There are more than 20,000 health technology companies producing more than 80,000 brand products for the U.S. market. One study reported that 35 percent of these offerings fail, and according to an article in The Business Journal, the most frequent reason for product failures is the “lack of rigor behind sales and marketing planning and execution.”
How can you separate your company and products from the pack? Here are five keys that can positively impact your business and ensure ongoing success.
1. Establish the client value of your offering
What’s in it for me? That’s the first question a potential buyer will ask. Regardless of the importance you place on your product, real success depends on understanding and communicating the value it provides to your client. Once you determine what your product is worth to your client, you can than set your price to that value point.
Too many products fail because products are priced based on what the business needs (i.e. predetermined revenue and profit targets), rather than on the financial benefit of fulfilling a client need. Once you set the appropriate price based on client value, you can then present a compelling ROI story. Supplying a customizable ROI tool allows the client to adjust it to their organizational parameters and enables them to understand and “own” the results.
2. Address client concerns and objections quickly
Most people avoid change, and that applies to IT executives asked to consider a new technology offering. Their default attitude often leans toward “no” or “no decision.” That makes it imperative to fully consider and mitigate their concerns before they surface. Critical areas you should anticipate, and address include the impact your product will have to their existing IT landscape and security requirements.
Make the implementation and deployment of your product as simple as possible to avoid additional stress on your client’s IT budgets and resources. The easier your offering is to “snap into” their world, the less objections your sales team will have to overcome.
3. Understand your market and competition
In his famous work, “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu states that “every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought.” That is the mindset you need to have when preparing to market your product. During our time at Microsoft, product owners often were able to present and demonstrate the offerings of top competitors and highlight their features, benefits and shortcomings. Having this level of critical knowledge of the competition and other market conditions allows you to properly segment your market, position and creatively price your products, and target prospects who are most likely to buy.
4. Commit to your sales channel
There are many channels health tech companies can use to drive their business and achieve successful results. Three of the most common are:
- Direct Sales: Using an internal enterprise sales team
- Indirect or Partner Led: Partnering with a third-party organization to handle sales
- Inside Sales: Leveraging an inside account management team to oversee the selling process
Whether you choose one of these three popular options or use a different sales channel, align your business to your primary channel approach and hire people who thrive in that environment. Once you’ve made your choice, avoid the temptation to “dabble” in other channels. This will only add confusion to the process, diffuse your resources, and cause potential channel conflict that will ultimate reduce the chances of success in your primary channel.
5. Make your company extremely user-friendly
Why do people love going to the Apple store but dread dealing with their cable company? Because Apple makes interactions simple and rewarding as opposed to the taffy-pull you face when trying to get a straight explanation of your cable bill. Your clients are busy, with an endless list of problems to handle. Don’t become another item on that list.
Keep your business terms simple, concise, and easy to understand. Price your product aggressively but make your pricing straightforward and free of complicated options and hidden add-ons. Provide a dedicated point of contact who can deliver high quality support, customized for the needs of each of client.
Competition for business in the health technology field is intense. When considering how your company should behave, think about the kinds of companies with which you want to do business – then be that company. That’s a sure way to put you on the road to success.
 Leadership Commitments to Improve Value in Healthcare: Finding Common Ground: Workshop Summary,Institute of Medicine (US) Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine, Washington D.C., National Academies Press; 2009