The Daunting Challenge of Selling into Health Systems – Lesson 2: The Unique Impact of Clinicians on Sales
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Lesson 2: The Unique Impact of Clinicians on Sales

Last week, we discussed the complexity of selling into hospitals and health systems, and Jonathan Fullerton shared lessons learned related to the selling process. This week, he dives into the persona of clinicians, and their unique impact on sales cycles.

What kind of people gravitate to clinical care for their careers? Let me make a broad, sweeping generalization, and then give you some implications. People who seek careers as clinicians are people people. They are caregivers with big hearts. They want to make a difference in people’s lives. They are typically more right brained than left brained. So, what does that mean for you as an IT solution vendor? They don’t really want to use technology products, which is why healthcare is notoriously a late-adopter industry. They aren’t technology people – in fact, they are often suspicious of new technology – for good reason: many IT solutions sold into hospitals have failed to live up to their promise, while causing enormous complications for clinicians. Simply put, clinicians will use technology when it helps them do what they want to do better – care for patients and improve their outcomes.

So, first order of business. Make sure your product is clearly easy to use. I say “clearly,” because if you don’t show how easy it is, even if it is easy, your prospect will think “it’s hard, and will take away from my ability to care for patients.” I’ve seen a Chief Medical Officer reject further product evaluation simply because a task took “too many clicks.” Really. Make it obviously simple.

Second, show how your solution is going to impact patients. That’s what matters to clinical professionals. Don’t get hung up on how cool your features and functions are. They don’t care. When pitching your product to clinicians, be sure to tell your story from the angle of the patient.

Third, tell your story quickly. They don’t have time to waste. They are saving lives and dealing with a mountain of issues completely unrelated to your time together. I’ll expand more on this topic in the third part of this blog series on “message.”

Ok – you may think to yourself, “well, my solution does not impact clinicians.” You may be right. But rarely do you have a sales cycle in a health system, especially if your solution is a significant capital investment, that does not involve a committee. And guess what? Providers are always part of that committee, and clinicians can derail a sales process if they are not correctly enfranchised. If your solution is more related to financial issues than patient care, it’s vital to think hard about how improved financial performance impacts patients, and to be explicit about that with clinicians.

This concludes part two of our three-part blog series. We would love to hear from you – how have you piqued interest and successfully sold to clinicians? Stay tuned next week for our third and final blog in this series, Create a Great Story. Jonathan Fullerton will share the importance of crafting a story for your solution that’s unique and that will cut through the noise.

About author:
Jonathan is a healthcare strategist who has been studying the healthcare industry for 20 years. He has partnered with the nation’s top hospitals and health systems on clinical, financial, and operational terrains. He has grown several healthcare technology and advisory companies, creating brands and targeted messages that compel the healthcare buyer. Jonathan serves as a strategist on the Gen5 Healthcare Marketing Team.

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