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Case Studies: 5 Smart Tactics When Selling to Healthcare Providers

by MARCUS KRIEG, on Jun 8, 2017 11:26:00 PM


Getting the attention of healthcare providers has always been challenging...

Not only are they among the busiest professionals in the world, but they also don't sit at a computer all day waiting to click your ads or read your content...

And don't forget about their medical assistants and nurses — they might just be the world's best gatekeepers!

Over the years, healthcare marketers have adapted to these challenges by relying more on outside sales teams and maximizing their limited face-time opportunities.

Every year the bar is set higher:

  • Fancier conference booths
  • Cooler "schwag"
  • Hosting bigger or more exclusive events
  • "Hiring" Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

Everyone's relying on the same tactics, driving down profit margins and ROI. And thanks to the rapid rate of investment in the biotech industry, the competition is getting fiercer every day.

The thing is, you're not just competing inside your product category. You're actually competing with hundreds of other companies for the same attention span and priority list.

As healthcare marketers, it's important to keep in mind that providers are people too. Their priority list can only get so long before decision fatigue sets in.

So how do you climb up their priority list and earn their attention? Discover how it's done with these 5 case studies about selling to providers!

Case Study #1: Simplify Your Messaging

Early adopters care a lot about your science. These providers are taking a big risk, oftentimes with real lives at stake.

So yes, your science matters and you need to communicate it clearly to get traction in your market.

But eventually, you'll be targeting a wider segment of customers. And while these folks certainly care about their patients, they care a lot less about your science and more about your promise and the proof.

Communicate with providers like you would anyone else:

  • Always use the simpler word (e.g. "use" vs "utilize") — many healthcare marketers use the bigger word to make their sentences sound more "sophisticated." It actually waters down your sentences and adds complexity for the sake of complexity.
  • Ruthlessly cut adjectives and adverbs (e.g. "innovative," "cutting-edge," etc.) — relying on descriptive words is an ineffective crutch when marketers don't know how to make the offer appealing on its own merit. Use words that mean something.
  • Use short, punchier sentences — it's easier for readers to get lost in a long sentence than a short one.
  • Use metaphors, stories, or analogies to paint a picture with your words — whether you're using video or text, comparisons can be a powerful tool for simplifying your message.
  • Write at a 5th grade reading level — you'll inevitably need to use some "big words" when communicating with providers, but aim to make your message intelligible to a 5th grader with a dictionary. You might not get all the way there, but it's a great exercise for clarifying your message.

In other words, treat providers like real people. Don't expect them to decrypt a complex message. Make a clear, simple offer of value and use your website to answer all the question and objections that keep people from buying.

By all means, do whatever you can to simplify the science too! Just like ProvistaDX did in their video:

Case Studies: 5 Smart Tactics When Selling to Healthcare Providers


Tactic #2: Adapt Your Most Important Content Into Video

As a video marketing agency, we're obviously huge believers in the power of video.

But even if you completely ignore all the other benefits, there's one that stands out as the most important for healthcare marketers...


In a crowded industry that's targeting time-poor professionals, the biggest war you're waging is for attention. Simplifying your message will help a lot, but nothing gets your message delivered like video.

Research has found that people are 4x more likely to watch a product video than read text. Not only that, but the average website visitor only reads 20-28% of the words on your page.

Why? Because reading feels like work, walls of text are intimidating, and the internet is full of shiny things to distract us.

Here are some other stats about the relationship between video and content consumption:

  • Video doubles the amount of time visitors spend on your webpage
  • Video thumbnails increase email clickthrough rates by 90%
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text
  • Website visitors are 64% more likely to purchase after watching a video

Video is the ultimate attention hack, so when you have an important message that you absolutely need providers to hear before they'll buy your product, make sure that message is delivered via video.

In fact, that's exactly what we did for Genomic Health when they released new research data. Instead of asking all their prospects to read the paper, we worked with them to create a video that covers just the biggest takeaways.

Armed with an easy-to-consume video, many more of their prospects and customers learned about the new data, which led to increased sales and retention.



Tactic #3: Acknowledge Switching Costs

Even if your product is a total no-brainer, you're still competing with the status quo.

And by asking providers to adopt you're solution, you're also expecting them to incur switching costs.

Switching costs are the costs that consumers incur by adopting a new solution, including financial, psychological, effort, and time-related costs.

We're talking about small, but important considerations such as:

  • Learning when and how to use your product
  • Stressing about the "risk" of championing your product
  • Replacing existing processes
  • Learning new procedures
  • And many more!

