The Five Killer Mistakes Made Selling to Healthcare Prospects

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | No Comments »

by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, PODi and Caslon & Company

healthcare stampChange and competition drive opportunities and everyone knows how much the healthcare and health insurance markets are changing. They are going through a period of consumerization and becoming more retail/consumer-focused like other industries. Many large and small print and marketing services providers see this and are approaching the industry with a variety of solutions, yet they often fail. Here are five reasons why:

Not understanding the differences
It is so tempting to take a fantastically successful personalized, cross-media direct marketing campaign from another industry and pitch it to a hospital, doctor, dentist or veterinarian, but that rarely works for healthcare. These guys will spot a fundraising or student enrollment campaign repackaged with photos of hospitals, doctors and patients in a second and you’ll be heading towards the door shortly thereafter.

Not speaking the language
You’re also out as soon as your eyes glaze over when they start asking about focusing on value-based care versus accountable care, or how your solution fits in with what their ACO is doing, or about how your solution handles PHI. You need to be conversant in the lingo or you will have no credibility.

Underestimating the need for baseline compliance
The medical community is constantly under the microscope for how they’re managing and protecting their PHI and PII data for HIPAA compliance. Providing secure data controls is always required at some level but, depending upon what data you’re using, it does not necessarily need to be overly daunting. Not knowing what systems and processes are required and not having them in place is another immediate knockout.

Not talking to the right people with the right messages
The needs and issues faced by doctors’ offices, dentists, veterinarians, hospitals, insurers and other types of healthcare accounts are all different. Likewise, the interests and concerns of the different executives vary as well. Not knowing who you should be talking to and what’s on their minds can point you down the wrong path from the very beginning.

Not having a healthcare sales and marketing strategy
I know, you would rather be out selling than thinking about selling, but you really do need a strategy of how to approach this market. Just cold-calling on a hospital or a doctors’ office because you found one in your territory just isn’t going to be very effective. This doesn’t need to be horribly complex or take a lot of time to create (you can start with a strategy template tweaked by your own capabilities and experience) but you need to have something in hand before you start.

Sometimes simply being aware of mistakes to avoid is sufficient because you can figure out on your own how to address them. However there’s good news for those who’d like to hear from someone who has experience in good ways to prepare for selling print and marketing services to the healthcare market. Jeff Sierra is teaching a 4-week, interactive, online PODi Institute course titled Healthcare in High Gear: How to Navigate and Sell in the Healthcare Industry. It runs from October 25th through November 15th and he’ll be covering these topics and more.

For more information and to register go to the Healthcare in High Gear: How to Navigate and Sell in the Healthcare Industry registration page on

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