The healthcare sales cycle can last as long as 24 months, according to a Google and HIMSS Analytics study. Currently, about 43% of purchases are made within six months.
One way to shorten the sales cycle is for vendors to better show organizations the advantages of using their products over others throughout the sales cycle. Discovering common barriers to entry and finding ways to meet buyers in their decision journey are two strategies to make this happen.
Common Barriers to Entry
It’s becoming more difficult for new vendors to sell products to healthcare organizations. Hospitals are looking for ways to cut costs while staying competitive and administrators now find information by researching online. In fact, more than half of hospital administrators use the internet to research both vendors and equipment, according to Google. There’s also been a rise in competition as vendors flood the market with medical devices and technology.
Taking all of this into consideration, vendors and startups must figure out how to differentiate themselves in the market and how to present themselves to potential buyers in a way that can help decrease the length of a very involved process.
The Buyer’s Decision Journey
There are a few phases in a typical decision journey, according to Google. The first is information gathering, which includes the steps of identifying vendors, comparing products and viewing demos. After completing these steps, the buyer moves onto the second phase: purchase decision, which consists of meeting and selecting vendors. Upon making the decision, the buyer moves into the last stage of the journey, which is post-sale and training.
One thing for vendors to note is that throughout this process, the buyer is using many digital tools to aid in the process. Search tools, mobile apps and online video aids in product marketing may be a way for vendors to get a foot in the door. Search engines are a vital part of the process, as 94% of buyers use them to research product features and 90% use them to identify vendors – 81% contact vendors directly after searching for them and their products. One hundred percent of respondents said they use online videos to look at product demonstrations.
Vendors: How to Shorten the Healthcare Sales Cycle
Google provides some tips for vendors, such as:
- Be present in search on product and category keywords
- Optimize desktop, tablet and mobile presence
- Use online video demonstrations
In addition, vendors need to ensure they know their product as well as they possibly can. Buyers can, and will, fact check you in a sales appointment, and you should be ready to not only defend your product, but also describe what differentiates it from others in the field. Be well-versed in data and how the product can affect patient outcomes.
After the sales appointment, send the potential buyer some content on your product – whether it be reports, case studies or whitepapers. The content could be used to address any objections the buyer had, helping to shorten their decision-making time.
Nurture your leads and help them through the process – this can help you build trust with the buyer while increasing the possibility that they will buy your product.
Navigating the sales cycle is a long process, especially in healthcare, but staying on top of clients can help you ensure that you make that final sale.