|Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay|
Provider sales are hard. Provider marketing is challenging. It's even harder in vendors where marketing and sales are not highly integrated. The tension found in vendors can be summed up with the following statements. Marketing says, 'If the feet on the street would just sell it as we told them, they'd be successful." Followed by sales saying, "Marketing just makes things look pretty."
In many ways, healthcare vendors need to be focused on selling solutions to solve the business challenges, not selling features and benefits, because you know, "we have the best stuff since sliced bread." The all about us approach falls on deaf ears nowadays. By the time a provider contacts the vendor, they already have identified the problem, know more about you than you think, and are interested in your solution to their challenges.
Providers have seen your thought leadership, maybe seen your booth at a trade show pre-SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, heard the thought leaders in a webinar, and browsed your website.
|Image by Nattanan Kanchamapart from Pixabay|
Organic growth for the healthcare vendor is much easier when there is a collaborative, integrated, and respectful relationship between sales and marketing.
Given today's customer journey and coming into the sales funnel from multiple directions, failure to integrate the two departments will not result in the organic growth you need. The result is low-quality marketing qualified leads, and fewer sales accepted leads impacting the pipeline.
In essence, you are working against yourself in a highly competitive market with internal strife and confusion while answering your shareholder's and investor's questions regarding lagging organic growth to budget.
Of course, it's a more complex issue than just sales and marketing integration, but no need to make it any harder with at least one variable you can control.
With that in mind, here are nine basic rules of thumb for sales and marketing integration.
1) Your salespeople must be using a common sales strategy across the enterprise. I have seen too many organizations where everybody's left to their methods. The result is incorrect messaging and using poorly designed home-grown materials. Your sales force activities are about relationship selling and acting as the champion of your organization. If you don't have a method and training, chances are you will not be as effective as your competition.
2) The sales CRM and marketing automation need to be integrated as well. The sales CRM is not marketing automation, but they need to be integrated and connected for seamless data flow. Your sales CRM is the source of truth for marketing.
3) Create an interdisciplinary marketing sales advisory committee. Where most organizations fail is poor communication and working relationships between the two groups. It's time to get past the "the feet on the street" don't deliver the brand messages and promise in the right way, and all that marketing is good for is making stuff look pretty," because I need more stuff to leave behind attitudes.
4) Train your marketing department in the sale approach that your salespeople are using. This way, marketing begins to understand the opportunities and challenges faced and how your sales staff is trained to overcome them. All marketing materials should be applicable and useful at some point in the sales cycle. It's all about shortening the sales cycle and creating usable and compelling collateral.
5) Let your marketing staff accompany sales on calls and presentations. They can be a new set of eyes and ears and which will provide marketing with new perspectives on the difficulties of selling.
6) Cut down on the number of slides you use for presentations. An 80-page slide deck is all about you and nothing about your potential customer. If you have to use more than 10 – 20 slides, you don't know what you are talking about and don't understand your audience. A talking head is boring.
7) Have marketing attend your sales meetings and pipeline calls. It's about relationships and dialogue. A lot of marketing intelligence is available that sales had that will assist marketing in developing customer producing campaigns and messaging that hit the mark, create new thought leadership content generating more marketing qualified leads to become sales accepted leads
8) Annually establish joint goals and objectives and quarterly reporting. Share in the pain and share in the gain.
9) Constantly evaluate and begin again.
|Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay|
As healthcare providers' consolidation continues unabated across all channels, sales, and marketing, integrated and on the same page, make for a formidable and successful competitor in the market.