Selling In The New Normal: Sales and Marketing Workshop Insights
We just ran a sales and marketing workshop called “Selling In the Normal”. It was attended by executives from software and services firms in the US, Europe, and South Africa. We had a really animated discussion. Below is a summary of some of the insights.
By the way, check out the webinar that preceded this called Healthcare’s Changing Needs with Joe Scott, FACHE.
How the “New Normal” has impacted sales and marketing
- March and April were very quiet, but business picked up in May. Prospects have re-engaged and June is looking better.
- Several participants talked about how they had reallocated or cut budgets, putting marketing vendors on hold and freezing hiring.
- Getting attention through email has been harder. People’s inboxes are jammed with emails from vendors inviting them to webinars. Standing out in prospects’ inboxes is very difficult.
- Several mentioned that “Meeting No shows” had increased. This may be because telemarketing firms scheduled meetings far in advance and before the crisis hit.
- Most said that it was hard to get in-person meetings onsite at hospitals because of the Coronavirus. Everything has been going virtual.
- One participant who calls on pharmacists has had good luck getting more virtual meetings as their calendars are less busy. They are interested in talking about future needs.
- HIMSS’s cancelation was a major blow. One participant had a lot tied up in HIMSS and expected this to fill 60% of their pipeline. They were able to reallocate about 70% of their budget, e.g. budget allocated to sponsored dinners and focus groups.
What should you consider doing differently?
Empathy is critical!
- One thing everybody in this sales and marketing workshop agreed on is that you have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. This is harder than it seems. “We are all new to this”, said one participant.
- Several participants talked about the importance of re-engaging with customers in a meaningful way.
- Try to avoid emails that start with “Hope you and your family are doing well…” It feels insincere and prospects get too many of these messages.
- Have an alternative outsourced Sales Development Rep (SDR) group you can flip on and off as needed.
- Shift trade show dollars to outsourced sales development. SDRs are being used to invite prospects to webinars. For some, this has worked better at generating new opportunities than trade shows. The SDRs do basic qualifications but they aren’t great at this. They are rewarded for getting webinar registrations.
- One idea was to shift to market research mode with SDRs. Conduct a formal market research study. This can spark some conversations around unexpected opportunities.
- Re-evaluate your value proposition and product positioning. One participant shifted the focus from a “platform sale” to a more product-focused message.
- Consider offering a free version of your product with limited functionality that addresses a few narrow use cases.
- The shift to remote operations is a big opportunity. Several participants looked at this to reposition the value of the offering.
- Consider new types of partnerships. Be creative!
- One cybersecurity provider talked about how they had formed a new partnership with a professional liability firm and they are already referring opportunities.
- Consider how your offerings are complementary.
- Finding the RIGHT partner is critical. You need to qualify them very carefully
Converting Opportunities and Closing Deals
- Several participants have been more creative and liberal with payment terms and fees. For example, deferring payments until a go-live or first productive use. This was seen as critical given the financial situation of healthcare systems.
- Consider doing proofs of concept to get prospects using your solution. It can also generate professional services revenue.
- With proper structuring, the at-risk models can still work. Most participants had avoided this but one participant who had a great deal of experience reflected that if you are careful in how you agree on goals it can be a very profitable approach.
We have many sales and marketing workshops and other events coming up in the next few months.
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