1. Know the IDN’s protocols and priorities, as well as how its value analysis committee (VAC) operates.
To build credibility with IDN leaders, your sales team will need to understand the IDN’s goals as it transitions from fee-for-service to value-based payments from government and commercial payers.
2. Encourage your sales team to think like lean black belts.
Some IDNs are using lean strategies to better manage their inventory and promote more efficient supply chain operations. Others are using data analytics to enhance their contracting strategies. When your sales team sees an opening to discuss your device or technology, they need to make sure their goals are aligned to the IDN’s performance improvement objectives.
3. Respect the customers’ authority.
If your sales team bypasses key decision-makers in an IDN, they could get burned. In many organizations, the first point of contact should be the supply chain, which serves as the bridge for manufacturers to reach physicians and the C-Suite.
4. Make sure your sales team can articulate your value proposition.
The challenge for suppliers is presenting their value proposition in a 15-20 minute conversation in front of a VAC. To prepare for such high stakes meetings, sales leaders need to make sure their account executives understand the current state and how their product is utilized within the health system.
5. Help your sales team think “above” physicians and service line leadership.
To have meaningful dialogues with IDN executives, suppliers need to elevate their conversations with C-Suite leaders and other strategic leaders, such as those who may have responsibility for more than one service line or hospital.
6. Arm your team with evidence – or design an agreement that generates the kind of data customers need.
If you don’t have the evidence, then you’re going to make a decision based solely on a conventional transaction and price. If you want this to be a decision about more than just price, and you don’t have the evidence, then partner together and develop a shortened agreement that creates such evidence.
7. Train sales teams to know their “CQO.”
Not sure what CQO factors matter most to an IDN? An IDN’s involvement in pay-for-performance programs and more advanced value-based payment models can provide insights into which measures leaders are tracking on their performance dashboards.
8. Prepare your team to discuss value-added programs associated with a product or service as part of a bid.
Your sales teams need to look beyond the traditional products and services your company sells and include value-based capabilities in areas such as patient education, patient engagement tools, population health management, and cost containment.
9. Train your sales team to think about the supplier-provider relationship over the long term and how to sustain a more strategic partnership.
Supplier organizations can still thrive in this environment by aligning their strategic imperatives with the health system’s strategic imperatives and helping them problem-solve.
10. Support the IDN through the implementation phase.
Once a contract has been awarded, the supplier can help the IDN plot out its implementation timeline. They also can help the IDN through any physician credentialing or clinician education that may be needed.