I’ve recently spoken with many healthcare marketers who are frustrated that they can’t contribute as much to demand generation as they’d like because their segments are dominated by a relationship-based sales approach. In these cases, sales leadership may be hesitant to embrace more traditional marketing programs, even if they are laser-targeted. What is a healthcare marketer to do? Are we doomed to an agonizingly slow death by PowerPoint?
Here are a couple ideas for healthcare marketers to remain strategic, even in portions of the industry that are dominated by relationship-based sales.
- Lead market intel (MI)/competitive intel (CI) expeditions. MI and CI are particularly valued by sales teams that are geographically diffuse. Providing a methodology for collecting, tracking, synthesizing and distributing this information can be a great way for marketing to earn credibility with sales partners, particularly if MI/CI is not a recognized, independent discipline at your organization.
- Become a persona expert. If you’re lucky, your sales executives know their customers and prospects well. But that’s just it – they know their customers. If you can provide sales with insights into their target personas – e.g. “a day in the life of a chief medical officer,” you’ll help them home in on issues that matter.
- Explore pipeline acceleration programs. Rapid-entry pipeline programs can help sales qualify leads more quickly. These types of programs may be appropriate if sales is targeting a new buying center but lacks a clear line of sight into who the best prospects are. Intra-pipeline programs help get qualified leads unstuck in the buying process. Marketing programs may be able to identify a key pain point that makes the buying need more acute. Last-mile programs help buyers get across the finish line. You may be able to construct different offers and advise sales which one is more effective.
Don’t let “value prop-itis” get you down. There is a ton of strategic work to be done by healthcare marketers, even at organizations that may not rely heavily on marketing-sourced lead generation.