I have had many conversations with startups over the years about selling to hospitals. As a startup it’s your job is to choose a go-to-market strategy and that strategy may include selling to hospitals. I get it. Hospitals are attractive because they have volume potential. If you are selling a product that a patient needs, uses, consumes or buys, it’s likely you will end up speaking to a hospital at some point.
Make the most of your precious marketing dollars with these 3 tips:
TIP #1: SPEAK WITH COMMITTEES
Don’t waste time with one person thinking they are going to throw you a “Hail Mary”. They won’t. Spend your time speaking with as many committees (or committee members) as possible. Committees hold the key to hospital buying.
It’s never just one decision maker. Ever. There will always be one person who likes your product and two more that don’t. To be honest there could be no rhyme or reason why one person doesn’t like your product. Perhaps they are having a bad day. Or the color of the product is too peachy. Selling to hospitals is not like selling to a small business. There are layers upon layers of procedures. Go for the kill. Talk with a committee.
TIP #2: DON’T SEND UNSOLICITED PRODUCTS
Don’t send a product sample to a staff member that has not first requested it. It will end up in the baron wasteland of a hospital mailroom or worse a receiving warehouse. Do you know how much mail comes in and out of a hospital?
So you know the person’s name you are sending it to. They receive it and they are not expecting it, it sits on their desk and eventually ends up in the trash. Don’t risk you precious marketing dollars.
Instead focus on sending one product sample to the staff member who will be using it the most. Or see TIP#1 – ask when the next committee meeting is. And make sure your product is reviewed at that meeting.
TIP #3: BUILD AWARENESS
Build awareness first. I own an inbound marketing company but can say this with absolute objectiveness, and I think you’d agree, that ALL sale transactions are better when the buyer has intent to purchase. This is especially true for hospitals.
According to Think with Google, “More than 90% of hospital administrators rely on search engines to identify vendor and product options and to research features.” Shocking, right? Hospitals need to narrow their list of possible vendors to choose from and they go online for that. Are they going to find you? Make sure you create a strong online presence from the beginning.
Do what you can to leverage early successes for case studies and customer success stories. Your online presence does matter. Focus on Inbound as much as Outbound.