The 2nd annual MedForce Summit commenced in Nashville last week and to say it was a tremendous success would be an understatement. Professionals across various life sciences verticals, including medical devices and pharmaceuticals, gathered together to discuss the significant role of Marketing and Sales within a healthcare organization, the evolving healthcare landscape, and why the need for transformed commercial models is best fit for value-based care.
From this event, the following key takeaways were found:
There are 5 essentials for transforming your commercial model
Jocelyn Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer at GE Healthcare, kicked off the event with a powerful message: The digital corridor is the new frontier and healthcare companies must adapt. For Marketing to market more effectively, Sales must participate in not only creating the messaging framework, but also the overall strategy. While this may be easier said than done, Jocelyn noted the following essentials to get an organization on board with a commercial model transformation:
1. Create common definitions
For Marketing and Sales to truly align, they need to be on the same page. This not only applies to an organization’s business strategies and priorities, but also the measurement of such efforts and activity. Everyone needs to work together in order to live out their organization’s mission and values.
2. Become customer obsessed
While this may seem obvious, becoming customer obsessed is essential when transforming a commercial model. A life sciences company needs to understand what matters most to their customers—whether it be cost, quality, access, or sense of community—to properly market to them.
3. Hire people smarter than you
The best leaders recognize their employees’ greatest strengths and empower them to lead and make decisions. How can you understand what employees care about? Hint: Know their passions. By knowing their passions, roles can be further defined to make optimal use of employees’ time and efforts.
4. Have the ability to customize
Personalized medicine is on the rise, and personalized Marketing and Sales interactions should be no different. To further align Marketing and Sales, Jocelyn provided a great example that she has implemented at GE: zone marketers. Each sales territory is assigned a dedicated Marketing employee to serve as their first point of contact and cover their marketing needs, while also being given the ability to customize content for each prospect.
5. Try to stand still in a moving world
In a fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest Marketing and Sales techniques. However, Jocelyn advises companies to stand still for a moment. Why? By allowing Marketing programs to marinate, life sciences organizations can gain more traction on a specific campaign, rather than jumping from one to the next. Marketing requires patience; try standing still.
Without proper implementation, Sales strategies often fail
Marketing organizations hear it all the time: Sales doesn’t want to take any extra steps than necessary. Implement this. Implement that. If there is no adoption of platforms or processes to better communicate with Sales, what’s the point?
However, there are four changes that need to occur for Sales to get on board:
- Change in beliefs
- Change in behaviors
- Change in processes
- Change in routines
Change is never easy and can be daunting for some; however, it’s imperative for an organization’s success. To implement these changes, organizations need to communicate the value of such platforms and processes—the “why”—rather than just the features and benefits. Otherwise, Sales won’t take you seriously and will never comply.
Furthermore, Sales organizations aren’t fans of anything non-mobile. During a panel comprised of Sales leaders, they mentioned that they barely touch their laptops, especially on the road. This is why mobile access to content and other marketing collateral is key in the field. For their own internal communications and for educational purposes, podcasts and videos are the best communication tools.
Millennials are here to stay; get used to this new type of consumer
Oh, Millennials. As mentioned in a previous blog post, it’s a term that often ignites a few eye rolls, but whether life sciences organizations like it or not, they’re the healthcare consumers of the future and they matter more than ever before. As several panelists stated, Millennials care about being a part of something bigger. This is why giving them a philanthropic purpose is a strategic marketing tactic. Furthermore, the use of gamification and social media is crucial when communicating with this population group.
Millennials are also more than patients; they’re now becoming healthcare providers. By understanding what they care about, life sciences organizations will have an easier time selling to them.
New Healthcare Provider (HCP) business models can be difficult to decipher
The latest healthcare landscape can be complicated, but add on the different business models a healthcare provider (HCP) can be a part of and your head will spin. However, it’s crucial to understand how HCPs are woven into an organization because it ultimately impacts who the key decision makers are and how organizations should sell to them.
Perhaps an HCP is a part of a greater Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) that may or may not have an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) as part of its model. Marketing and Sales need to communicate with them differently than HCPs who are not part of an IDN. Those who are not a part of an IDN, however, may still utilize an ACO to conduct business. You can see where the confusion can occur.
By understanding reimbursement models, the different payers HCPs conduct business with, and types of business models, life sciences will be able to effectively engage with them since all strategies will be properly aligned.
MedForce Summit was an extremely educational and thought-provoking event. With the shared goal of improving internal and external communication, understanding the new healthcare landscape and how it affects patients’ lives, and what’s to come in the future of healthcare, it was great to see so many colleagues coming together to enhance their marketing and sales’ efforts. Until next year!