Understanding the New Buying Model in Life Sciences

change-cartoon-691x560The times they are a changin’. Though this 1960’s jam by Bob Dylan wasn’t written about the evolving healthcare landscape, we folks in life sciences can still believe he did. And how true these words are today.

The healthcare industry has gone under immense transformation in recent years, and even more so now that it’s becoming a business driven more by value and outcome. With a new care delivery model underway, life sciences organizations are under pressure to communicate the benefits of their products and/or services as value-based, improving the lives and outcomes of patients’ health. This is a drastic change from only providing clinical data and pricing structures. Not only has the care delivery model and reimbursement structure changed, but the buying model has changed as well.

The new buying model for life sciences companies is marked increasingly by purchase decisions being made at the enterprise level rather than by medical professionals. Consequently, clinical arguments are no longer enough on their own as operational and financial arguments are rising rapidly in importance.

Life sciences sales leaders are grappling with this new reality of having less “science” in the sales process. Add new multi-channel engagement models, compliance mandates, and legislative uncertainty, and the medical sales environment is extremely complex. Sales reps now need a significantly expanded skill set and accompanying tools to effectively engage and build trust with healthcare providers (HCPs) and buying groups, while ultimately putting patient outcomes first.

This is why life sciences companies need to relate their product/solution definitions, marketing messages, and sales argumentation to the dominant drivers of today’s healthcare industry. They need to transition from a product-centric organization with reactive, technical sales pitches into a customer-centric organization with proactive, needs-based pitches that make customers understand the value of their offerings.

By understanding this new buying model, the need to optimize sales models and increase sales productivity in this diverse and changing marketplace has never been greater. Therefore, life sciences companies have started to invest in technology tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) to ensure the greatest level of success for their Marketing and Sales efforts.

The problem with this, however, is that life sciences companies are also utilizing tools such as Content Management Systems (CMS) and different cloud repository platforms. While these tools serve an individual purpose, the lack of integration leads to siloed systems, redundant tools, and ultimately, a missing single source of truth.

Many of the marketing collateral that’s meant to support Sales during their interactions with customers are one-size-fits-all, resonating only moderately with customers. Moreover, the current rigid content creation process tends to increase the number of collaterals and efforts in attempting to individualize marketing.

To successfully demonstrate a value-based framework and mindset, life sciences companies need to implement a pivotal instrument that not only integrates all Marketing and Sales activity, but also enables the customization of messages and collateral with respect to the specific needs of HCPs and patients, thus focusing on the value and outcomes of their activity.

This is where sales enablement can play a crucial role. By developing and executing a sales enablement strategy, Sales teams can remain competitive and relevant in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape. Hence why life sciences companies need to ensure that their Marketing and Sales teams are working in lock-step.

The opportunity costs of misalignment between Sales and Marketing range from customer dissatisfaction to lost deals to compliance violations. But with a well-defined and executed sales enablement strategy, life sciences companies can truly leverage their HCP and patient relationships in new, measurable and compliant ways. Value-based care just received a brand-new meaning.