Case Study: Developing An Ideal Customer Profile For B2B Healthcare Marketing
Account-based marketing (ABM) is becoming THE strategy for companies marketing to healthcare organizations. Whether your focus is on small, medium, or large organizations, developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) for B2B Marketing is a foundational step in the process.
This is a case study on how we developed our Ideal Customer Profile for B2B Healthcare Marketing
My Personal Case Study In Creating Ideal Customer Profile B2B, Healthcare
In this case study, I will share my own experience in how we created our ICP in our second year in business.
1. Differentiation By Customization
Since we were in a growing but very crowded market with over 100 competitors, we needed to be strategic in approaching the market and who we targeted. Our ability to customize our solutions to suit our target customers’ needs made us stand out. Because of this customization, we could command an average deal size of $250,000.
So, our ability to customize was our key differentiator, and we needed to be as precise as possible in how we found best-fit accounts for this offering. We started by segmenting our target market into hospitals, physicians, and clinically integrated networks. Later, we included Accountable Organizations (ACOs) and large physician groups.
2. Developing Our Ideal Customer Profile For our 2B2 Goldilocks Customers
After identifying our market segment, we developed an ICP process to find what we called the so-called Goldilocks customers (“Not too big, not too small”).
This was a strategic decision because we knew that sales cycles could be as long as 2 years with large customers.
On the other hand, we felt that small organizations didn’t have the budget or the financial capacity to suit our desired deal size.
Initially, we filtered our target customers based on the following:
1. Ideal Size of Customer
Our first filter was the size of the organization. Initially, we focused on two segments: healthcare systems and independent hospitals.
Our primary target was large regional healthcare systems. These were typically 5-15 hospital systems that served the needs of part of their state.
For example, Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBBarnabas in New Jersey.
We also included large independent hospitals as well as academic medical centers. One such example of the Goldilocks hospitals we targeted is Winthrop which is now part of NYU Langone hospital in Long Island but at the time was independent.
2. Ideal Geography
Initially, we limited ourselves to customers we could drive to. We felt that it was important to be on-site as often as possible so we focused our activities on accounts within 100 miles. These included customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. We took a very high-touch approach in our sales.
Later, as we grew our sales staff and took on resellers, we expanded our geographic footprint.
The Other Ideal Customer Profile Characteristics
1. Financial Strength
The other characteristic we considered when developing our ICP (B2B healthcare) was the financial strength of our target accounts. If they were not financially strong, they were unlikely to come up with $250,000 for our solution.
2. Avoiding Epic Customers Initially In Our Healthcare B2B ICP
This may sound counterintuitive given Epic’s importance, but it took us three years to find an opportunity to integrate our solution with Epic. Without those credentials, selling to an Epic customer was very tough sledding.
Initially, when creating our ICP for healthcare B2B, we prioritized Cerner and Siemens (now actually part of Cerner) customers as we had the best references for these.
3. Excluding Customers In Merger Talks
When developing an Ideal Customer Profile for our B2B healthcare customers, we excluded healthcare systems that were in merger talks or were rumored to be a target.
4. Excluding Accounts Buying Competitor Products From Our B2B ICP
At that time, the market was still fairly new, so there wasn’t much churn. If an account had bought our competitor’s product in the last year, we deprioritized them as they would be unlikely to switch. One competitor, in particular, had a very poor reputation. We found that after a year, many customers were open to switching at that point.
5. Getting Introduced to CIO/CMO
Another softer filter was our ability to engage with the Chief Medical Officer or CMIO. My partner was a physician. This gave us additional credibility with these hard-to-reach people. He was very adept at getting hold of them.
6. Innovation Bias In Our B2B ICP
And lastly, we gave priority to customers who we felt had an innovative mindset. Therefore, these healthcare systems seemed open to working with startups. To identify suitable customers, we analyzed some of the firms they worked with, which we could easily compare to ourselves.
What Did These Look Like?
Creating ICP (B2B healthcare) was necessary for our ABM Targeting. However, when we started, not all our earlier customers fit perfectly with our ICP. They were, however, in that sweet spot.
Below are just a few Goldilocks customers who successfully bought our solutions.
Below is an excerpt from my webinar series with HIMSS. This reviews the process.