The simple answer is: It’s more complicated than that. Healthcare is a complex industry with many players, drivers, behaviors, and circumstances. Additionally, most healthcare organizations – your potential B2B customers – tend to have complex organizational structures and business processes – including procurement. As a result, the traditional way most people are used to approaching B2B sales in the healthcare industry doesn’t align with how the industry actually buys products and services.
Selling at the right time in the right way is where sellers are often out of alignment with how buying really happens.
For it to be the right time, you must align to these 5 customer timing challenges to make the sale:
Timing is everything. And the right timing is very specific to each individual prospect. Hospitals and other provider types, payers and TPA’s, employers, etc. are complex and organic entities. They have real temporal cycles and flows and specific challenges that can affect when they are more or less likely to invest in a new product or service. The most impactful of these include:
1. Industry and Business Cycle
The healthcare industry operates within a context of overlapping cyclic ebbs and flows that can determine where a prospective buyer’s attention is focused, whether they have cash available at the moment to invest, their perspective on business priorities, etc. Common examples include annual enrollment periods, flu season, their customers’ business cycles, and financial reporting deadlines.
2. Budget Cycle
To close a deal, it certainly helps if the prospect is feeling like they have funding available to invest. Depending on the situation, the best time may be either early in the budget year when funds are newly allocated or at the end of the year when unspent funds are at risk of being reallocated. Ideally, you have pre-sold such that the new budget includes allocation for your offering.
3. Competitive Challenges
More closely aligning your offering with a specific market or competitive challenge your prospect is having exponentially increases your chances of getting their attention. Of course, you will still need the strong value proposition to close a deal. But a great story is much more compelling when the prospect is urgently hurting.
4. Legal & Compliance Challenges
Compliance requirements come first in the highly regulated healthcare industry. Allocations for projects, products, and services that support compliance often consume very large portions of healthcare industry acquisition budgets. If your product or service doesn’t address these needs, then you are by definition dealing with the next lower priority for funding. If your target prospect is having compliance challenges you can expect a longer buying cycle unless you can position your offering as compliance related. Similarly, if there is a current legal issue – particularly a very public one – buyer attention may be focused elsewhere. But on the other hand, the issue could drive a need for a particular solution acquisition.
5. Financial Challenges
Your prospect may simply not have the resources at this time to invest in your solution. But maybe they will next quarter after they close a round of investment funding. Maybe they are about to close a large contract. Maybe they are about to be acquired by a larger better funded entity.
The point is that if your timing is not right your value proposition is largely irrelevant. Invest in understanding the timing challenges above so you can avoid wasting time with prospects who are not in a position to buy in your immediate future. More importantly, you will know when it is the right time to make your best approach.
To learn more about how to close Healthcare B2B Deals, check out the free eBook: