Healthcare Sales Messaging that's Engaging & Compliant
Compliance and Healthcare Sales
Healthcare sales professionals face a fundamental challenge: compliance regulations force them to stick to a script. Regulations mandate that any customer-facing, communication from sales representatives must be fully approved and compliant. This limits the representatives’ ability to meet the expectations of their customers. They expect relevant, personalised engagement. As a result, it is difficult to stimulate interest that generates access to healthcare HCPs and other stakeholders. Something must change.
Sales professionals in the medical industry need a new approach. They need ways to balance compliance with sales messaging and action that speaks to the specific needs of each stakeholder.
This approach is critical today because the healthcare market is shifting to a more digital footprint. Consider research from PwC showing that 74% of health executives state that their organisations will invest more in predictive modelling to better prepare for shifts in utilisation, consumer behaviour, and other factors. This research means that sales professionals must bring a fresh perspective if they are going to engage HCPs who seek clarity on the future.
Put simply, compliance regulations keep sellers anchored to the present. This is a problem because sparking interest among HCPs means putting the solution in the context of the future.
Here we look at three ways sellers can deliver meaningful messaging to HCPs while staying in compliance.
1. Build Acumen to Isolate the Insights That Matter
HCPs don’t want to be sold to or prospected to, but they do want to be engaged, and engagement comes from addressing what is unique to their setting. Developing a deeper understanding of their challenges is a front-loaded task but this extra work yields more long-term revenue. As the outreach becomes more salient, more stakeholders are likely to grant meaningful access.
Building acumen differentiates the sales professional by enabling them to:
- Communicate Competency: When a sales professional develops a precise understanding of the HCP’s world, they are showing them that they not only understand what is important to the customer, but also that they can research, learn, and articulate the new characteristics of the HCP’s business. Tracking, and understanding the fast-moving change occurring in healthcare demonstrates competency.
- Put the HCP First: Much like a good listener mirrors the person speaking, strong acumen demonstrates that the sales professional is attuned to what is important to the clinician and their patients. A lot of traditional prospecting aims to draw attention to the product or service or the successes of those selling them. When the sales professional proves that they understand the current state of the physician’s business, they are making it clear that they put the interests of the HCP first.
- Position a Partnership: Acumen is what narrows the distance between the sales professional and the customer. Both sides become aligned to the same challenge when the sales professional knows the HCP’s world. If the sales professional is going to convince the HCP that they have the solution, they must first convince them that they truly understand the problem. When the HCP knows that they are talking to someone who gets it, the relationship becomes collaborative rather than transactional.
How To Do It
- Explore the HCP’s social “footprint” which reveals their thinking
- Share relevant approved content online that invites responses and is searchable
- Develop a research cadence and protect that time
- Research the HCP’s digital transformation initiatives
- Understand how the HCP’s business overlaps different non-core industries
- Talk with existing contacts in the same, or similar industries
2. Advance the Dialogue by Using the Latest Information
Sellers need an agile approach. The reason: agility enables the seller to track new information about the customer and use it to deliver value in their next message.
Learn more about what it takes to become agile in sales by downloading the white paper, The Future of Sales is Agile - Introducing Sprint Selling
Each conversation is propelled by a new insight. As the sales professional incorporates new information into their pursuit, they become more customer-centric. As a result, each conversation arms the sales professional with the knowledge needed to assess the next best move.
Leveraging new information learnt from the customer will advance the pursuit by:
- Creating Salient Insights: The value of learning new information from the customer, even if it is unexpected, is that
it equips the sales professional with details needed to deliver salient follow-up messaging. Unforeseen developments in the HCP’S world should not be seen as a discouragement. Instead, they should be seen as important information that enables more customised messaging when addressing HCPs verbally rather than in a written format where free text is often prohibited.
- Fostering Authenticity: When the sales professional applies new information learnt to their follow-up messaging, they are demonstrating their ability to listen, learn, and apply critical thinking. Moreover, they are showing their commitment to a continued focus on the customer without redirecting the conversation toward the solution. Authenticity is about showing the customer that the sales professional has their interests in mind.
- Distilling the Value Proposition: Reflection and follow-up is a critical step in distilling the vast scope of the solution into
just a few verbal descriptors that get to the core of the HCP’s needs. The key is to revise the discussion content by considering the HCP’s phrasing and where they place emphasis. Understanding these factors and creating messaging to address them is what elevates a sales professional to a trusted advisor.
How To Do It
- Explore any clues in the HCP’s responses that might help refine the message
- Follow up internally and externally with all commitments made to the HCP
- Assess the strength of the sale to determine if it is viable
- Consider contacting other stakeholders cited in the conversation
- Evaluate how new information learnt might be applied to other leads
- Send a brief follow-up reconfirming what was discussed
3. Engage HCPs with a Cadence of Pertinent Material to Build Credibility
The global pandemic has surfaced anxieties among HCPs. As a result, they have less trust in nearly everything. They have less trust in their assumptions, the economy, and the future. Unfortunately, this diminishing trust has extended to business relationships because when HCPs have less confidence in their ability to forecast the future, they also have less trust in the sales professional’s ability to meet their needs.
In response, sellers need to build credibility in three ways:
- Deliver “Unilateral Value”: Delivering unilateral value means providing the HCP with approved resources without a request for anything in return. An approved resource could be research from a third party, relevant peer-reviewed scientific findings, or an infographic backed by data. Some call this approach “breadcrumbing” value. The idea is to rely on the incremental gains that come from repeatedly and reliably offering value to potential customers.
- Consider the Theory of Trust Responsiveness: Trust responsiveness is the tendency for a person to behave in a trustworthy fashion when they know that another person trusts them. In other words, trust will likely strengthen when a sales professional overtly states that they are aware that the customer’s trust is an important factor. The key is for sales professionals to put trust back into the discussion and to normalise it as a topic.
- Engage in Reciprocity: Reciprocity in sales is the simple idea that when a person offers something of value, the other
feels compelled to eventually offer something in return. Sales professionals can engage the law of reciprocity by offering valuable insight to the HCP. In time, the HCP is likely to respond to the gesture in a positive way. Often, what they offer is some of their time, important information about their needs, or details about the decision-making process within their organisation.
How To Do It
- Give without asking for anything in return
- Provide salient information to the HCP that is not directly connected to the solution
- Verbally signal the importance of earning the HCP’s trust
- Build credibility by being open about any risks in the HCP’s world
- Create a scheduled cadence of outreach across numerous channels
- Incrementally build the relationship before making a request
Developing an Agile Approach to Earn the HCP's Attention and Gain Access
In our Sprint Prospecting programme, we teach your sales professionals how to apply to sell sprints to embrace the dynamic nature of engaging and selling and integrate specific techniques, skills, and tools to progress each interaction.
By applying selling sprints in their prospecting efforts, sales professionals will learn that each customer interaction – from an informal, social engagement to a more formal, initial meeting – arms them with the knowledge needed to assess the next best move against their original objectives.
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