You should prepare your customers for a higher-level conversation than what they have had in the past.
Value-based selling focuses on finding common ground and meeting the changing needs of your customers. Yet many providers are not expecting sales teams to come in ready to conduct a needs analysis and to discuss common goals, said Myla Maloney, vice president for strategic supplier engagement at Premier, Inc. “They are probably expecting the old, typical, features and benefits conversation,” she said. “If you go in and ask questions in a different way, they may not be prepared to answer them because they were not expecting that.
So what I would recommend is setting the context ahead of time. Let them know that you want to help them meet their cost and quality goals and that you understand the challenges that they are facing.” Without setting these expectations, sales teams may miss out on having that higher-level conversation with their customers.
Sales teams also should recognize some of the key issues facing their customers during the transition to value-based payment, Maloney said. In particular, provider organizations are focused on the following goals:
- Improving patient satisfaction
- Enhancing customer loyalty
- Reducing practice variation
- Containing costs
- Improving population health
- Achieving better quality
To be a better partner with providers, help them hit their most pressing quality targets.
“Value-based payment models reward for quality metrics,” said Alister Barrow, MHA, a value-based healthcare consultant with CMR Institute. “If you’re in the sales force, you need to know what those quality metrics are.” With this knowledge, sales teams can help their customers reach their goals by offering products and services that address their pain points.
Similarly, sales teams should explore opportunities to help their customers improve patient satisfaction and become more efficient in delivering care. “To be successful in this new environment, you have to be able to see opportunities in all of the change that is taking place,” Barrow said. He added that account segmentation and targeting is key to protect market share as payment models evolve.
Your learning & development team should play a pivotal role in readying your sales force for value-based selling.
This includes preparing sales teams for the selling process, not just the sales conversation, said Greg Adamson, senior director for sales training and enablement at Philips North America.
Today, sales teams calling on complex integrated delivery networks (IDNs) must determine who are the decision-makers—including who is on the value analysis or new products committee—and who are the influencers, such as service line directors. Once the decision-makers and influencers are identified, sales professionals may need to set up meetings with executives within multiple levels of the organization. “It takes a certain level of expertise and sophistication to get those appointments,” Adamson said.
As value-based payment models have evolved, Adamson has been focused on improving his sales team’s knowledge of healthcare economics (HCE). This includes training on accountable care organizations (ACOs), MACRA, and the Triple Aim. In addition to using off-the-shelf, e-learning resources from CMR Institute and other vendors, his company has hired internal trainers dedicated to HCE.
His company also trains the sales force on how to research their customers so they are well prepared for value-based selling. “That brings about good communication and makes us a partner,” he said.