If you’re brainstorming for content ideas before writing your next sales email to a prospective doctor or hospital executive, consider focusing on a current healthcare issue. Using current healthcare issues as the focus of an email is a great way to capture attention — after all, your potential clinical customers and administrative prospects are hungry for information. They need to stay on top of the latest regulatory announcements, research breakthroughs, population health trends, insurance and managed care news, and other healthcare issues that help them stay compliant and on the cutting-edge.
The challenge for healthcare professionals in the digital age is that it’s hard to keep up. Medical technologies are advancing quickly with regulations in the healthcare industry constantly evolving. Keeping current with all the news healthcare professionals need takes time — something most of them can’t afford to spare. Moreover, with all of the information that bombards them on a daily basis, it’s difficult to sort through it all to find what’s worth spending time to read.
Serving up relevant healthcare news in an email can have real value to your customers. If successful, writing a sales email focused on a current hot topic from the healthcare industry may further benefit your marketing and sales department — with a better email open rate.
According to the AMA’s Physician Practice Benchmark Surveys, over 47 percent of physicians were recorded as practicing medicine in a private medical group in 2016. While physicians have been increasingly abandoning private practice in favor of employment by hospitals and health systems, doctors in private practice still make up a significant portion of the medical population and can provide sales reps with a sizable amount of business.
Typically, hospital deals require long sales cycles involving multiple stakeholders and many touchpoints over months (or even years). The rewards can be huge — long-term purchasing agreements, commitments to purchase expensive capital equipment, strategic buying contracts — but these sales take a lot of time and resource. Selling into medical groups or private practices can often be more straightforward and less complex, leading to quicker buying cycles.
MedTech sales is usually a long, involved process. To add even more complexity, one of your prospect’s key employees could resign mid-negotiation. Becker’s Hospital Review reports that healthcare organizations experience a higher-than-average executive turnover rate — 18 percent in 2017 — and tracks about 100 healthcare executive moves per month. Additionally, although healthcare executives usually give more than the two week notice that’s standard in many other industries, a significant increase in “effective immediately” healthcare executive resignations occurred in 2018.
If not prepared for this situation, your MedTech sales team could be left wondering what to do when a point of contact resigns and how to salvage the time and effort invested in their client relationships.
If you run a sales team then you are all too familiar with the pressures of ensuring each sales executive is well-trained and equipped with the tools needed to their job.
Selling medical technology, healthcare service, or clinical equipment to doctors and hospitals requires a unique set of skills given the complex subject matter and the life-and-death situations many products and services can impact. As the healthcare industry faces pressures on cost and quality, clinical salespeople are in the line of fire. No longer can you hire based solely on a sales rep’s Rolodex and personal relationships with a network of physicians who have bought from him or her before. Today, healthcare sales processes involve a complex path involving clinical and business stakeholders carrying equal influence.
Given this reality, you may be looking for ways to build new skills within your sales team or up-level existing pockets of potential within the team. Medical sales training programs may be one avenue you are exploring. A quick Google search for “medical sales training” will bring up hundreds of programs, all promising to give you the secrets to identifying top prospects in your target market, executing a successful outreach, conducting persuasive follow-ups, and closing sales. In addition to sales basics, an effective medical sales training program should also be product or practice specific, equipping the sales rep with knowledge about the MedTech systems that they’re selling, how physicians use them, and the value they provide to the patient and clinician.
It’s vital that you do research and plan out the specific goals and outcomes you seek before investing your time and your team’s time into one of these programs, not to mention the direct financial expense to your budget. Carefully consider these options before you decide on a course of action.
The world of healthcare is always evolving and changing. Like any industry, healthcare sees its fair share of mergers and acquisitions every year. Consolidation of smaller hospitals and the growth of mega healthcare organizations has been a sustained trend in the last few years. Mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity is also the prime ingredient for growth in healthcare. Is the mega-hospital the future of healthcare? Or, will M&A cool off a bit in 2019? Let’s explore the opportunities for 2019 M&A.
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.
You may be baffled at why sales emails to physicians don’t get better click-through rates. Consider this possibility: You aren’t making it clear what the physician should click.
The centerpiece of sales emails to physicians needs to be clear calls to action (CTA). Devising email CTAs that get results for your MedTech company, however, is a skill you need to develop — and novice email marketers are prone to making some common mistakes.
