have time to read the vast majority of emails that clutter their inbox every day.
In an age when so many messages are deleted without ever being opened, how do you break through the noise and ensure your email marketing gets noticed by a physician? Simple. Follow the rules below.
Here are nine tips to greater email marketing success with clients and prospects when you’re selling to doctors.
Looking to better understand and size up a market opportunity for your healthcare technology?
Whether you are a healthcare entrepreneur formulating a business for a new product or a research scientist justifying a funding request or a marketer at an established medical device company recommending which market to target, the process for researching and sizing the opportunity is typically multi-dimensional. In this blog post we'll review a data-driven process for better understanding the dynamics within a market for a healthcare technology or product.
When sizing up a market, you'll want to look at the opportunity through multiple different perspectives to understand the following:
Let's start with a short quiz.
In which of the following scenarios should you incorporate email as part of your marketing strategy?
Planning great content for each sales meeting with hospital execs and physician leaders is equally, if not more, important than the actual meeting. Without a focused agenda, the right content, and a maniacal focus on progressing the relationship to the next step, you'll be wasting everyone's time.
Like many MedTech Commercial leaders, you are probably pulling your hair out to get your field based team to fully adopt your CRM. You spent months implementing and training on it, not to mention the big check of your budget that gets allocated to it. Get your sales reps excited to use your CRM with this one super simple technique: consider their needs by putting yourself in their shoes.
To understand why this simple change in orientation works, let's dive into the root cause of the problem of lackluster support for your CRM workflows.
It's hard to hear and painful to digest... but most issues teams face can be traced back to the top levels of management.