Developing relationships with practitioners.
Working with group purchasing organizations.
Matching product innovation with marketing effort.
It’s no secret that selling equipment or technology into practices is a multi-faceted and intricate process. Yet with each obstacle, equipment companies are also presented with the chance to develop more innovative strategies for engaging their audiences. Here, we’ll address what we see as the top 5 concerns facing technology, device, and supply companies – along with some methods for clearing these hurdles.
1Getting the Initial Opportunity
One of the main difficulties of selling into private practices is securing an opportunity to meet with decision makers. While often minimized, this is actually becoming an increasing problem for sales reps due to practitioners’ tightening schedules.
Practitioners are already incredibly busy, and this has only increased as they try to fit in a high volume of patients each day to maximize their revenue. This, combined with the fact that office managers tend to closely guard the practitioners’ time and availability, creates an environment where getting your proverbial foot in the door is all but impossible in some circumstances.
In order for a meeting to occur, some initial stage setting needs to happen.
First, by analyzing your current customer demographics and pain points, you can gain a better understanding of who may benefit from your products and have the most interest. By targeting these practices with a focused marketing campaign that addresses the specific pain points of your demographic, you can create initial awareness and interest in your product. Then, when your salespeople reach out to these practices, the decision makers are far more likely to make time for your team. Without this prior knowledge of who you are and how you can improve their bottom line, practitioners will not be willing to move their schedules to accommodate a sales meeting.
2Competing with Companies that Offer Complete Solutions
If you specialize in one specific product, you place yourself in a difficult niche and find yourself competing with the larger companies that offer not just similar solutions – but more solutions. The practice that can purchase all of their equipment or supplies from one company or distributor cuts down on their administrative time and costs. Thus, it becomes a struggle for companies that specialize in one type of product to make headway in these practices.
To overcome this obstacle, you must convey value. Decisionmakers need to see that the overall value in buying this specific product will outweigh the initial cost or effort associated with working with another vendor. If the product will provide a long-term monetary value to the practice, then practitioners will be far more inclined to take on the short-term inconvenience of adding another supplier into the mix.
Regulations within the healthrelated sphere are constantly changing and creating pressure on equipment, technology and supply companies. Of late, these regulations have led to consolidation that has shrunk the prospect pool significantly – thus, increasing competition.
To stand out, technology and supply companies need to portray themselves as innovators and thought leaders. With distinctive brand positioning and a commitment to furthering both their industries and the practices that purchase from them, these companies will show themselves to be partners with the practitioners – not just average businesses out to make a sale.
4Working with GPOs
Many medical and dental supply companies find themselves trying to sell into practices that are part of group purchasing organizations (GPOs). Increasing numbers of practices are joining GPOs to defray the costs of equipment and supplies, so getting a practitioner to purchase outside of their contract can be a challenge.
In order to get around this difficulty, your marketing needs to show your target that the product is an investment. It will help the practitioner grow their practice and lower their expenses in the long run – thus, delivering a higher ROI than a lower-quality product.
The same strategy goes for practitioners who own private practices. They, too, have significant cost constraints that influence their purchase decisions, and products that provide a high total value will be a substantial draw for these practitioners.
5Providing Evidence-Based Research
It almost goes without saying that practitioners want to see evidence to support the efficacy and quality of a product before they purchase it. They need to be assured that the product will truly be safe and beneficial for the patients and their practice. But this goes beyond simply having the research performed.
This effort also entails building and supporting an ongoing reputation by partnering with industry authorities. It means marketing in qualified journals and periodicals to shape a distinctive name for your brand that’s synonymous with scientifically examined, high-quality products.
ADDRESSING THE OBSTACLES
The challenges facing device and supply companies, though significant, are by no means insurmountable. The solution is not to simply push harder, but rather, to push smarter and with a mind to creating longevity – not just landing another sale.
Instead of a focus that consists of selling more product, make it your priority to establish prominence within the industry. This may be done by developing a distinct positioning that sets you apart from other brands and displays your industry expertise, and uniting this with messages that emphasize value over expense. These messages can then be disseminated through highly targeted, data-informed digital and traditional channels for a wide and yet focused impact.
With these specific methods and the overarching goal of establishing leadership, the byproduct will be increased market share – and a name that will carry weight and make waves regardless of what the future brings.