Just as the old model of news dissemination has been shattered – a few dominant outlets now replaced by a cacophony of voices - so has the traditional approach to healthcare marketing. Your healthcare B2B customers are turning into B2C right before your eyes, side-stepping your funnel and doing research and evaluation on their own, without seeking a contact with your sales team. According to a 2017 study by research company Forrester, 68% of B2B customers said they preferred to do their own research, rather than interact with a sales rep. This is a big change over 2015, when this figure was only 40%.
So as the preferences of B2B customers change, how can marketing and sales evolve to support them? Well, it’s not as if your prospects need less information. In fact, under this do-it-yourself approach, they actually need more.
But rather than look at it as a sequential process – prospect identifies a pain point, prospect articulates a pain point, supplier offers a solution – healthcare marketers need to create a model where prospects can dip in and out, easily finding the information they need, wherever they are in the process. By mapping out your customer’s journey, not as a predictable path but with predictable elements, you can support their information and solution needs more thoroughly.
And in order to do this successfully, you need strong alignment between marketing and sales (smarketing). As a concept, “strong alignment between marketing and sales” is a bit like “eating better,” or “working out more.” It sounds great, but how do you put it into practice? Well, if your relationship with sales is like playing volleyball – you lob over a campaign, and they lob back some feedback – you’ve got work to do.
How to strengthen your alignment with sales
- Define your target personas together. Who are your customers? Sales knows who they are, at the most granular level. Make sure your personas are a true joint effort, and reflect input from both sides.
- Map out your customer’s journey. Plot out all the possible touchpoints, information requirements and twists and turns on your customer’s journey. Be prepared to hear from sales about the touchpoints where your collateral is lacking. They’ll also have insight into which of your competitors has better material. This is need-to-know input, so don’t be sensitive.
- Choose the metrics. It isn’t about clicks today. As a healthcare marketer, your efforts have to be tied to business results. Decide with sales what the goals are, and how you’ll know when you reach them. And share the data. Give sales a window into how your campaigns are performing, and ask them to share sales updates too.
- Open up the communication between marketing and sales. Think “smarketing.” Silos just don’t work anymore. You’ll need frequent, scheduled contact and open borders to build and maintain a close connection.
The benefits are clear. Companies with strong alignment between marketing and sales close more deals, achieve better ROI, and it improves employee morale.
We can help you to strengthen the alignment between sales and marketing in your company. We organize in-house workshops to explore the best ways to build alignment and implement “smarketing” across your organization.