By Carrol Van Stone
Regulation and reimbursements are the most common pain points for healthcare organizations, which means they are continually open to discovering new solutions and revamping their purchasing programs.
That is why I sat down with Tom Dunn, CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, a leading SaaS cloud-based platform helping B2B sales teams across all industries, including healthcare, reach decision-makers faster, create more high-quality appointments, and consistently hit quota.
He has over 20 years’ experience building healthcare sales teams, consistently achieving remarkable revenue growth and helping organizations operate more efficiently. Below are highlights from our conversation.
Why do B2B healthcare sales take so long? These are long sales cycles because the people who do the buying are rarely the people who do the using. And, unlike other industries which are set up for execs to budget and buy as soon as they have the need, the healthcare industry has a long and complicated procurement process with multiple checkpoints of committees, regulations, and complex decision processes. For example, a hospital may be the actual buyer, but will seek input, nods, even approvals from doctors who aren’t employees, but will utilize the purchase.
Why is it so important to get an influencer to help? It is critical to find an Executive Sponsor (C-level exec, Board Member or other key influencers inside the healthcare organization), in order to have commitment to the project. The culture of any healthcare business whether hospital, insurance provider, managed care center, etc. will have a specific “internal story” about the historical performance of previous products and solutions. It helps to understand this to address pain points as you make the rounds through the 6.8 decision makers which are typical for any B2B sale. If you don’t have access to an Executive Sponsor then find someone who does. Engage the Executive Sponsor by asking what is most important: Lower costs? Workflow? Specific KPI’s that the management team is accountable for? Just because they need your solution doesn’t guarantee they will buy it from you — but having perspective from a key player can make a huge difference in the process.
How often will the lowest priced contract win the day? Healthcare regulations and compliance are always changing which means reimbursement plans are challenging. Pricing is always an important part of the decision process, but it isn’t the only one. Your best sales advantage, regardless of price, will be how you solve the problem that is important to the buyer. Focusing on their challenges and impact to their operations and workflow will provide the differentiation needed to overcome a lower price alternative.
According to Dunn, the B2B sales process in the healthcare industry requires patience, diligence, and a sense of purpose. Even under the best circumstances where everything that could go well does– it still won’t be quick. He suggests healthcare sales reps should use their downtime to connect with key players and apply social selling techniques (following, retweeting, commenting on articles, etc.). That way, even if a prospect goes dark, social selling can bring sales reps back on their radar without the dreaded ‘Just checking in!’ email. For more info visit: www.FRONTLINESelling.com and Twitter @SellMorePeriod