Recent research predicts that R&D expenditure for medical devices will grow to $34 billion by 2022, but top line growth is slowing. And while this increase in R&D investment is a positive sign, uncertainty in healthcare reform is causing some paralysis in the market. How can companies overcome this risk aversion and really sell?
Understanding and connecting with buyers is vital to a successful medical device product launch and continued sales. Here are three best practices that can help you attract and keep customers.
3 Marketing & Sales Best Practices
1. Know your audience
No matter what you are selling, it is important to understand your customers’ emotional drivers. What do they value? What makes them move past the status quo? Here are few ways to get in your buyer’s head:
- Build buyer personas: Personas provide an in-depth profile of your usual or ideal customer. Looking at your best real customers, are there commonalities among the individual decision makers? How do they search for information? What is their typical day like? Use our buyer persona template to get started.
- Conduct customer interviews: Given the complexity of the medical device buying cycle, we recommend completing a set of interviews with customers to find new product opportunities, test for market demand, and understand needs and constraints.
- Change your survey model: One-time surveys are often too lengthy, but an automated survey at every purchase can be incomplete. We suggest sending a targeted customer survey every few months. Consider segmenting your email list by product family, and use the survey to understand the environment and emerging applications.
2. Create informative content
Once you have a sense of what motivates your target audience, the next step is to create key messages that will resonate with them. In the medical device market, credibility is everything. Marketing content that includes current data is especially impactful. Proven messages include:
- reducing supply chain risk
- component traceability
- FDA compliance
- ISO and quality management
Besides relevance and quality, another cornerstone of content development and promotion is consistency. According to recent reports, 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, and 63% of those prospects do not make a purchase for at least 3 months. Therefore, it is important to implement lead nurturing and to provide informative content at every stage of the sales funnel. Blog posts and tip sheets are helpful for potential customers just starting the buying journey, while technical white papers provide value for more serious prospects.
A logical content path will help prospects build the business case for your product or services as they move down the funnel.
3. Foster the right relationships
There are more decision makers in healthcare than ever before. Your end customer could be the individual consumer, their employer, the health insurance company, or another party. Your buyer might care less about product features and more about standardization, workflow, and ROI.
Adoption often depends on healthcare referrals. Even post-sale in the hospital environment, educating related specialties can improve usage and your customer’s ROI. It is important to understand the referral relationships between these specialists in order to establish value.
Download: 10 Tips for Connecting with Medical Device Customers