Monday, August 1, 2016

Social media marketing & selling to physicians, easy to say- hard to do?

Social media and inbound marketing when combined with an inbound sale or a Miller Heiman relationship selling approach, has changed how a healthcare vendor succeeds. With the change in the buyer's journeys where the buyer is more in control than the seller and considering multiple options before they even think of engaging, it’s a far different environment that the cold-call sales focus.

As the market moves in the velocity and intensity in the social marketing and selling direction, it’s more than a fad. Successful healthcare companies are learning that inbound marketing and social media when combined and highly integrated sales is a powerful tool in differentiation, organic growth, and revenue.  

To sell to physicians successfully, you need more than office lunches and how the family conversation is to succeed.  It’s now about constructing a sales and marketing process that supports the buyer through their journey.  It’s about fully understanding their needs and the solution.

And that is where social media marketing and selling plays a great approach. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, for example, have an impact. They are sources of information and ways to connect through sharing specific issues based content they are interested and engaged with for building the trusted advisor perceptions.

So before you say the physician leadership I am selling to does not do social media, have you checked?

May times that statement is the first thing from some vendor marketing and sales that I hear.  Our docs don’t do social media. My question to you is, and if they are not doing social media, are they the right target for you and did you have your ideal company profile and buyer personas right?

Social media marketing and selling to physicians takes a lot of work.  But when you supplement what you know from traditional efforts, with who they follow, how they comment, share and follow specific issues, a very different picture emerges.

Ready, Set, Go - 11 Steps for success 

1.       Commit to social media all the time. The challenge is to keep in front of your audience with relevant information, all the time.  Attention spans are short.  If someone sees no changes on a pretty regular basis in your content or information, they will fall away. 
2.       Follow the physician leader on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for example. Discover what groups they belong to on LinkedIn and join them. 
3.       Spend at least 10-15 hours per week engaged in social media activities.   Share articles and comment on appropriate topics in their LinkedIn groups. Comment and share your company blog. This all about knowledge and value. 
4.       Make sure social media selling is part of your sales sequences for establishing trusted advisor status with your client or prospect. 
5.       Make sure that everyone is using the same social media tactics, techniques and materials. All sales and marketing materials should be content appropriate and provide value, not features and benefits. Does the content for sharing answer the questions, how does this help me? One size does not fit all. 
6.       Revisit and change as needed, the ideal company profile and buyer personas.  Why? Because as you learn via social media and social selling one can infer intentions, pain points and challenges they are looking to solve by what they read, comment on or share. All clues in developing your social media and social selling approach. 
7.        Use a sales and marketing automation for accountability, tracking, etc., and make sure your marketing department has full access to the information.  Mine the data for strategy and new opportunities. 
8.       Once one understands the publications and interests of the physician-leader search out relevant content to share. Do not limit yourself to content that is created in-house. Become the well informed, eclectic sales person with a wide variety of thought leadership sources. 
9.        Establish joint goals, objectives and revenue targets for sales and marketing.  Share in the pain, share in the gain. 
10.    Make sure that the entire organization knows what you are doing.  Nothing more embarrassing or damaging when someone at any level of the organization is clueless and can't be supportive of the sales and marketing efforts.  Makes you look like you do not know what you are doing. 
11.   Evaluate, monitor performance, make changes as needed in the program or staff and start the cycle again.

To your inbound sales and social media selling success.

Michael is an independent healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group,  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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