You have just received training on your company’s newest product and Marketing has you jazzed about it. They have provided you a profile of the ideal customer and several buyer personas. They have mapped the buy-sell process and developed a sales playbook. They have even included a target list of questions to ask that will identify need, interest and urgency. You can’t wait to discuss it with several potential clients. You’ve reviewed your territory plan and already have a list of prospects.
Now it’s time to think like your customers. Here are some factors they will consider as they begin their discussion with you. Be prepared to discuss these and offer your point of view.
- Unmet Need– Does your product fulfill an unmet need or is it a substitute for an existing product being used? Is the unmet need significant enough for them to personally and financially sponsor a change?
- Substitutes Available– Are you replacing a product they currently use? Do they or anyone else in the organization have an emotional attachment to replacing it? How long has the existing product been in use? Is there a contract in place or any penalties the hospital would incur to replace it?
- Switching Costs– What costs will be incurred in making the switch to your product? Will policy and procedure manuals need to be updated? Will people need to be re-trained? Will inventory need to be replaced etc?
- Clinical Outcomes-What is the impact of the product or solution on clinical outcomes? Is it significant enough to warrant a product change? Do you have clinical data that demonstrates better clinical outcomes?
- Perceived Purchase Risk– All purchases involve risk. What is the degree of risk with your product, service or solution? Is it high, medium or low? What can you do to mitigate risk?
- Budget Impact-How will your new product impact their budget? Is it favorable or adverse? Do you have a financial model that is believable that you can use? Increasingly, the hospital C-Suite and procurement are using more complex cost-benefit analyses in their decision making.
- Evidence– For most new products sales some type of evidence is required. Do you have it and is it strong? Do you have evidence from more than one country or region of the world? Different demographics often require proof sources from researchers that they know locally and respect.
- Change– The status quo is safe for most people. Doing nothing different is often preferred because many people resist change. Who in the hospital is most likely to welcome change? This is where you should begin your initial discussions.
- References– Customers love references. Even early adopters want to know who was involved in the design or testing of the new product. Have the data available.
- Service Needs– Different customers require varying amounts of service, support and education. Target initial customers carefully and have a plan that they will embrace.
- Committee Involvement– Will a committee be involved before the product can be considered? Who is on the committee? What information do they require? How often do they meet? How do they make decisions? What process do you need to follow etc.?
- Outside Influencers– External influencers such as MD Buyline, ECRI, Hayes Group, The Advisory Board, GPOs and IDNs can have enormous influence on which products are considered. Know in advance what these organizations are saying about your product.
Points to Consider
Your company has invested significantly in developing the new product. They want an ROI and the quicker the better. You can sell the new product quicker if you help the hospital meet their clinical and financial goals. You do this by thinking like them. Hospital and “healthcare” business acumen is the new normal.
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