Guest Column | September 9, 2013

3 Mistakes VARs Make When Selling To Hospitals

By Eddie Franklin, VP of public sector/vertical markets, SYNNEX Corporation

In today’s competitive market, following an appropriate sales model is crucial for success in the healthcare vertical. Be sure to avoid these three pitfalls when selling to hospitals:

Mistake #1: Focusing too much on products and benefits

Most VARs put too much emphasis on products and benefits and end up missing the point. When selling to hospitals, it’s important to look at products and benefits as they relate to a total solution. For any given project, there are several stakeholders you need to talk with — clinical, administrative, and financial. Remember that healthcare entities are looking to adopt solutions that improve workflow and overcome inefficiencies. It’s critical to understand the scope of the client’s needs. Set aside a time to interview the stakeholders to find out what they do and what they are hoping to accomplish. Ask them for a step-by-step outline of how you can help them overcome barriers and make their operation run more smoothly. By ensuring everyone is on the same page, you’ll set yourself (and your customer) up for success from the get go.

Mistake #2: Trying to be a quick hit business

Selling into healthcare is a long, involved, and formal process. It’s important to arm sales reps with the proper training and resources needed for success. Many solutions providers decide to focus on a space, hire assets to quickly attack the market without training — and then expect immediate sales success. These providers usually come away disappointed and fail to recoup their invested dollars. Solutions providers who deploy a plan that expects a slow, steady ramp up in sales volume and that considers upfront investment costs in talent and training are going to yield the best results. Keep in mind that the procurement process in healthcare is deep and includes multiple signoff levels. Many end users receive public funds or need high level sign off for capital expenditures. Sales reps must be thorough and timely in follow-ups to ensure this process is carried out successfully. 

Mistake #3: Offering a single pricing scheme

One of the worst mistakes a VAR can make is offering a single, limited pricing scheme to its end users. It can be challenging to convince an entity to bite off on a full solution, so giving them a variety of buying options is key. It’s also important to offer different options for various department levels, where success is easier to achieve. Providing options for financing, leasing, and “as a service” cost models is another way to give end users options and increase wins.

The healthcare IT market offers an abundance of exciting opportunities and with careful planning, training and execution of sales, VARs can see great success in this vertical. Looking to gain a competitive edge going into 2014? Sit down with your team now and plan out your strategy for success — you won’t be disappointed with the results.