In recent years, the healthcare industry has been undergoing a general shift towards consolidation. Rather than let independent physician clinics go their own way, hospitals swoop in and buy ones that are struggling or choose to no longer be in limbo based on reimbursement rates to stay afloat.
The cause of this trend is a double-edged sword. The fact is physicians have seen declining reimbursement for clinic visits, surgeries, etc. for the past two decades. This is why you see physicians looking for ancillary forms of income to boost their personal revenue.
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has done little to improve the situation for physicians, as preventative care is now free for many. Some clinics are so close to the fritz that a choice has to be made: either stop the practice altogether or join the employ of a hospital.
Giving up independent control of how a clinic operates is never an easy decision for a physician to make. Hence the double-edged sword.
Hospitals, for their part, are willing to come to the rescue because it means a flock of new patients. So, it’s a win for the hospital – but is it always a win for the physicians?
Salespeople Must Adapt to the New Hierarchy
Given the evident limitations of the physician in a hospital, the salesperson must find a way to adapt. If they can’t get in front of the decision maker as quickly anymore, and that decision maker doesn’t have the influence they once did, a new approach is needed.
A new sales approach should take a holistic look at each potential client. Rather than seeing it as one person you need to convince, a salesperson should look at all the personalities at play and have a strategy for each.
To develop convincing strategies for each decision maker, the salesperson needs to become more analytical, more business-minded (Think like them!).
In many cases partnering with their surgeons to put together a plan that not only benefits the patient and surgeon, but the hospital or medical facility as well.
There is safety in numbers
There’s a lot of truth to this!
Individual surgeons may have been stripped of their original power, but a group of surgeons requesting a specific product be available is an entirely different thing.
Even in situations where the product may cost more, no CEO or CFO wants to take on a group of surgeons. If the surgeons ever decided to walk, that CEO is in a world of trouble. There is simply too much revenue generated by surgeons to lose a handful of them to a hospital competitor.
Circle the Wagons
We’ve talked many times in our blog posts about selling in the new age and partnering with your physicians to help generate referrals. This is your opportunity to take that the grand stage and have your surgeons fight for your product.
In a world where your end-user customer has less and less leverage you need to take advantage of every bit of leverage you can create… and folks this is the ultimate leverage in healthcare: patients.
The healthcare sales industry is at a pivotal place where the big players are consolidating power and negotiating hospital system-wide contracts. Sales reps need to realize that small players are being swallowed up, and along with them goes traditional selling strategies. What are you doing to change your approach to selling in the 21st century?