Making it Through the Closely Guarded Meeting Door
Making the sale…it is the true test of survival for any new company. This 3rd part of Healthcare Hacks is going to examine what it takes to actually get into the door of a large organization and make your pitch. By this point you should already have developed your solution and created a killer value proposition that makes your product/service appear invaluable.
Sales is always a number game in any sector and healthcare is no different. In the jungle of Silicon Valley, only the fittest are able to survive. The ability to actually get meetings with the movers and shakers of the industry is often what defines who will live to see another day. You may have developed your company through the help of an accelerator or other network, but that name will only take you so far. You will need to open most doors for yourself and walk through all of them on your own.
After identifying target customers, a well thought out strategy and process for getting meetings is required. There are several paths towards getting the meeting, which depend on who the target customer is, who you know within the industry, and the types of sales pitches that your product allows for. The options range from personal introductions all the way down to cold calling. Either way, breaking down the process into a series of well throughout out steps is the best way to turn your first contact point with an organization into a fruitful sale.
If you are making cold calls…
First and foremost make sure that you understand who is picking up the phone. Their job, their goals, their day-to-day is likely quite different than the person you are actually going to be selling to. At small practices you may be talking to a practice administrator. These individuals are the gatekeepers to the decision makers. They have often been in their positions for a very long time and have the trust of the CEOs, Heads of Nursing, etc. This means that getting on their good side will take you far. Be sure to refine your sales pitch for these people, hitting the buzzwords that they are hearing dripped around them while also avoiding excessive BS. Never be disrespectful or condescending to the person answering the phone- just because they do not directly make the decisions does not mean that they are not important.
If you are using a personal introduction…
Make sure beforehand that you understand what they are putting at risk to bring you into the organization. As with any organization, hospitals are highly political, and the people bringing you in are spending political capital. If they are going to put you in contact with someone within the organization, they need to be confident that you are going to make them look good. If there are any red flags, it’s not worth it for them to push you through. It is important to think bout what ways you can make sure that you make them look good in front of their bosses and peers.
Always remember that sales is a numbers games
At times it can be good to focus only on big wins, but do not do this to a detrimental fault. ACOs, academic medical centers, and large hospitals systems are pitched constantly and it can be difficult to get in the door, yet alone then make it through all of the hurdles before achieving a signed contract. If you are only focusing on these high targets smaller, readily available opportunities could potentially be overlooked.
So ask yourself:
- What are the incentives of the person you are talking to? What are they thinking about? What are their goals?
- Is your strategy to cast a wide sales net and see what is caught, or to go after big wins?
- If you are casting a wide net, how can you maximize conversion?
- If you are going after big wins, can you survive the long sales cycles? How can you support yourself financially while trying to make those sales? What will you do if they fall through?