Beware: The Healthcare Technology Marketing/Sales Divide

Healthcare technology marketing needs to be seen as distinct from sales.

Leaders in healthcare IT are usually salespeople or developers, not experts in healthcare technology marketing.

Developers, obviously, keep the product on target. Company founders, however, are usually salespeople. Even when they do not have a sales background, they usually have a sales personality. They love to talk about their product and their company. They can tell you everything about it, but especially why it’s fantastic and how it is completely different from the competition.

As the leaders only understand that approach to getting customers, and since it has likely been responsible for pulling in all the initial customers at the company, that becomes the approach the company takes.

Of course, as anyone in the field of healthcare technology marketing knows, that makes getting new customers pretty uphill. Instead of putting out a ton of useful and helpful content so that people can come to you, you have to reach out individually and tell people why they should become a customer.

Not sure where your company falls on this spectrum? Find out with the Marketing/Sales Divide Scorecard.

Yes, marketing should support sales – but it’s more than that.

Sales is all about the bottom of the funnel. If you’re in sales, you spend most of your time talking with people who are getting ready to close a deal (or you try to, at least!).

That means you get used to a certain kind of conversation: this is what we do, these are our features, this is how we are different from our competitors.

These are great conversations to have, and marketing should definitely supply the collateral to help the sales team address all of those issues.

But sales folk get lost in thinking there are no other types of conversations worth having.

Yet, there are conversations about how your healthcare app will improve patient engagement. Or how population health requires better access to data. Or how nurse burnout is reduced by improved scheduling.

In other words, the bottom of the funnel sounds exciting but, without filling the top and middle of the funnel, you’re going to run into problems.

6 signs your company has fallen into the marketing/sales divide.

I have been researching a lot of healthcare IT companies lately and I am amazed at how many organizations are lopsided in favor of sales. This is a lost opportunity for them, as they are not building sustainable funnels.

They may have a marketing team and they may do digital marketing campaigns, but they are racing to the bottom of the funnel, nonetheless.

Here are 6 signs your company is making this mistake:

  1. All your CTAs go to a “demo request” or, worse, straight to a phone number or email.
  2. I think this is the quintessential differentiator. If your only CTA is to request a demo, your company is overly focused on a sales mentality. That’s skipping right to the front of the line – and hoping they are happy to see you.

  3. You have a VP of Sales & Marketing who has been in sales his entire career.
  4. In the healthcare tech world, you see a lot of “Marketing Directors” and a lot of “Marketing Managers”, but not so many “VPs of Marketing”. And even fewer “Chief Marketing Officers”. Sometimes, the top tier skips marketing completely – there will just be a “VP of Sales” – but, frequently, they will lump both together as a “VP of Sales & Marketing”. In my experience, this usually means the company is completely clueless about modern marketing and thinks the marketing team should focus on making brochures for the sales folk.

  5. Your marketing materials focus on your features and how you are different from the competition.
  6. What’s important here is what’s missing: thought leadership and education about larger issues. These are where you will get your best shares and establish your company as an authority. It’s what will get your company on the radar.

  7. You need to connect with multiple stakeholders, yet everybody gets the same white papers and guides.
  8. I call this the “we already have a white paper” syndrome. The problem here is a focus on the form – a white paper – and not the content. Sales teams may want to give the white paper to everybody, without realizing that different audience segments will need different types of content, as will people at different stages of the funnel.

  9. Your email campaigns talk about what you do and not what your customers need.
  10. Oof, this is a big one. If your drip campaign touts all your technical features and lists testimonial after testimonial, you’ve got a problem. Any and all emails should be written, first and foremost, to address the prospect’s needs and challenges. When you find your campaigns talk endlessly about your company or product, then you know something is out of whack.

  11. Your company emphasizes outbound so much, there is really no inbound. Instead of a balanced marketing mix of prospecting and inbound, you may find that all your focus is on cold emails. In extreme cases, I’ve even seen “inbound” interpreted to mean “if they open an email, we call them with a sales pitch.”

Mixing up marketing and sales results in lost opportunities.

Marketing has developed into a tech field in its own right and significant expertise is required to pull in high-quality leads. When it is seen as merely a tool of the sales team, opportunities are lost and the company’s bottom line will surely take a hit.

Want to be sure your company isn’t missing opportunities? Get the Marketing/Sales Divide Scorecard.