Your sales cycle management could make or break your sales team. It provides the structure that your sales reps need to reach your market effectively. In fact, companies that have a defined sales process have 18% more growth on average than those who don’t.
Sales cycle management is even more critical in the healthcare industry. Sales in the healthcare industry require taking a different approach from typical sales. Reps should act more as a consultant rather than straight sales.
A well-managed and fine-tuned sales cycle makes it easier for your prospects to purchase from you. Ease is vital: suppliers are 62% more likely to win a high-quality sale when they make buying easier. On the other hand, the same study found that an 18% decrease in purchasing equated to a 50% increase in purchase regret.
Create ease for your clients by simplifying and abbreviating the sales cycle. When you gain insight into your customer and map out their journey, you can create a sales experience that makes purchasing easier.
Here is what you need to know about sales cycle management you need to know as a part of the healthcare industry.
Create a Customer Persona
Before you can create the sales cycle that will be most efficient for both you and your customer, you need to understand who your customer is.
Instead of wasting time trying to sell to the wrong people, take the time to find out who your target customer is. Create a customer profile, or persona, that lays out everything you need to know about your ideal client.
To get a good idea of the type of client you want to be looking for, take a look at the clients that you have. Who are the people you tend to sell the most to? Find your top clients that your product seems to serve best.
It is possible to have multiple types of customers that your product or service seems to attract. In that case, you’ll want to create a persona for each type. Some of the questions that your persona should answer include:
· What is their motivation?
· What are their pain points?
· Who is the decision-maker in their company?
· Where do they find out about you?
Selling in the healthcare profession means that you understand your client and their unique needs. Once you know more about them, you can create a sales cycle that fulfill these needs.
Map Out the Customer Journey
Your customer journey is an overview of the various touchpoints the customer has with your product. It is useful for pointing out the pain points and enables you to grow and improve your sales cycle. Mapping the customer journey gives you the perspective you need to streamline the process.
Use customer feedback to create an accurate customer journey. Since you are coming to the sales process on the other end, it’s easy to overlook or minimize certain parts of the journey for the client.
Also, use employees that regularly interact with your clients. Get feedback from sales reps, customer service, and other employees that get a personal experience with your customers. They can help fill out the picture and give their observations on the patterns in your customer behavior.
Start out mapping the customer journey from a high-level perspective. Once you get the basics in your customer journey worked out, you can move on towards the specifics. Typically, it will have five general stages:
When it comes to understanding their audience, Google has it down to a science. They have continuously tweaked each part of their website and the buyer journey to create the optimal site. Their process is perfected down to the right shade of blue they choose. According to Marissa Meyer, an executive at Google, she had engineers test 41 shades of blue on the search bar to see which one generated the most clicks. That stroke of genius found the right shade of blue that earned them an extra $200 million in revenue that year.
Not only have they nailed the right color scheme, but they have the customer journey perfected as well. Google laid out how the steps in the customer journey that are crucial for sales:
· Identify where your customer goals align with your own.
· Find each communication touchpoint during their journey.
· Recognize customer pain points as well as their “moments of delight.”
· Take the customer journey yourself.
· Create a visual map of the customer journey.
In the visual map of the journey, write down each touchpoint on individual papers or sticky notes to place on a wall. This visualization allows you to brainstorm changing or adding communication to these touchpoints.
A map helps you to prioritize and identify trends. It can be easy to get sucked into an individual interaction while working with a specific lead and miss what all the other prospects want. For example, do you lose the customer right before the purchasing stage? It might be appropriate to address your consideration stage, then.
Tips for Improving Your Sales Cycle
Healthcare sales cycles are notoriously long. Because the purchases tend to be bigger and the professionals busier than the average person, it can take longer to get someone to sign the contract with you.
However, there are always ways that you can speed up the process and shorten your sales cycle. Once you’ve identified your customer personas and mapped out the customer journey, consider some of these tips for improving your sales cycle:
Spend Time with the Right Leads
Now that you know who the right customer is, it’s time to make sure that your time is spent with them. Use the personas you created to find out if a lead is right for your company.
It’s important to continue nurturing leads that aren’t ready yet but be sure to concentrate your time on the right customer. If you sell a product that is ideal for large hospitals, for example, don’t waste time trying to sell to individual practices.
Once you’re concentrating on the leads that count, you waste less time and give the right people all of your attention.
Maximize Selling Time
A common trap across the selling profession is that reps are not spending enough of their time actually selling. Instead, they waste time sending emails, filling out paperwork, and trying to figure out who they need to speak with that day.
The average sales rep spends less than 36% of their time actually engaging in sales. This can be especially deadly for health industries. Medical professionals expect sales reps to do more than sell them products. They need an expert to guide them through the selling process.
To get the most selling time possible, automate any of the tasks that aren’t essential to selling. Email follow-up, schedule setting, route mapping, and documenting customers are all tasks that can take up valuable time and can be automated instead.
Find out what repetitive tasks your team does daily that can be automated. Start with simple tasks so that your sales reps can spend actual time with their leads instead of in the office all day.
Create a Plan for Your Lead
As your role is more of a consultant than sales rep in healthcare, use this position to your advantage. Navigate your prospect through the selling process rather than just pitching to them. One way to do this is by creating a plan with them.
Help your lead come up with an effective plan to set yourself up as an authority in the domain as well as make the buying process easier. It allows you to point out the potential obstacles as well as layout the best next steps to take in the buying process. A plan can go far to ease the prospects anxiety over what they should be doing and help speed up the process for you.
Proactively volunteer to impart your expertise to help them come up with a timeline. This timeline should include the installation, implementation, and delivery plan. Also, consider the key stakeholders (such as a board) in the business. Discuss when they should get involved in the process as well. Layout for your prospect the typical objections and priorities of the stakeholders so they can know how to address the subject. Give them tips on how to get these stakeholders on board.
A proactive plan will give your lead confidence in purchasing and minimize any regret. It will also encourage them to turn to you again later if they need guidance.
Handle Objections Right Away
It can be tempting to run away from any objections. However, if you start the conversation with your leads discussing their hesitations, the smaller they will become. On the other hand, the longer you wait to address their concerns, the more likely they are to stall the purchasing process.
Objections become stronger the longer you avoid from them. Ask them about their concerns early and often. You’ll likely get an ally on your side this way, which will help make the sales cycle faster.
Also, beware of jumping in with solutions to objects too soon. Dig into these objections to get a real understanding of what the lead is trying to say.
For example, they may object that they don’t have time for your product or process. Instead of responding right away, you may want to dig in more and ask them why they don’t have enough time. For example, they may feel they don’t have time because they have a small staff and are resource-strapped. You wouldn’t know that unless you explore the objection before responding.
Make the Process Easy on Clients
The less of a hassle you cause your leads, the more likely they will become a client. Harness technology whenever you can to make sure that there is as much ease as possible.
For example, setting appointments can be difficult for both clients and sales reps. Instead of making it a back-and-forth exchange over email, consider an appointment setting tool. This way, a client can quickly and easily pick whatever time works best for them.
Likewise, signing contracts can significantly hold up the process. Signing, scanning and emailing, or worse, mailing can take too much of your client’s time. Instead, virtual signature applications, such as DocuSign, will speed up the process for you as well as make the buying process more pleasant for the client.
Wherever you can make things simpler for the client, you will speed up the sales cycle.
Continue to Hone Your Process
You won’t get to optimal productivity levels in your sales cycle immediately. It takes time getting the client perspective and seeing where the process can drag you down. Even if you have a productive sales cycle, there are always places to improve.
However, with the right sales cycle management, you can make the process easier on your clients and sell more of your product.