Detailed consideration of the following questions addresses most of the factors that define the market for your value based healthcare offerings:
1. What products, solutions, and/or supporting services do you offer?
Every enterprise can list its primary products and services. TPAs, for example, primarily offer payer administrative processing services. Specialty providers typically focus on disease or condition-specific services like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. IT solution vendors offer specific software solutions. But most enterprises offer a range of ancillary or adjacent products and services in addition to or in support of their primary ones. TPA’s may also provide population health management. If a provider specializes in 3 types of orthopedic surgery, they may also provide comprehensive rehab services, physical and/or occupational therapy, temporary transportation support, pharmacy, and at home follow-up.
Depending on your specific products and services, pricing strategy, and geographic reach you may find that buyers of all types prefer to partner with sellers who offer a more complete scope of offerings – especially if the offerings interoperate to address related challenges.
It’s critical to understand which of or which combination of your capabilities are sufficiently differentiated to attract buyers. Is your value proposition focused on functionality, price, availability, ease of use or access, customer/user experience, comprehensiveness/scope, criticality to your prospect’s business, or a combination? Whatever it is you must be able to prove it and articulate it clearly.
2. Across what scope of geography are both your primary and supporting or ancillary services offered?
Can your enterprise offer your primary and ancillary services in every geography? Or are you limited by the nature of your products and/or services and related facilities, technology, staffing, or other issues to certain locations and geographic coverage? Do your offerings travel to your customers and/or their users (e.g., patients or members)? Physical products or on line driven services can meet users where they are. Or must your customers or their users travel to you as would patients getting a surgical procedure for example? Information and communications technology can support geographically universal access to many services. Many products can be shipped anywhere. But if, for example, you are a provider of world class neurology surgical services or on site occupational health services you are likely more limited in geographic scope unless you can get remote people to come to you.
3. What market segments and sub-segments do and can you serve?
Most B2B enterprises can’t afford to market to every possible customer at once. Most likely you are serving a subset of all of your possible market segments and sub segments. Be sure to understand both segments you actually market to now and at least postulate those to whom you could market with little additional investment. Consider all prospect types, categories, and locations including industry, operational function or department, size, public or private, commercial or government, geographic location and scope of service, etc. The more detailed you can be in your understanding of your current marketing target scope the better you will be positioned to create strategies to accelerate your growth into both existing and additional segments.
For example, if you are a specialty provider of oncology services do you market directly to employers, payers, and TPA’s? Where? Do you offer to serve their members who need your services nationally, regionally, or locally? How many employees or members must they have to make contracts with them worth your investment to get and service them? Are public payers such as Medicare and state Medicaid payers of interest?
If you offer software solutions to help manage provider networks, do you market only to payers and TPA’s? Public as well as commercial? What about ACO’s? What about hospital centric integrated delivery systems? What size? Where?
Every enterprise will have different drivers for why they market to their current target segments. But you must start with a comprehensive understanding your current scope.
4. What channels do you currently use to reach customers? How effectively are you leveraging each channel?
Using channels to get to B2B customers is a great way to leverage your marketing capabilities and capacity. The type of products and services being marketed of course determine which channels can be most effective. For example, if your ultimate customer type is mid to large size employers do you currently have co-marketing agreements with employer health business groups? If you provide medical devices or services to hospitals do you utilize hospital membership organizations as a marketing channel? How about payers and TPA’s who operate provider networks? If your target is payers and TPA’s do you have joint marketing agreements with consultants or payer membership and advocacy organizations?
And critically: how effective are you with each channel in terms of ultimate contract flow and revenue generation? What are your “pull through” capabilities (that is, once you have a relationship with a channel partner, how effectively do you attract actual paying customers)?
5. How strong is your marketing and sales leadership and staff?
- Do they have expertise, relationships, and required capacity across all product and service lines, customer types, channels, and geographies?
- Do you have processes and supporting information systems in place to drive the desired results?
- How strong is your performance management program to measure, report, and analyze marketing and sales success by resource, service line, market segment, channel, etc.?
- Are you in fact getting the results you need from your marketing and sales organization?
- What are your sales and operating costs and margins on each service-customer segment and each marketing channel?
6. How do you price and get reimbursed for your products and services?
Determining an appropriate price that optimizes your top and bottom line is central to the success of any B2B enterprise. Pricing for value from the perspective of the customer is even more critical given the industry transition to value based care. Your customers are assessing every cost component to determine value. And if possible, they’re building in performance based approaches to their contracting in order to both incentivize and virtually guarantee the value of what you are offering.
B2B marketing strategy must include a comprehensive understanding of what and how your pricing is set and revenue is collected and how both are communicated to your target market(s).
Do you use fixed or variable per unit pricing? What variables go into determining your price in a particular situation? Are you priced competitively given how different market segments perceive your value? Do you have defined margins built into your pricing? Do they vary with different combinations of products and services for a customer – i.e., will you exchange margin per unit for volume? Who sets your pricing? What level of variance from “list” requires approval from more than one person in your organization? How well is this process defined?
Is your pricing based on a metric such as contract length, or on number of users, transactions, members, employees per month? Do you get paid up front or over time? Is there a performance component to your reimbursement arrangement and how does it work?
7. What is your service delivery capacity and what are your quality and service levels?
A potentially great product or service with design or production defects or that is ineffectively delivered does not deliver value and is almost certainly a failure. Before you accelerate your growth you need to be sure your quality and delivery capabilities are highly competitive. This is even more critical as the industry shifts to value based care and reimbursement. And if you already have a top notch product or service, you must consider the impact of accelerated growth on your organizational ability to scale up quickly.
- Do you have excess production and delivery capacity to scale quickly?
- Do you have marketing and sales capacity to extend into additional market segments or geographies? How far before further investment is required?
- At what rate can you support additional contracting and implementation activities before adding capacity?
- How many additional customers can you absorb without adding production and/or delivery capacity?
- Do you need to invest in enhancing quality and/or service levels prior to growth? Many buyers and channel partners now look to third party quality assessment and reporting organizations before considering contracting for a new product or service. Will your relevant products and services appear in the top 10-25% of these ratings?
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