Telemarketing in the business-to-business sector is full of paradoxes. The prospects you are contacting are both individuals but at the same time entire organizations. There is only one person authorized to acquire your software (CRM software, medical software, accounting software, SAP, SAGE, Oracle and others) but their decision is weighed with the collective input of many individuals. How will your telemarketing strategy handle this? Balance collective and individual objectives.
As you’re well aware, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was to encourage the implementation of EMR systems in medical institutions across the country. This act is also meant to work in tandem with the regulations placed by federal agencies who are tasked to ensure the quality of medical products (including computer technology). However, some people are expressing the opinion that such moves aren’t really helping. If anything, it seems more like the state is pressuring these institutions into spending money on systems that they still do not fully trust or simply do not understand. As an example, here’s a blog excerpt from hospitalemrandehr.com written by Anne Zeiger:
“In fact, I keep wondering whether I’m the only person who has grown more and more skeptical about Meaningful Use as it continues to pay out bonuses. I’m more concerned about what happens next, when hospitals which were sped into EMR use truly take stock of what they’ve bought and why.”
According to opinions like this, threatening sanctions and promising incentives aren’t necessarily the best way to convince people to acquire a medical software solution. Some who would use more extreme language would say it’s nothing short of bullying and bribing. (This is definitely a serious charge considering that, in the same blog, the incentives amounted to about $5 billion.) The federal government has failed to realize that there is still a third option: education.
Logically, if your software is as good as you say it is, then it is only a matter of educating professionals and personnel on the benefits of its proper use. Of course, this isn’t a magic bullet solution. There are obstacles here to watch out for. On the other hand, these obstacles can be overcome if you recognized the value of proper lead generation.
The process just doesn’t mean you generate sale leads and try to make money out of them. It’s about getting information from potential clients. The problem is you’re focusing too much on the sale and not on what exactly can you find in the information that would help you be of better service to your prospects.
If it’s done right, it can be a gentler while at the same time, it’s a more convincing approach compared to having the government pump in more money and call for inspectors. You don’t even have to worry about investing too much in the process. If all you need is some thorough information (or even just an introduction to your prospects via appointment setting), then you can simply outsource lead generation companies.
The important thing to remember is that you need to know how your target institution works so you can figure out how to best implement your software solution. Things like the processes, practices, and even the culture inside the place need to be considered. Once you know that, you will know how to educate the people who are going to use it and benefit from it. That in itself can give them a better reason than saying they were just being paid by the government and compelled by laws to comply.
Some of you may have already taken computer classes back in high school. And right now, some of you might be wondering, what use were those programming lessons to you? It may have served those who wished to pursue a career in the fields of software engineering, IT, and electronic hardware but what about the others?
What if you wanted to be a doctor for instance? How much computer know-how did you really need?
In case you haven’t noticed it yet, the attitude being described emulates the sentiment of most medical professionals towards the integration of IT. Dave Chase, a contributor of Forbes, sums it up nicely, “I know of no industry where technology is as despised as it is in health care. It’s a statement that it took government money to incentivize healthcare providers to finally do what virtually every other industry has done — apply IT to streamline processes.”
And yes, there has been such a move by the U.S. government in order to encourage the implementation of medical software technology and ensure their compliance with its regularization.
One reason as to why this is so however is due to the fact that most professionals simply do not understand how the system works and there is lack of communication between the vendors, the buyers, and the actual users of the system.
This apparently is not something just limited to those in the medical field but is also shared by employees across industries. In turn, the cause is also the same: a lack of education on what the system does and how they can maximize its use. Miscommunication happens and drama ensues because expectations about the technology were not set.
As a supplier however, you can make things easier for them by offering to educate your potential clients on what your software can do. This can be done usually through events such as webinars, tradeshows, walkthroughs, or even good, old-fashioned appointment setting.
The reason for this is obviously because you can’t lay out that much information through smaller channels of communication (e.g. email, phone call, mobile). On the other hand, you still need qualified sales leads so that you’ll have the necessary information to see if the particular person you’re calling shows adequate interest. That interest is also very important because it makes them eager to learn more and thus, more open to the conveniences of integrating IT for streamlined healthcare. On the other hand, it also filters out the more common objections so that once the meeting has started, you can now only focus on the issues that are complex and more unique to the prospect’s situation.
The fact that government mandates were needed to really push this particular industry should give you a strong hint regarding the challenges and opposition your product faces in your target market. Still, tensions and prejudices can be diminished with just a bit of education. Use appointment to be more educational and informative about the benefits of IT. Computer lessons don’t have to end once you’ve finished school.