The shift from volume-to-value based selling in B2B healthcare has had a profound affect on how we market. Gone are the days where we can just talk about features and benefits. Instead, we’ve got to show how a particular product or service provides real value.
But what exactly does “value” mean in the healthcare world and to hospitals in particular?
While the concept may seem straightforward, in reality it is not. Healthcare selling has gotten a whole lot more complicated, the sales cycle is longer, and more departments are involved in the process. In essence, however, by aligning your healthcare marketing efforts around demonstrated value, such as improved outcomes and efficiency, you’ll be telling healthcare providers what they need to hear. This makes it easier for them to choose your product/service instead of a competitor’s.
The Affordable Care Act has created this new purchasing paradigm, which is ultimately designed to save money and improve the quality of care. Incentives and penalties have already been put into place (i.e., 30-day readmission penalties, patient satisfaction measures). These have motivated providers to evaluate purchases according to how they demonstrate clinical value (evidence-based), how they can save money and how they might improve operations. Presenting products/services from one (or ideally all) of those angles will assist providers in making a value-based purchasing decision.
This requires a savvy sales team that has been well educated about healthcare reform. And as healthcare marketers, we need to supply them with supporting sales and marketing materials framed in the new value-based model. A blog post from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania describes a real world scenario of how healthcare sales teams are adapting to this new sales paradigm.
These three topline questions will help you position a product/service as valued-based:
- How will this product/service help a provider save money?
- What is the clinically based evidence for using this product/service?
- How will the product/service help the provider be more operationally efficient?
Because major purchases are generally being evaluated by committees with members from clinical, operational and financial teams, we’d do well to consider all the angles as we craft sales and marketing materials.
One example is from U.K.-based company, Synergy Health plc. Clinical outcomes are improved through proven sterilization procedures which result in improved infection control. The value of their sterilization services are clearly represented in their marketing materials, with strong research and reporting to back it up.
Many initiatives are being tested and revised as healthcare reform moves forward. Taking note of what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is doing will help us stay on top of our game. As a government agency that reimburses healthcare providers, insurance companies generally follow the CMS lead. For many hospitals, CMS reimbursements form the lion’s share of their operating budgets.
Hospital executives are struggling with making the new reimbursement models work. This recent Fierce Healthcare article explains more on how they are meeting the challenge. The more we as marketers learn about their challenges, the better we can position how our products/services can meet their needs. To learn more about the future of healthcare marketing, download our free white paper and gain insight on how to overcome healthcare marketing challenges in the value-based healthcare world.