In other words, incorporating your solution into a provider's hospital or practice often comes down to fear of the unknown. These topics about implementation might seem minor compared to your science and validation research, but they're extremely important to providers.

At WireBuzz, we often create product demonstration or walkthrough videos (including surgical) to create a virtual "ownership experience" for your viewers.

If your product is easy to use, prove it by demoing it on video. If it's hard to use, overcome that objection by providing great training materials on your site to reassure providers.

For example, our client Natera had a big problem with providers submitting bad tests because they weren’t following the proper procedure. Of course, they'd been providing written instructions with all their test kits, but the issue wasn’t going away.

To make the instructions easier to understand and follow, we produced this instructional video that goes through the test kit step by step. Since they’ve begun sharing this video with the providers that use their test, they’ve experienced a significant decrease in bad test submissions.



Tactic #4: Address the Elephant in the Room

Despite popular belief, ostriches don't actually bury their head in the sand to "hide" from predators.

But for some reason, that's exactly what many businesses do when it comes to their shortcomings. Instead of addressing the elephant in the room, the issue is ignored and the focus is placed on the benefits of your solution.

By not addressing it, we delude ourselves into thinking that prospects won't find out. Maybe 20 years ago that was true, but it's not anymore. Thanks to the internet, your prospects know everything about you. And anything they don't like or don't understand creates resistance to the sale.

Your challenge is to overcome that resistance by addressing ALL their objections and questions on your website and throughout your sales process — especially the stuff you'd rather not bring up.

Sometimes, a client will come to us with a big market objection or misconception that's limiting their growth. That's one of the challenges we were presented with when we started working with Emory Genetics Lab.

As the first to market, their exome sequencing product was already doing really well. The problem was that many providers still didn't see the value of exome sequencing as a diagnostic tool.

The big criticism was that the exome is only a tiny fraction of the genome, so there are a lot of things it can't tell you.

So how did we handle this market-limiting objection? In the first 10 seconds of their exome overview video...

EGL immediately confirms the viewer's suspicions that the exome is a small structure. They agreed!

Alignment with your prospects is crucial. By starting with something everyone could agree on, we were able to start the interaction on a positive tone before transitioning to a more "contentious" topic.

Knowledge bomb time...even though it's small, the exome codes for 85% of all known disease-causing gene alterations. So even though it has limitations, exome sequencing has implications across many divergent cases that need deeper analysis when conventional methods can't provide a diagnosis.

Suddenly that elephant in the room is starting to feel a little smaller, right? That's the whole idea here. By boldly addressing the elephant in the room, Emory Genetics Lab is making a strong move to expand their market.



Tactic #5: Get More Emotional

Let's say you get a provider's attention, deliver a clear message, handle every objection, and still don't get the sale!

It actually happens all the time, if you think about it...

What happened to all the "good fit" prospects who went through your sales process and still didn't buy? And what about the ones who agree right away that your product is valuable, but you just can't seem to pin them down to take the next step...

It's frustrating, right?

Even providers who are "convinced" that your product is a good value won't always buy. You may have convinced them, but you're not a big enough priority to take action.

Why should they prioritize the specific problem your product solves over all the others?

According to Herbert Simon's research paper on Motivational and Emotional Controls of Cognition, one of the chief functions of emotion is to interrupt and reorder priorities.

In other words, we prioritize the things that matter most to us. And emotions make things matter more to us. Sounds simple, but it's key for marketers in competitive industries like healthcare to understand that emotion establishes priorities.

In fact, that was the angle we took when making the following video for Invitae, a genetic testing lab. Their challenge is the novelty of their industry.

There aren't enough genetic counselors and most doctors don't have enough education on genetics, so there's definitely a market maturity issue at play. How can we get these providers off the sidelines and taking action?

With a healthy dose of emotion!

To pull it off, we put Invitae's rockstar co-founder Randy Scott on camera to share his story. You can see how Randy really put his "heart and soul" into the work the company does, emphasizing that we are all part of this genetic evolution.

The result was a simple, cost-effective corporate overview video that still manages to strike an emotional chord.




So there you have it — 5 provider marketing case studies addressing some of the most common challenges healthcare marketers face.

You learned techniques for:

  • Getting more prospect's to pay attention (and for longer)
  • Simplifying your message, so more prospects will consume it
  • Addressing switching costs and the elephant in the room
  • Making your product or service a bigger priority to prospects

I hope you found the ideas valuable. You can obviously apply many of these ideas to other content formats, but video certainly gets the best results.

Let us know when you're ready for our strategy team to design a custom video marketing plan for your business.


About WireBuzz

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