Long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) work hard to differentiate themselves through the level of quality care they provide. Not sure what differentiates a LTCH from the more common general acute care hospital? While LTCHs are certified as general hospitals, these facilities focus on treating patients with more complicated conditions, requiring longer times to recovery.
Patients treated in LTCH typically no longer require the extensive diagnostic and intensive care delivered at general acute hospitals but require more care than can be delivered in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility or the home. Given the complexity and cost of treating these types of patients, administrators who run LTCHs are motivated to understand, measure and continuously improve the quality of care delivered to their patients.
Your MedTech system may deliver promising solutions that significantly impact a LTCH’s ability to maintain and improve the quality of patient care at their facility. Aligning that value proposition to each prospect’s unique situation should be part of your message during the sales process.
Including information about your technology in your email marketing to physicians can help build awareness and get the message across that they are market leaders in progressive, innovative, and quality patient care. However, before they can use your MedTech system to enhance care and convince physicians that they are the right choice for their long-term care facility, you have to convince both your administrative and clinical buyers that your MedTech system will deliver value to their organization. Here are four ways to communicate your value-add through your marketing and sales processes.
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.
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.
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.
MedTech salespeople are understandably so focused on their day-to-day sales activities and quotas that they often miss opportunities to improve their knowledge, skills, and networking opportunities. The most proactive MedTech sales professionals tend not to wait until they are seeking a new job opportunity to connect with thought leaders and read up on trends in their profession, but it’s challenging to find the time to participate in, much less seek out associations and networking groups.
Not to worry. We’ve compiled a list of sales associations and networking groups that medical technology salespeople should know.
There’s no escaping the reality that MedTech sales are getting harder in the new era of value-based healthcare. Hospitals and their health system parents are getting squeezed financially. The same reality applies to larger medical groups, ACOs, and just about any other healthcare provider business model.
As the pressure is increasing for the healthcare industry to make more careful purchases, mergers and rollups that are increasing the size of IDNs are giving these larger organizations more negotiating leverage, and not just with payers.
This means that MedTech companies also feel the financial pressure. Price sensitivity (always an issue) is more acute than ever, and value-for-price considerations are a major focus for the customers of MedTech companies in their evaluation of medical technology purchases. Further, product life cycles in the MedTech market are longer, and differentiation between competitive products is more difficult and less driven by features of the technology. Decisions to purchase refurbished equipment are increasingly driven by price considerations and what is “good enough” rather than best in class.
In this challenging business environment, how can a medical technology company scale its sales model to help increase sales system efficiency and hit company sales targets?
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.
The MedTech industry is having another active M&A year, fueled by new technologies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) broadening their portfolios to provide new products to the markets they serve. Mergers, however, can create uncertainty for your customers. They may have heard horror stories of how doing business with a company can change after a merger. Perhaps they’ve even experienced firsthand a decline in customer service or product quality — and in the MedTech space, neither of those is acceptable.
Your sales team is the strongest and probably the most influential connection you have with your customers. Here are five tips that can help sales reps retain current customers and, ideally, even close business with prospective customers during a merger.
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.
If you sell medical technology products to doctors you already know the importance of physician education goes much deeper than a simple presentation and discussion of product features and benefits.
Whether your medical technology is specifically sold to and used by primary care providers (PCPs), medical specialists, or both, the PCP should be the target audience for education about your technology.
Yet many MedTech companies whose products are intended for use by medical specialists put limited or no resources toward educating PCPs on their products. It may be understandable, but it’s also shortsighted.
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.
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.
The sales process is increasingly complex for customers and suppliers in many industries, including medical sales. Mapping your sales cycle accurately can help simplify the sales process and shorten the sales cycle for your sales team and your customers.
How complicated has the process become? Here are some eye-opening, assumption-challenging statistics:
The following aims to provide your sales and marketing teams with a good road map for simplifying and abbreviating the medical sales cycle by properly mapping it for your company and your products.
There’s nothing more important than being relevant to your audience when it comes to sales and marketing. Even when you offer a single solution, its application will always have variances. That’s why your sales approach can’t be one-size-fits-all.
If you’re selling to doctors and hospitals, you likely segment your prospects in many ways already, but have you considered the differences between selling to doctors in big cities versus those working in rural communities? They have different needs related to almost any healthcare solution. Homing in on these differences can help guide your sales strategy and ensure your message fits their challenges.